Chapter 1: Everyday I Fight A War Against The Mirror

"Hey Ellie," Ashley Kerwin said, coming up next to her best friend as they walked down the halls of Degrassi Community School.

"Hey, Ash," Ellie replied, watching her feet as she walked.

"What's up?" Ashley asked, with concern in her voice.

Ellie shook her head. "Nothing," she said. "I'm just really tired that's all."

"Studying for Kwan's test?"

"Yeah."

"So was I."

"Yeah," Ellie replied. That was all she felt like saying. She got a call from her dad, he wouldn't be coming home for a while and she missed him like crazy. But she thought it would be kind of strange if he did come home, she was so used to her mom's daily ritual—drink until she passes out on the couch, wake up the next morning with a blasting headache, throw up until she can't puke anymore, and then starts all over with the drinking. She was worried about her mom. But she was glad she talked to the school counselor and had her co-op job to look forward to every afternoon.

"You sure you're ok, El?" Ashley asked.

Ellie looked up at her and nodded. "Yeah," she said. "Yeah, I'm just fine."

"Ok," Ashley replied, she wasn't sure if she should believe her best friend or not.

Ellie could tell that Ashley was having a Shakespearean battle inside her head—to believe Ellie or not to believe Ellie, that is the question. "I promise," she said. She even forced a smile to spread across her face.

Ashley smiled. "Ok," she replied. "I got to get to class."

"Ok," Ellie said. She watched as Ashley took off down the hallway to class. Ellie ducked into the bathroom and stopped as she saw Paige Michalchuk and Hazel Aden reapplying make-up.

Paige looked at Ellie, up and down in the mirror. Ellie knew that Paige—like the others at Degrassi besides her best friends, Ashley and Marco del Rossi—was judging her by her outfit. She also knew about Ellie's cutting a while back. Paige had talked her into seeing the school counselor and she was grateful for that. But after seeing that Ellie was ok, Paige went back to being Paige.

"Come on, Haze," Paige said. "Let's get to class."

Hazel nodded and she and Paige left.

She's like a dog on a leash, Ellie thought. She does whatever Paige tells her to.

Ellie turned and looked into the mirror. Her reflection stared back at her. She sighed. She hated the way she looked sometimes. Especially today, the washer had broken down so she had to wear the same clothes that she had worn earlier that week, not too mention when she was walking to school she slipped and fell into a mud puddle. Today's just not your day, Ellie, she thought. She sighed and looked at her reflection.

"Hey, Ellie," her reflection seemed to say. "On the other side of this mirror my life is perfect! It's a lot better than yours is."

Ellie blinked and looked at the mirror.

"Have you given it a thought," her reflection was talking to her now. "That maybe you turned Marco gay?"

Ellie shook her head and turned away from the mirror. "Have you thought maybe your parents don't really love you?" the reflection shouted.

Ellie's muscles tightened. She turned and the reflection was smiling an evil grin. "Sh-" she started but then she shook her head. She was going losing her mind. She closed her eyes and realized that she had been daydreaming as she leaned over the sink staring at her reflection.

The bell rang and she turned and ran out of the bathroom and ran to class.

Everyday she fought a war against the mirror…