As I write this, the harsh reality sets in that I have to wake up early and go to school tomorrow. The alarm will go off at 6:40, I’ll begrudgingly hit “off” as I hold back a moan of anger and depression. I’ll sit up, roll off the bed, and pull of the t-shirt I wore to bed. Standing for a second longer than considered normal, turn the lamp that sits on my dresser on – I’ll stare at the clothes I set out and consider what it might be like to not go to college and graduate with a low GPA because I skipped too many classes. I put the clothes on anyway because my mom would never go for it. Glancing at my jewelry, I consider wearing some, but just grab the watch my ex boyfriend gave me. Every time I see it, it reminds me of him, but I don’t know what I’d do without it. I remind myself that I picked it out, put it on my amazon wish list, and that anyone could have known to buy it for me. But it still reminds me of him and I wish I had another, despite how much I love the way it looks.
Grabbing my backpack, I head to the upstairs bathroom to brush my teeth. The light annoys my eyes, everything is a little blurry, and no one else is up yet. I kind of want to cry, but I don’t want a red face for school and my nose is already stuffy, and it would just agitate my cough, so I decide against it. I head down the stairs and really hope I don’t slip because man that would hurt and I would definitely have a bad day after that. But it doesn’t really stop me from taking quick, loose steps. Because at this point, I could care less about whether or not I have a good day.
Sometimes I’ll head to the kitchen to grab a quick lunch, sometimes I’ll head to the downstairs bathroom to do my makeup – it just depends on how much I care about eating lunch that day.
I grab my box and bag of makeup. As I sit down, I adjust my makeup mirror and turn on the light, I look at my face for the real first time today. I’m never smiling. Why would I smile right now? I’m about to embark on a day at school, with people who I despise, and teachers who expect either too much or too little, and a series of expectations that I don’t care to fill – I’m about to see my ex boyfriend and guys who think too highly of themselves. I’m about to see librarians who are far too enthusiastic for their jobs so one assumes they’re compensating for having such a depressing job as a high school librarian. I’m about to see the girls for whom I wear makeup to intimidate, the same ones who snicker and gossip and annoy the living fuck out of me. Why would I smile when I know what my day holds? But I look in the mirror anyway, at my dead eyes, my unmade face, and I stare. I do my makeup, every stroke calibrated, every dab deliberate, and I make my face perfect so there is one less thing to say about me. One less flaw to poke at. One less hateful word said. I’ll check the time about every ten minutes, until it’s time to leave. I’ll realize at about this moment that my mom and sister are still getting ready, and I’ll be incredibly annoyed at how inconsiderate they are of when I need to be to school. But I’ll ask my mom for the keys so I can start the car, and I’ll head outside to wait for them, accepting that I might be late. But why would I even care if I was late at this point? Who fucking cares if I even show up because it’s just another day in the mandatory hell they pass as education.
They finally come out to the car, Kendra kicks and screams, complaining every second that she spends buckling into her carseat. My mom isn’t far behind her, complaining just as much about how she dreads the day ahead. I silently sit, staring dead in front of me, my eyes blind, head full of miserable thoughts. I just want to be in bed. I want to really learn. I want to live, not this dead, dull routine. This isn’t living.
Driving to school we pass the children walking to their middle school, the crossing guards, the parents dropping off their kids. We pass this man, who I presume is waiting for his ride. He always has his cloth lunch bag, and on rainy days he wears a clear slicker. He’s a short man. He isn’t smiling either, as he leans against the cinderblock wall. He’s staring dead in front of him, with what I assume are blind eyes. We come to a halt at the four way stop, school bus passing in front of us, we wait. Pulling up in front of the administration building, I get out of the car, closing the door as I say I love you to my mom. Hoisting my backpack on my shoulder, I climb the hill to my classes.. I stumble upon the first group of people I see, and I’m smiling now. Despite the fact that I feel the same way as I did when I first looked in the mirror.