PLease remember I live in England, so I will probably get some details wrong. Know matter how much my American friend explains it, I will never understand the difference between a sophomore and a freshman, whatever they are.
On Tuesday the thirteenth of May 2008, I opened my eyes, and saw what I had become.
I was sitting with Regina, Karen and Gretchen at our table in the cafeteria. Gretchen was trying to explain what Jason had done now, but I was the only one listening; Regina was working out the carbs in her panini on a rhinestone studded pocket calculator, and Karen was trying to catch the eye of a guy over at the next table.
"And then he said he loved me, but I swear I saw him with Taylor Waddell the other day, but I can't confront him about it, because what if it wasn't him?"
I nodded, hoping I looked sympathetic.
"Don't let him get to you Gretch. He's just some wanker who doesn't appreciate you and is totally not worth it."
Gretchen cocked her head.
"What is 'wanker'?"
I almost laughed, because I remembered what Jeremy Clarkson said about Americans. '500 million wankers living in a country with no word for wanker' but I almost cried too. They didn't have Jeremy Clarkson here. And I didn't talk about him, or anything from my old life in London. In a flash I saw myself as I was now, just another tall girl in Abercrombie sitting at the queen bee's table. The only thing that set me apart was my accent. If I didn't speak, I would fade into the crowd. How had this happened?
"It's like a really stupid person"
"Is peanut butter fattening?"
Everyone lapsed into silence as Regina spoke, and for the first time in months; a dormant part of me screamed out This is stupid! This is so fucking shallow I could puke!
"Yeah, I think so." I said.
Why do you even know that! Six months ago you didn't know anything like that! What's happened to you! I was screaming at myself, screaming so loud, I was amazed the others couldn't hear me.
Thankfully the bell rang then, and we all got up to go to lessons.
"I'll see you guys later, luv ya!" Regina blew me a kiss and flounced off towards her classroom, short skirt bobbing. I looked down at the flamingo coloured Abercrombie tank top I had on, and wondered what it was doing there. I didn't wear things like this, I wore bold printed shirts and quirky accessories, bowler hats and hippy lace headbands. I didn't even recognise myself anymore. Vaguely I wondered where the last months had gone, and how I hadn't noticed the change. It scared me that something like this could happen without me noticing. What would happen to me next? Well, this had to stop.
My next lesson was English Lit, which had always been one of my favourite subjects, but as I tried to remember previous lessons, I realised with horror that I hadn't been interested at all, never putting my hand up to ask a question or volunteering to read.
We were reading Romeo and Juliet, and we had reached scene four.
"Now" asked Miss Erickson "who would like to read the famous Queen Mab speech?"
I raised my hand, knowing I had to correct the changes that the Plastics had wrought on me. The entire class turned to stare.
"Evie? Yes… alright, you read dearie"
The expression of pleasure on her face made me happy, and I started to read.
"O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners' legs…"
To my horror, I found that I actually had to think to remember the meanings of every phrase, instead of them dropping easily into my head like they had done before, but after a while, I felt it coming back. I loved this speech, geek that I was, no, had been. I missed my geekdom.
When I finished, the boy behind me started to read Romeo's next line. He read well, clearly and slowly, but with just enough emotion so it didn't sound robotic.
"Thank you Evie and Jake" Beamed Miss Eriksson. "That was lovely"
When I got home, I cleaned out my wardrobe. Thank God I was the type of person who never threw anything away. My old clothes were still stuffed at the back of the drawer. I chose a red leopard printed knee length prom skirt with a black netting underskirt, a grey cropped tee-shirt with Mickey mouse's face on it, and a black waistcoat, and laid them out for tomorrow. Suddenly I remembered that tomorrow was Wednesday. On Wednesday we wore pink. I opened the wardrobe again to search for a pink outfit that was more me, then closed it again.
Fuck it. I didn't want to wear pink.
So I didn't wear pink.