Challenge: Write a fictional biography with at least five clichés.
I looked at myself in the mirror on this Monday morning—something I thought I, to that day, could not do without shooing my freckles away. Not because they looked particularly ugly, no, they were the constellations that defined me! But just because I wasn’t the type of girl you’d like to see, even in a mirror. You see, Cheryl was the pretty one of Lakeview High. She was the reason why our school even existed, with her red lipstick, unending legs, and yellow and blue pompons she cherished like she cherished Josh. Josh—who was her new boyfriend, by the way—liked to call me names like nerdy or ginger, or his new invention: Shybye.
Shybye was this mean name given to me because of my inability to talk to people without making an awkward face, and bye was… well it was because, after my first kiss with The Man Unnamed, I ripened like a tomato and disappeared squealing a miserable “Bye!” to his face.
He was the one I wasn’t supposed to talk about. Mr Perfect. He had a reputation, and being seen with the nerdy Rose wasn’t part of it. And so, he dated Cheryl, who had no idea his bullying me was a way to hide what had happened between us. In the end, the rumours of me kissing Pimple Kevin from science class had spread, instead of the actual truth of locking lips with Josh the Football Star.
I should have felt hurt, but I didn’t. No matter how many times he mocked me or laughed at me in the halls, I would always remember the way he had looked at me before our kiss. And especially the way he had told me those three, forbidden words.
“I love you, Rose.”
I had laughed back then. I had turned red and run away.
High school wasn’t easy. My parents being in the middle of a heated divorce didn’t make it better. I looked at myself in the mirror on a Monday morning again, this time much later. It was at university.
I had turned from Glasses Shybye to this red-haired muse the guys from CompSci loved more than they loved LOL. Of course, I was the only girl in the class, so the competition was close to nonexistent. Jimmy always wanted to code with me, Bob really insisted on showing me his Star Trek figurines, and Cain, well, I finally ended up in his bed. Oh, how I wish I could forget that night.
This was why, when I looked in the mirror on this Monday morning, I literally burst out in tears. It happened when I saw the bruise on my arm. What had I gotten myself into? When Jessica, my friend over at Civil Engineering, had told me about her weird rough sex fantasy, I wanted to try. I had told Cain to choke me. I never thought he’d do it this hard. I looked over my bruise again. Everything burned between my legs, and I had trouble walking. I had no idea how I was supposed to feel, so I shrugged it off. A few weeks later, Cain got arrested for rape. It was Jasmine from Architecture, that poor girl, who had been lucky to have her neighbor save her before Cain could finish.
It was a whole different Monday: my first Monday at Google. It was just an internship for my thesis, but it felt like the rollercoaster of my life was about to take a deep dive. Screw everything. A new life was about to start. I wore a dress that matched my hair on that summer day. I was greeted by a bunch of Pimple Kevins who were supposed to show me around. They couldn’t get their eyes off my neck—or was it lower than my neck? Who cares! I was at taking a small step for my future career Google. When I told them I did cosplay, I think they peed a little. I guess they had never seen a girl into Star Wars before! To them, girls liked jewellery and football players. I liked diamonds and Deep Space Nine.
That Monday morning was when I met Josh. Wait a minute… Josh? Josh from Lakeview High, The Man Unnamed? How did he get here?
I was literally in shock. He still had his blond hair that curled perfectly at the nape of his neck. His eyes were still blue—how would that even have changed? Josh hadn’t changed. But I had. Would he still recognise me? Would he remember me?
“I never thought I’d see you again.”
He had looked at me in the eyes before taking my lips after that glass of red wine. Company events were great excuses to hook up with your hot-damn colleagues. Not for us. Josh had known from the first day I was Shybye from Lakeview High.
“Please don’t run away this time.”
It was Monday morning again, and I wore this long white dress I loved more than I loved this grandiose hotel. Father and Mother were here, despite everything else. He would walk me down the aisle, and she would sit there, looking at me with her aged teary eyes, proud of who I had become. Josh would stand there, underneath the arch of roses, giving me this look he had given me eight years ago before our first kiss. He would say his vows, and I would say mine. Then he would press his lips against mine and call me his, for the rest of our lives, here, in Lakeview’s Castle Hotel.