I'd Rather People Hate Me For Who I Am Than Love Me For Who I'm Not

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 Cara sat in the class, ignoring the insults. "Fucking Atheist," they laughed. "She's going to Hell, for sure."

 She was used to it by then. They hated her. She wrote down lyrics, like she did every day. Just lyrics from her favourite songs.

 A rubber hit the back of her head, staying in her red hair, and her left hand clenched around the pen. Ignore them, she told herself.

 The teacher came back in and the class settled. She began to write on the board. Cara was still drawing anything and everything around the words.

 "Cara Duffy, put that pen down and listen!" the teacher, Ms Grant roared. Cara jumped slightly and dragged her grey eyes away from her copy and to the board.

 Ms Grant came down and took the copy off the desk. "You can draw in art class. You can stay in at lunch." Cara groaned inwardly; detention meant she was with the worst crowd.

 The bell rang as the teacher reached the top of the class. "You can go." She waved her hands. Cara jumped out of her seat. It was art class next for her, anyway.

 Mr Galvin was in the room. Cara took her folder and sat at the back seat, next to the window. As the rest of the class filed in, she continued her drawing. She only had to shade a little before she decided it was finished. It was for the art competition that her home town, Castlebar, held every year.

 


 "Sir, I'm finished," she said, bringing it up for him to see. "Should I enter it?"

 "It's alright I suppose, but there's no chance you'd win."

 "It's the best I can do."

 "Your best isn't very good, is it?" She walked back to her seat, tears stinging the back of her eyes. She had spent weeks perfecting it.

 "Show us," Mary, a girl in her year, said. Cara held up her drawing. "That's shit," Mary snorted with laughter. "Lads, come and look at her drawing. She's entering that in the competition."

 They all laughed, despite the fact that Cara's drawing was the best by far. It was of her horse, Blue.

*****

 Cara dumped her bag on the ground and ran over to her blue roan horse. He whinnied softly, blowing onto her hands. "I missed you," she whispered. 

 She decided to enter her picture in the end. "You want to go to a show this weekend? Get away from everything?"

 Her cousin, Dan, was going to bring them He had his own mare, Dayflower, that he was riding. She stroked his neck, pressing her lips against his silky mane.

 It seems so surreal, to those who have never been bullied, that it happens, but it does. And it hurts.

 

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