Damn you thighs. I tried hovering my legs above the ground slightly. Anything to make them look thinner. Anything to stop them from expanding the way they always seemed to, anything to stop the repulsive fat from spilling over onto the bench of the bus stop. As I caught the crimson stain on my faded jeans, I watched it grow bigger before my very eyes, just like the insecurity, the self-consciousness that invaded me every day, strangled my happiness, trapped my freedom. My hand found a rip in the denim, shielding my pale skin from the autumn wind. Countless cars were at a standstill on the road before me – rush hour, all the more pairs of eyes, watching, staring, judging. I made an attempt to flatten out my hair, feeling the harsh knots as my fingers got stuck in the curls. As I stood up to check the time the next bus was coming, I made sure to suck in my stomach as far as it would possibly go. It never went in far enough. Never as far as the other girls. I envied their flat stomachs, their effortless abs. I noticed a boy about my age sitting at the next bench over. Feeling his eyes pore through me, I sat back down again. Cheeks burning, palms dampening, I ignored his gaze, wishing more than anything that he’d stop staring. He didn’t. I could hear the judgemental thoughts spinning around his mind; feel the disbelief in his eyes. I brought my hand to my face, rubbing my eye as if to force back the tears that wanted ever so desperately to dampen my cheeks. My bare eyelashes fluttered - I’d forgotten I wasn’t wearing any makeup. Ashamed, I hung my head, going over every flaw, every slight imperfection, jabbing an agonisingly large hole through my already broken heart.
Car honks exploded from drivers that grew more and more frustrated at the lack of movement on the road. I waited for the bus, tapping my foot on the ground to count the seconds that went by. She was the only other person at the bus stop. It was her shoes I saw first – original, quirky. As she stood up, I eyed her full figure. A yawn escaped my mouth and tears blurred my vision. As I blinked them away, I couldn’t help but stare. She was beautiful. The lack of colour in her clothes was such a contrast to her pale face, her fair skin. It dazzled in the late afternoon sunlight. She sat back down and my eyes followed the line of her hips as I imagined the curves underneath the black leather jacket she wore. She looked down as if in discomfort, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Not yet. My gaze got lost in her curls, each strand of her chestnut hair hiding a different secret. She looked like a girl who had many secrets, little things locked up inside – things she never told anybody. The lack of makeup on her face was surprising, yet refreshing. She stood out from the girls with carrot-like skin and eyes that were painted so black they looked burnt. She’d stand out anyway. There was a sense of uniqueness about her, something that made me desperate to initiate conversation, but something that trapped the words in my throat at the same time. Eyeing her jeans, I admired the rips and tears – they symbolised adventure, spontaneity. As I watched on, I could feel her trembling. The slight glimmer of a single teardrop forming in her eyes caused mine to find the ground again. She didn’t look at herself with pride. And, for just a brief second, I was overwhelmed with the wish that she could one day see herself the very same way I saw her.