Petals of the Rose
The soft cashmere of her scarf brushed against her neck as she pulled her hood tighter, trying to hold off the cold moisture careening out of the cloudy sky. Somehow it still splashed tiny icy droplets onto her chilled pink cheeks. She quickened her stride toward the light shining out of the large windows of the schools’ double doors. To anyone else in this weather, this light would seem inviting, warm, safe. She knew better. To her that light was cold, impersonal, foreboding.
The large wooden door creaked as she pulled it open, trying to keep her bag balanced on her shoulder, juggle her presentation board in one hand and not drop her lunch bag. No such luck. The moist paper bag ripped, just in time to drop a soda can on her foot, spinning it out of control across the floor and spraying dark, sticky liquid all over her leggings, the doors and the nearby lockers.
“Oh freaking wonderful”, she muttered to herself as she sank to her knees, trying to prop her project out of the way, and clean up. “Way to go Sham-ille” a laughing voice leered, Sady Johnson- well known cohort of the “popular girls”. But that also meant…. ‘Oh crap’ Camille thought to herself, ‘of course the Gods hate me enough to place Kristi Atkins in a perfect place to witness my klutziness’, she sighed.
“You got soda on my new boots,” Kristi chimed. “I’m sorry” Camille said quietly. “Can you do me a favor while you’re down there?” Kristi asked, a smile plastered across her face. “Can you please wipe that off”, she indicated with the toe of her shoe, the dark wet spot on the leather. Camille search about something to clean up with, and saw only her scarf. She reluctantly picked up the cream, soft fibers and wiped off the dampness. “Thanks”, Kristi snapped, turning to go, her sycophants close behind her giggling behind their hands.
Of a sudden, the audience that had gathered so quickly of the female student body, was gone. Everyone about their own business, and Camille was left alone again, invisible to everyone in her oafishness as she tried to mop up her mess. She worried her mother would be furious about the state of her new, beautiful birthday gift after such a short stint of wear. She’d worn it to school against her mother’s advice, thinking it fashionable. That perhaps it would get her noticed by Kristi and her friends, perhaps they’d have a reason to speak with her she’d wished.
Well, she’d gotten her wish- just not in the way she’d hoped. Wasn’t that always the way? “Be careful what you wish for”, her mother had often said, “you might just get it”.
She sighed again, standing up to gather her things, the janitor would have to deal with the rest of this, she thought regretfully. At the end of the hall, Kristi was rounding the corner towards their science classroom, and waved at her. Camille’s little heart fluttered, perhaps she was wrong, and Kristi did notice her! “Dear Gods”, she murmured, “I would give anything to be one of them…then my life would be perfect”.
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The horrified gaze emanating from Suzette’s liquid brown eyes, as the blue gelatinous goo dripped from the crest of her nose was haunting, etched into the back of Porsche’s mind. The prank seemed innocent enough, a slushy to the face after school- it’s didn’t hurt anyone. It washed off, and is was a good laugh. Sady and Kristi found it massively amusing, daintily stepping around the expanding puddle of blue raspberry mess oozing across the floor, having already soaked through several text books.
Sady had said it would be funny, making Suzette take herself less seriously. Why was she always studying so hard? All it did was make the normal kids look bad. She needed to chill. What better way- than with a cold, refreshing slurpy? The irony was certainly funny.
And yet, now she felt horrible, the humor of her action, thrown in the face of one she’d once called friend, cut off at the knees by the soul wrenching sadness that escaped in that one gaze. It ate at her. Gods it was so frustrating! Why was she unhappy? It was just a little ice and food coloring… But no amount of reasoning took the guilt away.
Porsche leaned back in the cushy desk chair, Gaga youtube channel playing on her computer in the background- forgotten by this self reflective state. She glanced at her wall, which had been quickly accumulating candid shots of her and all of her new friends. Amusingly enough, they all looked the same- same poses, same smiles, same angles, their good side, similar outfits- just different settings. All the perfect pictures of beautiful people- enjoying their beauty and each others company. So why did she feel so ugly?
Her photos constantly surprised her- how did she manager to friend such beautiful people? How did she look so beautiful? She could remember a time not too long ago when she’d never have considered herself even pretty. And Now- she was pretty and have beautiful friends too. Just as she’d wished, just as she’d been promised. So why wasn’t she happy? She slammed her fist down on her desk in frustration, jostling the pens in her metal pen holder.
“Camille- Don’t be so hard on your furniture honey” her mom popped her head into the open doorway, “what’s bothering you sweetie?”
“Nothing mom, I’m great!” her mom turned down the hall, shoeing socks- her cat off the clean laundry on the floor. “Oh,” she turned back, “I forgot to tell you. I saw Suzette’s mom at Freddies today… she seemed really upset… I guess Suzette had a bad day at school? You should give her a call.” Camille’s heart sank and she flushed with embarrassment and anger.
“Thanks for the advice mom, but BUTT OUT!” she yelled slamming the door. “Camille?” her mom called confusedly through the door. “I didn’t mean to upset you.” “WHATEVER MOM!” Porsche called as she slumped on the bed. “And it’s PORSCHE! How many times do I have to tell you??! Camille is a babies name!” “Ok, sweetie. I’m sorry” her mom murmured as she dejectedly walked away from her door.
Porsche idly picked up a sharpie- blacking out the letters on her binder with roughly sketched hearts. C- A- M-, she stopped and grabbed her scarf, wrapping it around her neck, they kept this house to cool. I- L- L- E. There 7 black hearts about her name. PORSCHE- much better. Much cooler. She shivered. God it was cold in here.