Red

Eve is sixteen. She's slowly drifting away from her oldest friend. She's starting to be invited out with people she barely knows. . She has a secret stash of laxatives that she takes after every meal. Sometimes her mum disappears for days on end. Soon, one thing or another is going to catch up with her.

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1. Another Dreary Tuesday

I don’t think anything good has ever happened on a Tuesday.

You start the day at half 6 in the morning, already in a bad mood because Monday, was more than a little shit and all you have to look forward to is more of the same – except you’re ten times as tired as you were when you got up yesterday.

That’s pretty much the stage of the day I’m at right now. I’m just finishing off a bowl of cereal, shoving it into my mouth like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve never understood those ‘I don’t eat breakfast’ kinds of people – my first thought when I wake up is always food.

Bran flakes finished, I get up to make myself some toast. Mum’s bought this super nice wholemeal bread, the kind with seeds in, and in all honesty I think this toast is probably going to be the best part of this whole dreary Tuesday.

Time always races by on school mornings – before I know it I have 10 minutes until I need to leave to catch my bus. After spending the last half hour doing next to nothing, I finally start to get ready. I manage to shove on some minimal make-up in two minutes flat and then I pull the packet of pills out of a sock in my underwear drawer. I take two of the laxatives, washing them down with the glass of water on my bedside table. I hate taking them straight before I go to school because it means I end up needing to crap while I’m there, but there’s plenty of disabled toilets I can have some privacy to do my business in.

I stuff my jotters into my bag and run out the door. As always, I just make it to the bus stop on time.

The only way I can think of to describe my bus journey to school is I Am That Kid Who Sits On Their Own And Listens To Nirvana The Whole Way.

As In Bloom plays, I pick out my flaws in the reflection in the window. Hair too ginger, skin too pale, too many freckles, concealer didn’t manage to cover up that spot on my chin.

The bus pulls up to the school.

“Eve!”

Eilidh’s voice hits me as soon as I’m off the bus.

“Guess what day it is, Eve.”

Shit. It’s her birthday.

“Oh my god Eilidh I’m so sorry. There’s a card sitting on my kitchen table waiting for you, I swear.”

“It’s cool. I don’t mind.” Her smile doesn’t waver.

Knowing Eilidh, she probably literally doesn’t mind at all. Captain fucking Positivity, that girl, I’m telling you.  A real friend, too.  She comes in early every morning just to meet me getting off the bus, a gesture that might seem totally innocent if it wasn’t for the fact she spends the rest of the day surrounded by her other friends and doing her best to avoid me. Whether she does it out of kindness or guilt, it is nice to have someone to speak to in the mornings, I guess.

We’ve barely even been talking when I feel the need to go. As in go go.

“I just need to nip to the bathroom. I’ll be back in a minute.” I say.

Eilidh doesn’t even look put out that I’ve interrupted her mid-sentence. I speed walk to the nearest disabled toilet and plonk myself down. While my body is ridding itself of breakfast’s calorie intake, I scroll through Tumblr. Another day, another ridiculous gif set freezing my phone.  Three minutes and four dumb astrology posts later, I’m heading back outside to the bench me and Eilidh were sat on. Turns out all of her other friends have arrived and she is being drowned in presents. She doesn’t even glance at me. Material girl in a material world and all that.

Instead of going over to them, I walk towards the wall at the back of the school where plenty of people are already lined up, smoking. I stand beside Archie and he passes me a fag. I pull my lighter out my blazer pocket.

“I’ll pay you back tomorrow”

“Aye,” he says, “Whatever, I’m not bothered”

I would like to point out that I don’t smoke. At least, I don’t smoke a lot. Mostly just on Tuesdays. And especially bad days. Anyway, not every day. It’s not a habit, just something to pass the time.

It’s not like me and Archie are friends either, he just offered me a fag once and I didn’t want to be rude. I think maybe he fancies me. He’s not said anything, but he always stops behaving like such a prat when I come over and I can tell he’s staring at my bum half the time. In fairness to him, I have a great bum. It’s one of the only physical features I actively like about myself.

 

 

Two hours later, and I’m in English. I sit with this girl called Liv. She’s pretty cool, although we aren’t really proper friends. I don’t exactly have many people in my life I could actually call my friend.

So we’re just doing some close reading and it’s not exactly the most gripping task in the world and the teacher has gone out of the class to print off some sheets or something, so basically the whole room has dissolved into noise. Liv is talking with a couple of her friends who sit behind us about some trip they’re organising to the beach on Friday – their alcohol supplier has decided to go and get the flu so they’re trying to work out who they can get to buy drink for them instead. Without thinking, I speak.

“I know someone who could get it for you guys.”

Liv’s face lights up, “Who? Would they charge much?”

“If I asked them for it I could probably get it cheaper. They’re kind of a friend.”

Liv and the two boys she was talking with, Lewis and Cal, nod at each other.

“That would be amazing of you, if you did that for us,” says Liv, “Actually, you know what Eve. You get enough drink for all of us and for yourself too. You should come with us.”

I try so hard to suppress a smile, to act like this is nothing. The fact is I never get asked out anywhere – and I’ve never been drunk. Apart from maybe at Christmas with my family, but I seriously doubt that counts. Sure, they’re only inviting because I’m bringing alcohol but maybe they’ll like me, maybe they’ll want to ask me out with them again.

After four and a bit years of high school having literally one friend, it’s hard not to get excited over the possibility of a chance at a social life.

Outside the classroom it’s raining heavily, in classic Scottish style, but the grim weather doesn’t shake the feeling that maybe this Tuesday is the one exception to the rule, that maybe this Tuesday is good, that maybe this Tuesday is significant.

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