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Red nail varnish

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I paint my nails a passionate red, put on a ring, gather my school bags and step outside. I walk further away from my safe haven, further away from the warmth of my home, edging closer and closer to the hell that awaits me day after day: high school.
Delicately opening the school gate, trying to avoid being noticed, I feel eyes boring into me immediately. Looking up I see Tiffany and Gale, who walk towards me with a confidence only the most popular girls possess. ‘Hey, ugly’, Tiffany smirks. ‘Urgh, Tiff, why do we have to tolerate this loser every day?’ drones Gale.
‘I know- she’s ghastly’ laughs Tiffany. ‘Ha, what makes you think you can pull off red nail varnish? Do you think you’re a celebrity or something? God, imagine you on the ‘big screen’. Or should I say ‘screens’? There’d need to be at least two cinema screens to accommodate your giant butt.’
Giggles erupt from all corners of the playground. I look up to see that everyone is watching. Waiting. Waiting for me to cry. But I won’t give them the satisfaction. Scurrying past my tormenters, I reach the security of the toilets, where I slide into the cubicle on the far right, as tears pour from my eyes like a never ending waterfall. ‘Why do they do this?’ I ask no one. I am fat. I know. But does it make me any less of a person? Should I not be allowed to wear red nail varnish because of it?
They don’t understand. My dead mother, Ruby, loved the colour red. She planted red roses in our front garden, tended to them as if they were her own children, wore red dresses, knitted red scarves. She said, through her rouged lips ‘Red is the colour of love’ and I will never forget those words. Painting my nails red makes me feel somewhat beautiful. It reminds me of my mother, who painted everyone’s hearts with a red brush.
All day I endure more taunting and mocking. With each insult I bite down on my lip to stop myself from sobbing. My lips are numb by 3pm.
Running home, I need to get as far away from school as possible. I am filled with fury as I slam the door of my bedroom. I stare into the mirror on the back of the door, my reflection staring at me, waiting for me to cry. Seeing my fat ooze out of my jeans and tee shirt, I snap.
I raise my fist into the air, clenched. It plummets downwards and with an almighty bang crashes into the mirror. Glass shatters, and blood seeps through my fingertips. Red. The colour of love poisoned.



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