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I keep walking

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In school, I grapple with myself and scrunch my toes up inside the shoes that make my shins sore when I clip clop on the concrete steps.

My skirt feels tight around the waist. I'm wearing that thick grey vest that Mum gave me because she knows I feel the cold. I reason with myself,it is the extra layer that adds the inch to my circumference. I mentally omit that extra apple from my calculated Friday intake all the same.

I see you waiting with her outside the science lab, leaning against the peeling radiator. I wonder why she never does her roots, and why she laughs like that, and why the shape of her calves bother me, so muscular and taught through her navy tights.
You see me and smile at me with your eyes.
I wish I hadn't worn eye make-up today, so carefully applied, because I'd rather have sickly translucent features than spend the day wondering if a single escaped tear will streak my cheek with black and show the world that I'm unhinged.
I want to tell her to f**k off and let me lean against the radiator with you. Because my shins hurt when I walk, and the cold feels tight in my chest, and nothing is ok.
The bell goes and she throws her head back, laughing, and saunters down the corridor, leaving you standing in her empty silence. I follow in the wake of her swagger, and wonder if this means we have something in common.
Your hand drifts from your side and brushes mine as I pass. I hesitate, thinking of anaerobic respiration and the biology teacher who rules with big thighs and iron fist. I look at you and suddenly it's that night again. I can feel the satin of my dress askew on my tiny boobs, and the weight of the ruby necklace Dad made me swear not to wear. I might drown in your stare.
I am thinking of how it would feel to stand in her spot beside you, against the cream and peeling paint, close enough to watch your chests rise and fall as you breathe. I am thinking that maybe you would prop me up, just for a second, and help me carry this weight that is yours. Ours. I keep walking.





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