1: From One Girl To Another
Dear my beloved one,
How I have admired you for so long! Before we had even met face to face I was smitten. Since our first day at school, you may not have known me, but I certainly knew you. From afar I glimpsed your profile, bent studiously over wondrous illustrations, teaching yourself to draw in Eastern styles that I had once practised and never succeeded, far more capable than anybody I knew… Yet despite my competitive nature I did not resent you. In those fleeting moments that I chased my friends across the field, past your silent, serene window, I knew I had to meet you one day. As my arms wrapped around a companion, your face was emblazoned in my mind like the flame of a classroom Bunsen burner, the smell of incense.
In our first year you stood out of the crowd, not only because of your obvious Asian decent, but because of the sheer brilliance that radiated from you. Everybody would agree that you were the most intelligent, sharpest, mindful girl of our age group. And everybody was in awe of you for this… Despite the fact that I was far too shy and skittish to so much as smile and say hello, I completely worshipped your brains and work ethic. Nobody else could outshine you.
For two years I could only catch a few glances of you in the corridor, as we hurried to separate lessons. In dreams I would pursue you down these corridors, just as Alice blindly followed the White Rabbit down the Rabbit Hole, and twice as curiously. You were a source of constant interest; I wondered, “what is she thinking right now?”, “for what reason is she smiling in that endearing way of hers?”, “what would make her happy?”.
During PE I would dare to watch you from across the field, inwardly cursing that we could not learn and have fun together in any subjects at all. Of course, this was only when I knew you weren’t looking my way. Your hair would shine ebony in the radiant sunshine, but your smile was far to dazzling to compare with such meaningless things... Again, I would wonder: “what makes her so cheery in this sultry heat, why does she beam so gorgeously; when can I meet her?”
Friends came and went like the seasons: I found I could not get along with people so well… But in Our third year of education, an opportunity presented itself like a shooting star in the winter sky. My wish had come true! By chance, mere chance, our paths had crossed for the first time… and you actually looked at me!
At first I had thought the mistake in my new time table a petty annoyance, small but irritant. Nearly in tears I wandered through the empty corridors, ducking away from the short-tempered teachers and assistants that may snap at me for being out of class, in the wrong place. As I approached the language corridor up the marble staircase, I noticed a rake-like lady teacher point her bony finger at me.
“Ah, there you are,” she had said in her brittle voice, flashing her shark teeth at me in a disturbing grin.
She shoved me into the Spanish classroom where all eyes were trained on the newcomer. After handing me an exercise book, she said:
“Because you’re late — fifteen minutes late — everybody else has already been seated in register order. There are no spaces left under M,” her beady eyes glittered, “For now, you’ll have to sit at the end of the row, there, by X.”
I followed her finger and almost did a double take as I noticed the vacant seat was next to yours. Forgetting the stinging in my eyes, I sat down as fast as I could — embarrassingly so — and flushed a dusty, unattractive shade of beetroot.
“Hi,” you said, friendly, polite. I wouldn’t have dared to speak first, so I was relieved beyond measure.
“H—hello,” I smiled, waving a tense, raised hand. Sweat was gathering on my upper lip, but I continued. “I’m Ellie, it’s nice to meet you!”
And like a fool, I almost offered you my hand to shake, taking it back confusedly when I realised that the gesture was far too formal. Who would be interested in such an oddball?
Every Spanish lesson went like a dream. I found myself counting down the days until the next hour we would spend together, even if we did have to communicate in a foreign language. We worked together so well as a team, partners, that the teacher happily let us stay together. To separate us now would tear me in two.
As more doors opened, more lessons were unlocked for me, I realised that you weren’t as mysteriously rare as I first thought, just like that dewy-eyed doe I once found roaming the local park. Some lessons we were together, and some were were separate; soon we became acquaintances, perhaps even friends. All the teachers affirmed that we were good together, and my heart sang at parent’s evening as at least three had mentioned it to my mother and father.
