Each day, I wake up, rolling out of bed after procrastinating before even starting my day, dreading going to school. Slumping around the house, I get dressed in my usual ivory- buttoned shirt and tie, standard for every student. They make everyone look so uniform, militaristic, like we’re an army of tired zombies every morning. Just moving along through calculus classes and counting the days until graduation. Tying the tie and lacing the loafers, I run frantically to pack my bag with the needed materials: history folder, pens, a rainbow of notebooks, and earbuds: the saving grace of high school on any given day.
“Fix your hair, you look like a rat,” she says. I can’t believe I forgot, my appearance being the last thing on my mind. “It shows how long you spent studying for that test that you know you’re going to fail anyway.”
I only bother because that’s the one thing I know how to do; at this point, it’s almost a reflex, a reflex ingrained from years of memorizing facts only to spit them back out with a paper and pencil, then forgetting them and moving on to the next topic. I know it’s useless, but at the same time I try to muster at least a few bits of confidence this early in the morning, before even the sun decides to rise and begin it’s taxing journey across the sky.
“Why do you even try? Don’t bother, the brushing doesn’t help. And neither does the spray so just stop. Now you’ve gone from rat to rat’s nest. Oh, and your blazer makes you look like a box. Those khakis don’t make it better either”. I don’t know how I can even stand the incessant nagging any longer. I feel like I’ve lived the longest day ever, when in reality it’s only been an entire hour. So far, I can already tell what kind of day it is going to be. In the past hour, I’ve tripped on my own two feet and fallen halfway the hallway stairs, tied my tie inside out, spilled toothpaste down the front of myself, and popped a button on my most- favorite gray cotton polo shirt out of all its tantamount twins. Great. Grabbing a bagel from the pantry, I go to get some butter from the fridge. I grab the butter too; I don’t know how some people can stand anything else on it.
“Nope. Do not eat that. You need to lose that weight. Remember how last week I spent money on those new chinos? I had to shop in the adults' section this time. No sizes for you anymore”. On second thought, I settle for realizing that he’s right. I do need to stop eating that stuff. I don’t care what coach said about being too small, one meal won’t hurt me. I’ll just wait. The dog starts whining, the cat starts chasing it, everything is just a mess. Wish it was 2:00 already, then I’d be home free from those little worms. The ones that crawl around the bus, school, whatever. Eating at all of my good thoughts. They do nothing but live on their own little planet in their own solar system. Sometimes it’s mine, polluting the environment until the toxicity spreads. But Here I am, a martian on my own dying earth.
“Will you fix that tie? Geez, I’ve only been barking at you all morning to sort out that mess around your neck. C’mon I’m late. Fine, I’ll help”. Stepping over to the mirror adjacent to the door, I move so they can re-tie this mess. But when I look for their gentle hands moving, all I can see are my own. And when I look towards my reflection, there is no one but me. I walk out the door alone, shaking all the thoughts away. They roll off me like waves on a beach, albeit slowly at first; but eventually, the tide recedes.