I lie a little.
No, I lie a lot. I lie to everyone because no-one gets it: no-one understands. I lie to Mari because she's such a kind, sweet person who's actually such a bitch, and I lie to my Mum because she's still living twenty years in the passed, and I lie to Dad because he's obsessed with morality and righteousness, and I don't really have anyone else who merits the truth.
Wait- another lie. I tell the truth to my ex-boyfriend. We have the weirdest relationship I've ever come across. I told him I was sick of him and he was just too annoying to be my boyfriend, and he told me I was pretty much insane and I wasn't the quiet, smart girl at the back of the classroom he thought I was. He got freaked when he realised I stayed up so late because I took stay-awake happy pills which were possibly illegal, and I got bored when I realised all he cared about was cars and kissing. He was a bad kisser - not that what we did was actually kissing.
Now, our relationship is just the two us ranting to each other about our lives over text - me ranting about people, and him ranting about school and girls. We don't even look at each other in school. Even his stupid face gets on my nerves. The way his tie is always not tied properly, and his shirt is only half tucked in. He's so messy and all over the place that it makes me want to tidy him up like I might tidy up a room.
"How was school?" Mum's voice echoes through the kitchen, and there's a familiar chink of cutlery and a familiar buzz from the kettle in the background.
"Do you want a drink?"
"I'll make it myself."
"I always do," I bury my head into my pillow, because today's been awful. Mari and me studied all through break and lunch, and then she spilled her juice down my school shirt and I honestly thought I might kill her on the spot. Because then I had to go the school deputy to beg for another shirt, but she wouldn't give me one because we only had one lesson left and I had to sit through maths with juice on my shirt and I could hardly stand it, I could hardly work or think or breathe. And now I have to catch up on all the maths I missed that lesson, and I'm so afraid I'm falling behind enough already.
And I need to get up from my bed and start getting my life in order again, but I'm so fucking annoyed and tiredness is creeping into my vision because I didn't take a pill because I was so fucking pre-occupied with my dirty school shirt.
Get up. Stand up. Catch up on the maths, tidy your room. Get revenge on Mari for her butterfingers and her carelessness and all the times she's messed your day up for you.
Make a coffee and open your eyes and take a goddamn pill.
And I do. I quickly open the bottom drawer by my bed, and pull out a white pill box half-full of tablets. They're a creamy colour on one side, and a bloody, deep purple on the other. You're only supposed to take them once in a while, so they're not illegal, but I tend to take them quite a lot. I'm not addicted: my body just can't physically do everything I require of it without a little help. It just gives me a small push, is all.
I swallow two down without water, and then stuff it right to the back of all the other medication so that - just in case - someone were to look in the drawer, they wouldn't find it. I shut the drawer, and take a few deep breathes, because I'm doing it again.
I'm being afraid again. I'm feeling again. I'm thinking again. My heart's beating and my lung's are sinking and my mind's whirring like a broken down record player, and I'm not in control. I know it's the pills a little bit, but it's not just the pills. It's me. I'm the one who's so full of fear.It used to be a fear of myself, the way I looked, the way people looked at me. Insecurities and self-doubt. Now it's deeper. Now it's just a fear of me. Who I am. How I feel. It's frightening.
I have to take the medication and I have to revise until I fall asleep over my books and I have to draw a line around me that no-one else can cross, or the fear comes back. If I think, it comes back. If I pause for breathe, it comes back.
And I have to make sure it never comes back properly.
I close my eyes tight, because I feel a headache coming on. There's a ringing behind my eyes, and I shut it out. It's for worrying and crying too much: that's why it's there. And the headache isn't from the pills like Mari says to me; she's stupid and she doesn't understand that the pills are keeping me alive, they're giving me precious time that doesn't exist
and I have to stay awake
and I tell her doesn't she know? For every hour I'm sleeping, wasting, leaving behind, there's work to be done. There's textbooks and novels and documentaries and series and programmes that need completing and finishing and doesn't she know we still have homework and revision? And Mum's on my back for being unsociable and cold and Dad's not here most of the time because he decided we were too much for him. I was difficult, he said.
He said it and then he said he didn't mean it and he regretted it and he apologised for it and I didn't forgive because meant it. I am difficult.
But it's their choice to find things difficult. If they just left me alone, they'd never have to think about me or look after me or find me difficult. If they just stayed away. If everyone just stayed away. Mari too.
Everyone. If there was just me.
I glare at my reflection in the mirror. The light catches in my hair and beads it with silver and gold, and the darkness clutters beneath my cheekbones - which, I've noticed - are becoming more prominent as days go on. I eat loads, I binge eat to get rid of feeling and emotion, but I'm still losing weight. It's worry and panic and upset and work and pills and other people. It's showing.
My hair is still soft, though, and the grey beneath my eyes is hardly something everyone will notice. No-one will notice, even if they're with me all the time. They're not perceptive about things like that, like I am. I notice. I just don't say anything, because I really don't care about anyone else, and I don't care either if I'm selfish for thinking things like that. It's true. I'm being honest. They don't mean anything to me.
I'm important. Myself first. Always.
My reflection's lips thin to a straight and harsh line, and my eyes look very blue. Like sea and sky. They're flecked pale and dark, swatches of twisting colour. And they're empty: the pupils blown wide and there's absolutely, utterly nothing inside. They're pretty; I know they're pretty. If they were hurting or laughing they'd be ugly and pointless.
I switch my lights off and the room drops to darkness. Shadows crawl up the walls, and my reflection in the mirror is almost gone. There's just a pair of white eyes and white skin and hair mussed about my head, and a flat smile. It's not that beautiful, but I didn't expect it to be. I'm beginning to accept the way I look, as I'm also beginning to accept no-one else.
I believe it's a good deal.
I turn my lamp on, and there's a little flood of light on my desk, right over my maths book. The calculations are smooth and inked out softly, and I run my nails over them. They're difficult, but I'm good.