Picture Perfect


1. Picture Perfect


Picture Perfect:

I glare at them from my perch in the tree and scowl. They look so perfect, both of them; Alexia with her straight, perfect blond hair and Liam with his short brown hair and muscular arms. Everyone in school knows them; everyone looks up to them. Then there’s me, a snowflake among a flurry of thousands, an ant among a colony of millions. Nobody ever notices me with my short, sticky out hair and brown eyes. I’m known as a geek, a school freak and that is the way it always has been and always will be. 

I look out of the window in my tree house and let the breeze ruffle my hair as angry tears come to my eyes. Everywhere I look they’re there, couples upon couples. Couples hold hands as they walk into the ice-cream shop, arms wrapped around each other as they sit on the park bench and then there’s Liam and Alexia, posing for a Valentine’s Day picture, even holding a cluster of bright pink balloons.  I gaze at the books that line the walls of the tree house and sometimes I’m glad to be me, to be the geek I am, with books for friends. Not today though, it’s the same every year where everyone in the class, everyone, even little whiney Melinda gets a card. Everyone that is, except me. People cry out in delight as they get balloons from their admirers, gasp with glee as they read their pink, heart-shaped cards with words of love and kindness.

“Cristiana?” My mum yells. I poke my head out of the door and wave feebly. “Come inside, you have homework to finish.”

“Coming mum” I reply.

A group of boys standing on the corner of my street snicker and mimic her voice. “You need to do your homework Cristiana.” More sniggering follows.

“Leave me alone.” I yell.

“Yeah go back to your books geek.” They say to one another, laughing.

I hear their laughter ringing in my ears as I run into the house, too angry to care that I didn’t take off my shoes, too angry to care that my mum is calling me to come and do my homework. I run to my room and angrily kick the pile of books that lie on the floor. I decide I’ve had enough, I can’t take it anymore, I don’t want to be called names any longer. I walk quietly down the stairs and open the back door noiselessly. As soon as I reach the well worn path, I start running; I sprint as fast as my legs can carry me until I feel as though my lungs will burst. It’s eerily quiet in the woods and the only sound is that of my own laboured breathing and I stand hunched over, clutching my side.

For the first time in months I feel free, alone. There’s no one here to call me names, to mock me, to tell me what to do. I climb the nearest tree and find myself a thick branch, where I close my eyes and smile. No one can find me here. I’m safe.

I must have dozed off, lulled to sleep by the swaying of the braches, the gentle rustle of the leaves for when I wake night surrounds me and the stars twinkle in the sky above me. An owl hoots and I jump, I’m suddenly scared. How did I let it get this late? The ground below looks very far away and I hug my knees to my chest as I start to shiver. Pulling the arms of my sleeves down as far as they can go, I stare out into the darkness, trying to see the lights of the town. Dark is all I can see before me and I feel dizzy. I reach for a branch above my head to steady myself and I bite my lip to stop the tears coming.

                Rustling from down below causes me to glare down in the darkness, terrified of what might be down there. A twig cracks and my body stiffens. What if someone is watching me, waiting for me to come down? I hold my breath and shuffle backwards as quietly as I can until my back is pressed against the tree trunk. My eyes are wide with fear and tears of sheer terror are running down my face.

It’s then that I heard it in the distance. The sound of sirens approaching and I hear voices. Footsteps approach and I see beams of light flooding the path ahead.

 “Cristiana?” I hear, “Cristiana, where are you?” I knew at once that the voice belonged to my mother and I felt a wave of relief rush over me.

“Cristiana?” I hear someone else call. Someone who’s voice I can’t seem to place. I look down to see a tall, blond girl holding a torch calling my name yet again. I don’t believe my eyes; it’s her, perfect, popular Alexia and not far behind is her boyfriend Liam. They’re among others I don’t know, all looking for me.

I begin to clamber down quickly and soon as my feet touch the ground I run towards my mum and tears fill my eyes. This time they are tears of happiness, tears of relief.

“We were all so worried, what happened?” She sobbed, pulling me close to her. I explained, slowly, all the while glancing at Liam and Alexia.

 “We admire you Cristiana. You’re jealous of us but we’re jealous of you. You are the most intelligent kid in the school, that’s not something to take lightly. People look up to you, even though you don’t realize it. We just don’t know how to show it.” Alexia says, taking me totally by surprise.

This Valentine’s Day may have started off like all the rest but it ended as one of the best. I’m a geek, a school freak. I always have been, always will be and I’m proud of it.



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