A short story by M S Clements
There was a time when I was a ghost and I’d wander the school corridors invisible to all. I mean, who wastes precious vitriol on a personality-free zone?
The woman I’ve become, puckers her lips ready for plum-pudding lipstick. With my ‘History with Agnes Blunt’ smile in place, I push open the door.
They jostle in line, heads craning out with admiring chatter and I see her about fifteen people back, waving a jewelled hand. Guess the Beauty Queen kept the rings then, if not the husbands. She elbows a woman next to her, one of her giggling acolytes. You know the sort, spitting acid insults at those all too visible nerds. She points at me.
D’ya know, It was the newbie who noticed me first, grinning over my schoolbook. He was untutored in the rules. Poor sod, how could he know not to approach the invisible?
On playing fields, he told me his future; football academy, scouts, agents and those eye-watering deals. I told him mine. He laughed. I smiled. We planned. We kissed.
Then Beauty Queen crooked her finger and whispered in his ear. For her, one new follower, while I was tossed back to follow my dreams, propelled by a broken heart and fuelled with tears.
Hard work filled my veins, acceptance and success fleshed me out, but from the internet shadows I cried when a weak tibia curtailed Beauty Queen’s dreams of becoming a WAG. Comfort came speedily for her with a divorce lawyer and beach-side house.
She stands before me, High Street tan, foundation filled wrinkles, all framed with chemical curls.
‘Marvellous to see you,’ she chirps, air kisses bursting by my ears. ‘We must do lunch. Who’d have thought it? You were such a quiet one.’
‘Thank you,’ I say, returning the autographed book. ‘I wouldn’t be here without people like you.’