Eventually I grew sick and weak, too afraid and poorly to set foot in school again for another few months. You were the last person I saw, and I was happy to note that you weren’t tempted to tease or irritated by those pathetic stuttering noises I made continuously; most of the time I was mute. For over a week I was almost entirely unconscious in hospital, the colour of lilies due to the amount of blood that was taken from me, and the fact that I hadn’t eaten for eight days. My parents thought I had a brain tumour, my paediatrician thought I was insane. Myself, I thought I was about to die; never before had I felt so ill, so close to death.
In that hospital I was so lonely, so afraid. Even school sounded tempting. I thought of running away from that place of pain and suffering, to smash through the ground floor windows and crawl barefoot all the way home to the neighbouring town. I could hardly see because of the splintering pain in my temples, those that didn’t vanish for weeks, but even then I wanted to find my way back to Southport in floral pyjamas.
Indeed, during those tedious weeks that I was away from education, my thoughts would sometimes come back to you and everything you said, everything you did. Propped up on my pillows, my agonised head would drift back to those Spanish classes, those humiliating but precious memories.
When I eventually came back I was a mess. I was behind on all the work, I had forgotten all the teacher’s names, and on occasion I had no idea where I was or what I was doing. Before my departure we had enjoyed Mandarin Chinese classes together, but now even that was hard work and something that required all my energy. Although I had suffered an injury to my brain, everything that everybody said — even pointless chatter — became an alien language to me. I soon shut down completely, silent within my own vanquished body, the reason that I had to move to a special school for six months, where all the other sick children lived.
Starting April one year later, I was back and almost well. Only anxiety kept me behind the rest. We were still good friends, I was ecstatic to find. Many of my other friends had moved on to other people, and would only say hello to me when they remembered I was there; but you were the only one I could hold a decent conversation with, no matter how silly and confused the things I said were. You didn’t make me feel ashamed for it, either.
When you permitted me to join you at lunchtimes I could hardly hide my excitement. Keeping a straight face was sheer torture. What I really wanted to do was jump up and down in happiness, fling my arms around your neck and kiss both your cheeks. And when you eventually asked me to join you on the daisy fields at break time, it took every atom of my being to restrain myself from squealing girlishly. All the pain in my body was forgotten.
We spent our breaks and lunches in solitude, only letting the few friends we shared together join us in the quiet room allocated for me. Together we would draw pretty maidens in frilly party dresses, the kind of girl I dreamed to be; also the kind of person I wanted to cherish and keep all to myself. You would sketch in the big, round, dewy eyes of an innocent child, and I would design the Lolita garments, bows and frills galore. Everybody in the past had said that my sense of style was eccentric and over-the-top, but you understood and enjoyed it, regardless of the tomboy I saw within you.
I suppose you could say that I loved you dearly from the very beginning, the very moment I laid eyes on you. For all these years I had kept these feelings in my chest, but when the opportunity arrived I couldn’t help but snatch it up although it were a cheque for millions of pounds.
Your locker was overflowing when we came to collect your books. Amusedly, you pointed out that it would be like a comedy if you opened it and a dozen or so love letters fell out, drowning you in paper and hearts. Of course, you added, that would never happen to me! But the next day, I waited with bated breath as you opened your locker to have ten enveloped letters fall down upon you.
Laughing, you took me outside and read each one individually, giggling at the ones I made deliberately humorous. Some were romantic, some were written although a narcissistic, self-absorbed, idiotic man had composed them. Each one was signed by “your secret admirer”. Even so, you showed all our friends in excitement and laughter, making me feel although I were the funniest girl in school.
Soon I found myself slipping even further in love with you. I was desperate, helpless, trying to climb my way out of something that I had fallen in too deep from the start of adolescence. We grew to be best friends, but even so I feared the day that I would say the wrong thing, give off the wrong, but so right, idea.
The day that we got lost together in the golfing fields and sand dunes surrounding my house was one of the best days of my life. As we were climbing hills you asked to hold my hand, something I would never forget. Your hand was so tiny and warm in my own clammy hand, holding mine in a loose, gentle grip. When you let go I awkwardly asked you if we could do it again, a big sand dune was coming up ahead.
