My eyes blinked open wearily, and almost immediately they squinted shut again. Ugh. I sighed and leaned against the extremely uncomfortable navy blue coach airplane seat. I pulled the stiff gray shade up from over the window and looked at the hot Hawaiian landscape escaping behind me as the plane sped through clouds towards the completely unglamorous life of Clovelly, England waiting for me upon arrival. I pulled a bag of chips and a compact mirror out of my carry on and winced when the screaming six-year-old behind me kicked my seat, causing the mirror to fly out of my hands and back onto the floor. I rolled my eyes and picked it up.
Looking in the mirror, I saw what I always saw. My thick blonde hair with natural red highlights was pulled into a ponytail that was slightly off-center. At fourteen years old, I was abnormally below the average height and weight, and one of the youngest kids in tenth grade. I glared at my reflection. The pale purple eyeliner around my wide, almond-shaped, startlingly green eyes was smudged. My lips had lost their glossy pink tinge from when I put the blueberry lip-gloss before I left had faded, and most of my concealer had worn off, revealing my flushed pink cheeks and constellation of pale freckles. There were deep black-and-blue shadows under my eyes from sleepless nights I spent in the woods or hidden in overturned, abandoned canoes left at the sandy beach. My PINK hoodie covered an old Hollister shirt and the bruises and cuts around my thin wrists, given to me by my mother, right after she told me about the boarding school for ‘troubled girls’ she was sending me to. Things got pretty rough, and I guess I don’t have the best temper, so next thing I knew; mom had my wrists in one strong hand, and an empty beer bottle in the other.
I turned the mirror over. Super-glued to the back of the oval compact was a blurry photograph of our family—right before my dad died and my mom turned into an alcoholic. I was about six. My thick hair, bright red in the picture, was pulled into two French braids just past my shoulders. It was Halloween, and I was dressed as a cowgirl. My front two teeth were missing from my wide white smile. Two days later, my superhero, doctor dad was submitted into the hospital after a jellyfish attack that appeared at the beach on a hot summer’s day, taking everyone at the beach by surprise. He was the only death. Ever since, my mother refused to take a job and got all of her money for booze and cigarettes by entering me into thousands of pageants and selling medical marijuana on the DL. Of course she wasted all of that cash as well. ;Hours later a crackly voice overhead announced we were beginning our descent. I sighed a breath of relief">Finally. I glanced in the mirror once more before sliding it into my pocket and was startled to see the look of terror on my face. I was nervous! As I looked out the window at the sight below me, I held my breath. I never thought I’d be so happy to be in a place in my life as I braced myself for what was coming.
Rules aren't the only things broken here...