Thursday 31 October 2013

The Two of Me

by Sarah Harvey 

Looking back now, I am sure that my feelings towards Claire were quite misplaced and unreal; I looked upon the world with such narrow eyes. She was just so incredibly confident and talented that I could have cried, even though she concerned herself with superficial and frivolous issues. She created her own self-styled biosphere, and chose to let the world orbit aimlessly around her seemingly sophisticated life. I refused to show any bitterness towards her though, and what I saw of her ‘perfect’ world was what I accepted.

I suppose I became most aware of her true presence at our school formal that year. All the girls lashed out on the latest lipsticks, nail polish, hair and clothing accessories; the guys agonised over whether to ‘colour co-ordinate’ their tuxedos with their partners’ dresses, and to make sure the aftershave they chose wasn't too flammable next to a naked flame.

‘Did he ask you? Did he?!’
‘Oh my God, I can’t believe he asked her...’

The evening started off slowly, with brilliantly-coloured strobe lights blinding us all from every direction. A constant glow of luminous eyes blazed in a multi-coloured kaleidoscope of hues, and I was happily lost in the rhythmic sea of dancing corpses that bobbed around me. I felt security and protection that night; my friends around me, the high ceilings of the old school hall that engulfed us, and the towering iron gates that wrapped themselves around the school grounds... The safety of knowing we were all in a ‘perfect’ world.

Ironically, I had not seen Claire at all that night. For the sake of my own self-image though, it was probably better that I hadn't seen her – I was number one, I was the centre of attention, and I was having a ‘perfect’ time. 
During the course of the night I occasionally left the electrically-charged dance floor to search for the nearest bathroom, which always seemed so far away at the most critical moment.

I blundered out of the hall with my friends in side-splitting fits of laughter, as we shared secrets of the night.
‘Ohhhh, so he did ask you!’
But at around 10pm, I made my way to the bathroom on my own.

The air smelt so pure and fresh outside; a brisk breeze murmured softly through my long black dress, and I shuddered from the cool presence of the wind. As I reached the bathroom, I was suddenly aware of a distinct smell that was vaguely familiar... A sickeningly foul stench threatened the night air as a wave of emptiness swept over my body, but I shrugged off the feeling and proceeded into the bathroom.

I stood and looked in the cracked mirror; the image was distorted, ugly and scarred. A numb sensation ripped through my core, as the cold razor pricked my snow-white skin. I lent against the sink to steady my balance and watched the colour of my ‘perfect’ world drip slowly down the drain. I couldn’t stop my legs crumple beneath me and a blood-curdling scream bounced off the slippery crimson walls and echoed out into the clear, ebony night.

I don’t know why my head hit on blood-coloured walls so hard before I struck the cold, tiled floor.
I don’t know why hoards of people soon flooded out of the hall and into the bathroom just to stand over me with their dull, vacant eyes.
I don’t know why they shook my listless body and yelled:
‘Claire, Claire! Can you hear me Claire..?’
I don’t know why it happened the way it did. I don’t know why I wanted to destroy such a perfect world.

I never asked her. 

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