Days are forgotten

If you found out you had a month left to live, how would you tell your parents? Your friends? Your partner? Would you make the most of the time you have left, or change as a person and let your illness consume you. How do you stop yourself giving up hope?

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1. Knocking down the pyramid

She was beautiful you know? She never knew...she never believed me. She never believed anyone. But she was so happy that it didn't matter.
She never wore any make up - she believed that the use of make up corrupts the brain into making you feel imperfect - and she never cared what she looked like. She didn't aim to be perfect and that's what made her so beautiful. Her imperfections made her perfect. I never had eyes for anyone else.

I met her when we were both 16. Well I met her properly anyway; I'd been in most of her classes for four years but we'd never really spoken. The problem with schools nowadays is they're organised automatically into hierarchy and I was automatically in what was deemed the 'popular group' simply because of the people I was friends with but she wasn't really in a specific group; she was nice to everyone and in turn, everybody seemed to like her. Except the girls in our group.
Me and the lads, we'd go to the pub most nights and the other girls in our year would be there all dressed up and caked in so much make up, it was almost difficult to remember their original faces. The first time I ever spoke to Beth was when she entered the room dressed in a barmaid's uniform. Her Dad ran the pub apparently and she liked to earn money on the side by helping out, which meant she had to serve us. 

I didn't think anything of it to begin with; she was simply someone who was fairly attractive, went to our school and was serving us - I hadn't really taken the time to look at her before. The person I was before I met her never looked at anyone who wasn't in our group. Now I feel like I didn't spend enough time looking at her.

She came to our table and wasn't phased at all. She smiled and opened up her notebook and readied her pen. 
"So what would you guys like?" 

Leah was the first to answer. Leah was always the first to answer. She had a big mouth. Too big. Not that any of the guys in our school minded, so to speak. She was hot. Seriously. Even I fancied her. But she was too good for everybody.

"I'll have an orange juice... and put a bit of vodka in it." Leah smiled that recognizable fake smile that she gave to people she indefinitely looked down on - which was basically everyone.

"Sure thing," Beth scribbled on her notepad and looked up again. "What else would guys like?" She took everyone's orders including mine and went off to the kitchen. That's when the bitching started.

"That was a bit weird wasn't it?" Leah said a little too loudly, "being served by her? Awkward."

"Yeah," Jess chimed in. Jess was fairly quiet but when it came to gossiping with Leah, they were quite a pair. "I'd hate to be a waitress. I mean you're not allowed to wear make up in case it gets in the way of your job or something. I can't not wear at least a little bit of foundation or mascara. Or at least some lipgloss!"

"I know right?" Leah said really seriously. "I mean, it's ok if you have perfect skin like Hanna," She nodded at her best friend sitting opposite her who looked at her endearingly before she continued texting. "But if you don't, imagine what it's like to go out in public with spotty skin."

"Her skin wasn't spotty Leah." I pointed out but I shut up when she gave me a condescending look.

"Anyway, do you think we should get a selfie with her?"

"Leah, what would be the point in that?"

"Michael, come on. It's just a selfie. I got a lot of rumors spread about me because I stopped hanging around with that group. They all judge me because I hang out with you guys; one selfie with her could stop the rumors that I'm a pretentious snobby bitch."

"Fair enough." Like I said, at this point in my life, I never argued a point because I couldn't be arsed. I thought it was pointless and stupid but Leah was just one of those people you don't get into an argument with because it's way too much effort.

 Beth came back in with our drinks and when Leah asked to take a selfie with her, Beth - although a little taken aback - simple smiled and said "Sure." 

So we took a group photo and she took our food orders. Beth was about to leave again but Leah called out to her.

"Hey..uh.." She looked at her name tag "...Beth! Just a quick question. What make up products do you use?"

"Leah..." I whispered sharply but she ignored me. 

"Uh, I don't wear make up." Beth replied calmly.

"What, at all?" This time it was Leah who was taken aback.

"I don't really see the need for it."

"Oh. Ok." Leah retreated to her phone and Beth retreated to the kitchens again. 

"Leah, what's up?" Jess nudged Leah's arm until she looked up sulkily.

"She doesn't see the need for it? What like so she thinks she so perfect she doesn't need to wear make up? What a bitch!"

"I don't think she meant it like that." I didn't really care but it still seemed a little bit of an over reaction on Leah's part. Then  Leah looked at me with a certain tone.

"Michael, you think she's fit don't you?"

"What?"

"You fancy the waitress. It would make sense, I mean she's the first girl you'd fancy who isn't out of your league."

This statement was followed by a loud jeering and the guys shouting how I got 'parred'. 

"You're not as 'hot' as you think you are Leah." I didn't know what I was saying. Literally. It just came out but her reaction actually made me feel good.

"How dare you? You can't talk to me like that. That's really mean. You know something, you deserve each other. I bet you would take her to prom!" Leah huffed.
I should explain. While me and Leah aren't an item, we agreed we'd go to prom together simply because that's what people expected and well...she's really hot so despite the bitchiness I said yes.

I looked over to Beth who was now waiting another table. She was wearing a plain uniform and had her hair pulled into a pony tail, a couple of thread bracelets around her wrist and a crystal pendant around her neck. She was, admittedly, not bad looking. So I looked at Leah with a tone of defiance and got up suddenly.

"Michael, what are you doing?" 

"Exactly what you said I should do Leah."

I strutted up to Beth, with what I thought was swag, and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around and smiled; it was the first time I had ever seen her smile and it was different to any smile I had seen from the other girls. It was genuine.

"Uh hi."

"Hey." She tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear.

"Uh, so I'm Michael Davenport." What kind of pickup line was that? I sounded so nerdy.

"I know, you're in my maths and english class."

"Oh. Right. So..." I looked behind me at leah who was watching me dumbfounded and this gave me the confidence boost I need.

"I'm gonna be straight up with you. I was going to Prom with Leah but she was talking crap about you and I thought that was out of order because you seem nice enough so you wanna go to prom with me instead?" 

She was clearly shocked but in a good way.

"Are you sure you want to go with me though and not someone who's at the top of the school's metaphorical hierarchy?" 

"Think of this as us knocking down the pyramid."

"I like that. Ok, Michael Davenport. I would love to go to Prom with you."

"Cool," I smiled. "I should get back to my table. See you later?"

"Well you'll see me in a couple of minutes, I'll be serving your meal."

"Right..." I returned to my table and sat down.

"So?" Leah had a slightly jealous glint in her eye and I kind of liked it which wasn't like me at all. 

"She said yes."

"Fine, I'll just go with Caleb then." 
Caleb spluttered in surprise which was followed by sniggers from everyone else.
Beth walked over to the table with our food and asked if that would be all. 

"Yes thanks." I said without thinking. Everyone cooed sarcastically and I rolled my eyes. Beth smiled understandingly - one thing I grew to learn about her was that she had a smile for everything - and began to walk off.

"Hey Beth!" I called after her and she spun around. I raised my glass, "To knocking down the pyramid!" 

She winked - not in a suggestive way like Leah did to the guys to lead them on, but knowingly -  and walked back into the kitchen. I didn't say anything for the rest of the night but I sat in awkward silence next to Leah who was also fairly quiet for the rest of the night and that was definitely a good outcome.

 

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