It was easy walking through the rain this morning, because no one could see my tears. Just like every other day, I walk past one of the hall monitors with my invisible cloak on and nearly run into a bunch of Jocks who don’t even bat an eyelid at me, as they march around the school like they are the top players of the NFL. A group of girls twirling their hair and chewing their gym excessively nearly overpower me with the odour of their make-up and hairspray as they giggle at each other whilst I put my bag in my locker. They don’t even jump when I slam it shut. Making my way towards the swimming pool, none of the Goths, Geeks, or even the Band kids says hello. It’s been like this since I got here five years ago.
Only Lucien Borgia sees me.
Being on the swimming team suits me. Drill after drill for about 3 hours a day. Just the water and me. Survive how we know best. That's it Olivia. Focus on the water now. On the race. Block everything else out.
Torrential rainfall pounds against the windows, making the world all look wobbly, distracting me. A painful shiver runs straight through me as I catch a distorted reflection of myself in the glass. Alone, damaged. My hair never normally behaves itself to stay inside my swim cap like it is today, but maybe it's trying to help me keep it together. Gangly limbs all tied up in a Speedo swimsuit. I feel naked. I don't think I can race today. Rubbing the tops of my arms where it hurts from where I was held doesn’t help.I stand up and double check that my bruises can’t be seen but my skin colouring helps to camouflage them.
My shoulders ache right up to my head where I can feel a tight band clenching my skull. Everyone will be here soon. I close my eyes long enough to blink but jump at the loud click of the metal double doors being thrown open.
Here they all come, shoving their way through to the swimming arena for the last competition of the season, spreading out in all direction. Pupils of Westbourne Prep, clones in their uniforms, laughing and chattering, their shrill voices echoing through the expanse glass swimming hall, like screeching rats from the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Like an exodus. It's easy for them. They fit in, with their confidence, their friends. They all know who they are. When will I know who I am??