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Your Definition of Perfection
The eyeliner makes the dark circles less pronounced. The lip gloss hides the trembling. The ponytail conceals missing patches of hair. The Hollister sweater covers bruises and cuts. I might look at bit thinner, but everyone will ask about my new diet. My brown hair might not shine the way it used to, but the purple ribbon will distract curious eyes. One hour of preparation and I look like “myself”. One hour of preparation and no one will know. One hour out of 24. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it – wasting a twenty-fourth of my day on a lie. But then I see my frizzy hair and baggy eyes, and I know I have to do it.
I bite my lip as I look at my reflection in the mirror knowing that is not the real me. But lately I have become so confused. I walk down the steps to go “make” myself breakfast. My Mom is not in sight as usual. I remember when I was younger and she used to get up and wake me up. She would cook eggs and bacon for me and serve it to me in bed. But that was such a long time ago; it’s hard to remember like looking through a window of smoke. I grab a bowl of cereal from the cabinet. It was a green bowl that had a huge smiley sun on it. I almost laugh looking at how stupid it was. I put the clean bowl into the sink and fill it with water, to make it look like I ate. A technique I came up with to make others believe I had eaten. How easy people were to confuse, if you had their trust.
I look up at the clock and it read 7:35. I grab my purple backpack from the floor, sling it over my right shoulder, and head out the door. It was early February and the air was cold. I should have worn a winter coat. It was cloudy and it looked like it may rain or snow soon. I walk on the sidewalk down to the bus stop. A bunch of kids are already there waiting, they smile when they see me. Some girls wave timidly. Some guys whistle obnoxiously. Others just stare in awe. How stupid they really are.
“Hey Hailey!” a blonde girl calls stepping forward.
“Hey Anna,” I say back walking up to my best friend.
“Looking good, Hailey,” one of the guys shout.
If only they really knew. But like everyone else they were blind to my true feelings and all the signs, nobody cared to look close enough. Then again why would they? Little Miss Perfect always seemed so happy. Straight A student, Honor Society Member, voted Most Likely to Succeed and Most Popular, and will probably be valedictorian. But those were just titles, labels, they really meant nothing. You could not categorize people into groups, you just can’t. Nobody fits a particular group they can try but we each have different thoughts and opinions. So those labels mean nothing, especially in my case.
I glance at Anna and see her scowling. She hated when I got compliments and she did not. She was always jealous of me when we were both younger. She thought she was the best, but unfortunately she was always second best. But of course there is nothing I could do to change that. I’m just being me, and she is being herself too. But she is not happy with herself and is jealous of me. Oh well, not a good place to be. If only she knew… how imperfect the real me is.
They all don’t know what lurks underneath trying to get out and set itself free. Every day I must hold back and plaster a fake smile on my face. That is what they expect that is what they know of Hailey. But Hailey is so much more.
The wind blows as the bus rumbles down the corner towards the bus stop. A few kids are running to get to the bus stop in time. Others are talking as if they don’t have a care in the world. The latter group was who I formerly was. But now I am only a lingering ghost of who I used to be.
“Hey Hailey, look at this picture I found in my room the other day,” Anna says, snapping me out of my trance.
I smile, like I am supposed to, and step close to her our skin touching because we are best friends and analyze the picture. I remember the day the picture was taken.
It was a sunny spring day in the picture. Our parents decided to take us to the park to get to know each other better; we were only in kindergarten then still unsure of friends and whatnot. I had on a purple dress that had a heart in the center where my breasts would be one day. The heart had a face and was smiling at me. My brown hair was pulled into two ponytails – one on each side of my head. Anna had on a yellow shirt and blue skirt; she didn’t match well back then. Not until I taught her the ways. Her blonde hair hung loosely down resting on her shoulders. We were both holding hands and smiling. I was standing more in front of her. I used to love the camera, anyway who would take my picture earned a huge hug from me. Anna had on a huge smile too but you could tell it was forced. I was a natural in front of the camera, well I used to be. Anna was trying to copy and be like me as usual.
“We were so cute back then!” I say and giggle, putting on the pretty girl sterotype mask on.
Anna giggles and nods her agreements, just as the bus rolls up to our bus stop and we wait to get on. I walk on before Anna and take our seats in the back. The weirder you were the further forward you got, near the bus driver so you could not misbehave. The more popular you were the further back you would have seats where an adult’s eye could not be on you constantly and you could be more independent.
Throughout the bus ride everyone talked. It was always so loud on the bus, I hated all the noise. People would come over to us and tell us about their weekend plans or what they did do. I would smile and nod and throw in the occasional “Cool” just like I was supposed to do. Really I took nothing of that in, but out of the corner of me glanced out the window. The window was a portal of the free world, to do what you want, not to be judged by others. How much I wanted that window with its beautiful and majestic scenes to be my life. But I was stuck being the “perfect” me.