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Catching Damien No.1
Hair up or hair down? The blue top, or the green? As I stand despairingly in front of my bedroom mirror, it seems I’ll be late for school…again.
Why won’t my hair stay straight? I hate the ringlets that sprout from my head, fall in front of my eyes. I wish I had hair like the other girls in school, long and smooth and…straight.
Throwing the hairbrush onto the bed, I scrabble for the straighteners in my drawer. Flicking the switch and grabbing the hairspray, I hear my mom shout:
“Maria! You‘re going to be late for school again! Five minutes young lady, yes?”
“Yes mom!” I groan, yanking my hair and reaching for the straighteners and- damn! I drop the straighteners in shock and stumble to the bathroom, my hand burning and my mind racing. He can’t see me like this! I’ll look like an idiot!
“MARIA!” Mom bellows, advancing up the stairs. I run to the clock. My five minutes are up. We’ll have to go.
The mirror doesn’t show me what I want to see. My legs are too fat, my waist is too wide. I rip off my blue tank top and throw on the green one, stepping over the rapidly growing pile of clothes littering my floor.
“Let‘s go!” Mom screams, jangling her keys impatiently.
In need a jacket. Grabbing my grey hoodie, I start to run for the door. Wait, no! Flinging the hoodie, I drop to my knees, hunt through my clothes and pull out my denim jacket, buried under the seven skirts I had already rejected this morning.
Right, I’m ready. Flipping the power switch off and checking my lipgloss, I speed down the stairs, landing clumsily only inches away from my mother.
“Ready.” I gasp, catching my breath.
“Breakfast?” Mom snaps.
“Not hungry.” I reply, heading for the door.
“I‘ll drive.” she orders.
“I‘ll walk.” I mutter slamming the door behind me.
The walk to school is my favourite part of the day. I can imagine him, waiting in the classroom for me, flashing me his pearly white smile.
I remember yesterday when I ‘accidentally’ brushed his arm in Maths, where we’re ’forced’ to be partners.
Seeing him is the best part of school, sitting next to him, or just catching a glimpse of his sandy-haired head in the hallway.
I’m always too nervous to talk to him. He plays guitar, he writes songs, he flirts with the Barbies in our class.
I wish he’d write a song about me.
This is it. I shuffle down the crowded hallway, nervous but excited to see him. This is our classroom. I flick my hair over my shoulder, adjust my skirt and press my lips together. I stride in, my head held high, and take my seat gracefully.
Putting on my prettiest smile, I take a deep breath, swivel round and…
He isn’t even there.