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The Popularity Facade
Maybe if I wish really hard, I’ll wake up from this nightmare. Ha! Even I knew I was lying to myself. I saw right through it, too, so I must’ve been having an off day. I slammed my locker door shut, pissed that I had to go through yet another year of this. Another year of teachers lecturing endlessly. Another year of pretending to listen to those endless lectures. Another year filled with idiot guys trying to get with me. And lies. Oh yes, another year absolutely filled to the brim with lies.
My heels clicked against the speckled, white tile of the main hallway. Fluorescent lights showed every imperfection with my hair and face, every strand out of place, every concealed blemish. Pay no attention and they won’t see right through you. Pay no attention and no one will know. I kept repeating those words over and over in my head, barely noticing the people I was passing by. I continued in this oblivious state until I heard someone cry out, “Hey! Autumn!”
Julia grabbed my arm, forcing me to stop walking, allowing more people to stare at me for even longer. “I tried to call you but my mom took my cell phone away. Major bummer. So what homeroom do you have?”
Her slang annoyed me, but if I was to retain my reputation I would have to deal with Julia for the rest of high school. Or until she screwed up and became unpopular. It was only what, two more years, plus this one? “Jules, homerooms are alphabetical. We will always be in the same homeroom.” If only I were lying.
“I was just making sure. Geez,” she replied, embarrassed by her ignorance. My acquaintance brushed her highlighted hair back behind her ear and reset her calm exterior. “So who are we associating ourselves with this year?”
I internally sighed at the monotony of popularity. It was all so stupid, with the who’s who and what’s what. But I was at the center of it all, the eye of the storm, the epitome of the high school social structure. So I stuck with it. Anything to not let people notice all my secrets.
See, the good thing about being popular is that everyone has a certain level of respect for you. Sure, there’s the jealousy and the errant rumor, but they’re always based off lies. No one asks questions when you’re popular. You’re just the leader in one big game of Simon Says. Except your name isn’t Simon.
“Well, Cassie became a lesbian last year and is now a gothic/punk, whatever you call it loser freak so she’s out. But that Skylar guy she sometimes hangs out with is pretty cute. And, of course, there’s that Kevin guy he’s always with. His sister’s a schizophrenic freak or something but he’s hot. And did you see his new car? Old, redone cars are so sexy.”
I kept going on like this, not really thinking about what I was saying. I found it best to not think so much about the mean way I was labeling people who were probably really nice. It would make me feel like a heartless monster, when deep down, I wasn’t. You just had to look past my outward appearance, the way I purposely acted in front of others, and the fact that the stereotypical popular girl is a b**** to her core. What can I say except that I’ve always been a good actress?
Julia was hanging on to my every word. It was disgusting how fickle she was. She might as well have been salivating over my words, or programming them in to her easily influenced mind. Sure, it was nice at first, but things like that get really old, really fast.
When I sat down at a desk in homeroom, I could feel the eyes boring in to me everywhere. Guys were staring at my chest and legs, and I didn’t blame them. I was thin and had worked out all summer to tone my legs and stomach without dropping a single cup size. As for the girls, they envied my outfit and hair. Mommy’s money had gotten me a whole new wardrobe from expensive, high-end stores, and not the cheap kind that puts their name on your a**. More importantly, it had gotten me a professional dye job, a lovely dirty blonde with amazingly vibrant lowlights and highlights. Blondes don’t really have more fun. Whoever said that lied.