Finally we found our way out of the endless, consuming sands, salt air and dogs barking in the distance. Because of my fatigue, you found a small wooden bench for us to sit on, hidden from all the golfers’ view by long thin wild grass and flowers. Sat so close to me — much closer than before, anyway — I could have placed my hand on yours in a heartbeat. And the only thing that was stopping me was the uncertainty. How would you react? Would you laugh in my face — “how could you actually believe I loved you back? Everything between us was a joke!”? Would you become angry, hit me?
I was so sure that there was something you wanted to tell me at this moment in time. You were silent, something you had never been before, being a talkative and friendly person despite telling me of your shyness. And whilst I was looking at the houses in the distance, I felt your eyes fixed firmly on me. I wanted to lean just that little bit forward and brush my lips against yours, tell you all the reasons I loved you for so long. It would be sweet and wholesome, light and soft, lasting only a few seconds so that I could test the water. But that huge doubt remained so strong that I could do nothing. After five minutes of pretending I couldn’t feel the heat of your gaze, I stood up and continued our little stroll.
This place became ours and ours only. I never took anybody else to where I go to be alone, and some days you would ask me: “when can we get lost again in our special place?” or “Please could you send me more letters?”
It is not faithless lust and the need for experimentation that draws me to you. I do not want your physical love that most teenagers engage in nowadays. Love that, although it may seem fun at the time — adult — will only end in tears. What I desire from you is something more, I have decided as I toss and turn in bed, fully certain that my love for you is no passing whim or infatuation.
I want our souls to entwine, become one, in spirit. For my heart to belong to you, and yours to lovingly belong in my care. In my most ethereal hopes and dreams, we are two girls and best friends, sharing joy and having fun together for the rest of our lives, through the bad and the good. Even through the darkest, most pitch-black moments we shall undoubtedly go through, it will be you I shall turn to, my source of forever sunshine in days of endless rain. Just one twitch of the corners of your mouth will convince me that the world is not all corrupted and malicious.
What I request is the innocent, pure kind of love, the type we all think of in our reverie. Walks in the summer fields, hand in hand, is all that would make me brim over with adoration. If my lips were to touch your delicate, dainty hand in a display of pure adoration, would you loathe it? Would you laugh? Would you become enraged? To anger you would be to make everything come crashing down, my love.
To lose you would be to lose myself, my heart. Love is a stranger to me... Never before would I have thought I'd fall for another girl, but can the organ in my fluttering chest lie?
And when we finally break free from this dungeon we call school, the drudgery and teasing everyone must endure, I wish to be by your side. Even if oceans should separate us, I would think of you each and every day. Constantly. How can I bear to lose you to higher education! Education, source of my torment! Despite the sheer hell I go through at school, I wish to remain, just so I may lay eyes on your beaming, lovable face.
You are my best friend and first love, tell me this, can I make you happy, can you be my equal in pure adoration? Will we always be together? Can you let me love you? The heavens inside my heart and mind will sing with joy at the prospect. Please be mine.
Your secret admirer.
2: I wish I were a Boy
Trapped in an all-girls school, prisoner of femininity.
I love a girl and she hardly knows;
I am a joke, something to giggle at on rainy days,
When all attempts of recognition are futile…
Cut off my swelling breast, I no longer want you
To be a reminder of my sex,
No life; pretending to be normal, girly.
Vanquish my curves, in the mirror they are ugly, female
Disastrous stretch marks, continuous growth,
Childbearing hips just like my mother.
Curvaceous, voluptuous danger in the dark, soft round face,
Angel lips, wishing to find another girls’ in pure love,
Wish to be straight, normal, flat.
I am not soft and supple,
Nor kind and gentle.
I should be male,
The destroyer, not the creator…
Seeing other boys walk down the street, I wish to strangle them
With my own Rapunzel locks, wrap around their throats, squash the
Adam’s apple; after all, I do not have one of those.
Cavernous jealously, hands like the claws of a sea monster,
That I could wrap around her lily neck.
Do not love him, my best friend,
Join me in madness