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Clair sat in her room on her soft, plush bed staring at herself in the mirror that hung on the wall. Her eyes fixated at the bottom of her face starting with her chin while slowly working their way up. She noticed the scar on her chin from when she ran into that giant elm tree on her new pink bike when she was little, her lips, her nose that she always thought was too big, her cheeks dusted with light brown freckles, and her eyes: green and dull.
Clair spent more time staring at what she didn’t recognize, her cracked and swollen bottom lip that tasted of blood, the gash on her check that had happened when his ring made contact with her face.
“The gash looks worse than it actually is,” he growled to her.
As she stared in the mirror, she couldn’t take her eyes off of it. How the dark, drying blood appeared on her pale skin, how everyone would know. Clair thought about school on Monday; how everyone would stare as they passed her in the hall, the whispers she would hear people saying while pointing, “did you see her face?” “What do you think happened to her?” Her mind filled with hundreds of voices saying “are you okay?!” “How did this happen?!” “Do you need to talk?” “Who did this?!”
As she slowly closed her eyes, the room began to spin, it went round and around, moving faster and faster while the anger built within her. The spinning, the constant nagging of the voices in her head, and even the smell of her peppermint candle that she once found soothing made her sick. Her head throbbed, her heart pounded, and she felt herself losing control. She turned around and lifted her sky blue pillow to her face. She let out a long horrific, incredulous scream, as her eyes flooded with tears. She held that pillow to her face and howled and cried until she felt some relief. Stupid. God, she felt stupid. How had she become one of those girls? One of those girls who let these things happen and doesn’t try to stop it. One of those girls who lets herself get hit and makes themselves believe that it won’t happen again: that it was a one-time deal. She always said she wouldn’t let this happen and now she had. She felt livid with herself. She was feeling volcano ready to explode her red-hot magma everywhere. She hated that she let this happen to herself. She despised being one of “those girls”, one of those girls who does nothing and just lets it happen over and over until it goes too far and someone else steps in. Dropping her pillow to the floor, she decided she wasn’t gong to be one of those girls. She made up her mind; she was not going to stand for this. She refused to be treated this way.
Clair shot up, and stormed down the hall to the bathroom. She avoided the mirror this time- she didn’t want to see her tear and snot stained, red, raw, beaten face. Looking down, she reached for the faucet; she eyed the bracelet he gifted her. Time seemed to stop as she stared at it. Looking at it reminded her of his gentle side and all of the fun times they experienced this summer. They spent every night together, eating ice cream and playing at parks, going to the beach and watching TV. He was her best friend this summer.
Clair looked up, meeting the mirror and her reflection; she looked back at the bracelet, unlatched it and tossed it in the garbage. Seeing her face was enough. Her cheeks wet with tears, swollen lip, and cut brought her back to reality.
“I know I need to end this,” she thought to herself. “I need to end this, I need help.” The bad outweighed the good. It did. She knew it did. She turned on the water and splashed some on her face. She grabbed the towel and patted her face dry. The light pink towel revealed stains of a deep red color of her blood. She glanced in the mirror once more, and reassurance washed over her. She walked down the stairs to the kitchen. The smell of banana bread met her as soon as she got downstairs. As Clair breathed in the rich odor coming from the oven, her stomach erupted in a great growl of hunger. Trying to avoid the eyes of her parents, Clair stayed in her room with the door locked until this morning. It had been hours since she had eaten anything. Clair crept behind her mother who was standing in front of the stove.
“Mom…” Clair had spoken quavering. Her mother jumped a little, it was apparent that her mom had no idea she was behind her.
“Oh honey! You scared me!” As Clair’s mom turned around to meet her daughter’s eyes, the scabs that soiled her daughters face appalled her.
“Clair! What happened?!” Her eyes widened as she ran closer to her daughter.
Clair’s eyes filled with tears, once again.
“He hit me mom,” she mumbled out.
“Oh sweetheart!” her mom exclaimed as she embraced her daughters head. “Don’t worry honey, we will get this all taken care of. Don’t worry.”
Clair felt good with her mom’s hand stroking her hair. For the first time since the incident, Clair felt safe. She finally felt like herself again.