Lost in a Familiar Place This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

 Clementine spent her afternoon basking in what at the time seemed like unshakable confidence in herself and her appearance, but what was quickly overshadowed  by almost catatonic despair over practically identical subject matter.


Surely this wasn’t normal she thought. Surely she wasn’t normal. Surely she was crazy or was going crazy at any rate. Normal girls, prettier girls, thinner girls, didn’t worry about these things. Their minds didn’t ramble and rave and swirl about like hers did. For her it was different. Everything was different. Everything she did. Down to the way she walked, and talked, it was all horribly different. Tragically different. Her voice wasn’t delicate, her walk wasn’t elegant-- Well at least not if she didn’t try. If she payed attention to every step, she could maybe prance and sway the way she was supposed to and if she minded every syllable her tone could be soft and sweet like it was supposed to be.


Even so it would all be a trick wouldn’t it. She didn’t actually talk like that. She didn’t actually walk that. Surely someone paying close enough attention could see through this facade. Someone close enough, maybe someone too close. Someday when the lights are too bright-- all those cracks, how could they not show through? And what would happen on that day? What would happen to sweet little Clementine?  Well she might just actually go crazy that day she thought-- that is if she hadn’t already.


So what might do might a girl like Clementine do? Well she might just hide herself away. She might just avoid getting so close to anyone in the first place. From a distance she was safe. From a distance she was beautiful and graceful. From a distance the world could see her smile without seeing the little specks on her teeth. From a distance she could take control, she could avoid these vulnerable positions she kept finding herself in.


Darling little Clementine, wouldn’t she be so content if she only had a few hundred more likes?  A few hundred more men to salivate over her, a few more women to bask in envy over the beautiful Clementine. Wouldn’t that be nice? The admiration. Wouldn’t that be satisfying? Wouldn't it? All the love, directed towards her and only her. She deserved it after all, didn’t she? Did she? Well sure if all those other women did. Why not her? She was beautiful, she was graceful. Or at least she could make it seem that way. Could she? Surely she could, if she wanted it enough. And she wanted it enough right? This is all she ever wanted, right? To be loved.


  Well maybe. But loved how? What was love after all? When she was little she thought it meant having a husband who would treat her like a queen and give her brilliant young boys and girls to call her own. Is that what she still wanted? Yes, she thought so. She wanted a house by the lake and a little dog or maybe a big dog, and she wanted a Christmas card with smiles and sweaters. But her smile. What would happen when her family saw all those little specks on her smile.


She would be so vulnerable. And what if it all fell apart? Her dream marriage, when does it become a nightmare? What happens if she can’t satisfy her man, or when he can’t satisfy her. What would she do when it all fell apart? It was bound to happen to someone’s marriage after all. Why not her’s?


Oh how she loathed these vulnerabilities. Oh how she wished she could control it all. Oh how she wished she had made the rules to this game. Oh but she hadn’t. So for the moment what was she to do? Not a thing, but go along with it all. She’ll play her silly game, and he’ll play his. And in this wretched equilibrium they are bound to stay, mutually unaware that they’re not the players in this game but the pieces.

 






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