- Around Campus
- Around the Hub
- Opinions & Editorials
- The Week’s End
Longing. She longed for a life she knew would not come easily to her. Day after day she was forced into a routine she did not want, surrounded by people who would not want her if they knew who she really was.
She sat on the grass contemplating what could be if she were only brave enough to speak out. Alabama is a difficult place to speak out against the status quo. She had heard stories…gruesome stories of what happened to those who did not meet evangelical standards. Her eyes scanned the crowds of students loitering on the sidewalks long after the afternoon bell released them from the conservative vice that is southern public schooling.
Her eyes landed on a beautiful face in the crowd. The only face that mattered. James Pope. He had mischievous brown eyes, an intoxicatingly handsome smile, and every other cliché there is that meets a heroine’s love interest. He also happened to be her best friend. Could a story in high school be more tragic than falling for the best friend? Yes. It could. And her story was much more tragic. She couldn’t tell him the secret that had been eating her alive since before she could put a name to it.
Heaven forbid she tell her parents. Her father, a revered Reverend. Go figure. Her mother, the co-chair for The Lord’s Ladies: an assortment of women dedicated to serving the church and making sure the diocese stayed rid of sin.
Oh how she fooled her parents. They thought she was the perfect child. It’s funny how long one can put on a masquerade, but it does not come without consequence. The production she put on every day tapped her energy, mentally and emotionally. She had the scars to show for it.
She was suddenly disrupted from her thoughts as a silhouette outlined by the bright sun moved into her vision. It was James. He sat down on the grass next to her, closed his eyes, and leaned back, soaking in the sun. She waited for him to speak first.
“Are you going to sit here all day, or am I going to see you at practice?” he inquired. Right. Practice. Another charade that she put on to seem normal, but at a heavy cost.
“Yeah,” she replied weakly. “I’ll be there.”
“Good. I was talking to Hannah Blake earlier today and she told me there are going to be new recruits for the cheerleaders at practice.” He said it in a way an adult might try to entice a child with candy if they do their chores. She just struggled to not roll her eyes. She always liked the name Hannah…
Her thoughts were interrupted yet again by the presence of the silhouette blocking out the sun. James had stood up and put his hand out to help her up. She complied. He started to head towards the locker room but then turned back around, “Hey man, I forgot my history book in my locker. I’m going to go grab it. I’ll see you at practice, Andrew!”
He ran off. She flinched and suddenly felt like she was drowning. She couldn’t breathe. Man. Andrew. All part of a life she wanted to leave. A body she wanted to leave, and never return to. She envied caterpillars and their metamorphosis into what they were supposed to become. She could never do that. Never be what she felt she was down to her core, especially not here. She wanted to tell James more than anyone else, but she knew he would never speak to her again. She would lose him forever. One day. She thought to herself. One day I’ll transcend the fear of being rejected. I will tell him. I will be who I am meant to be.
Alexandra Mulligan ’18