At some point, the most important thing was putting this book together. There were meeting, meetings upon meetings. Layouts. Representatives. And finally it fell in your lap. You had to get all the profiles, all the photos. On top of your GCSEs, on top of your applications.
And you loved it. Organising life, five years of your life, into a neat 100 page book was relaxing. Turned the chaos, and the confusion and the fear and the pain into something you could understand. One last thing to remember it all by. The girls you grew up with, fought with, envied, ridiculed. Laughed with, laughed at.
And 10 years on…you don’t recognise the faces.
And scarier still, you don’t recognise your own.
It’s almost as if, in making the book, you dumped all your memories in the pages and emptied out your brain. Or more, now that you’re away from it, out of that place where you perfected your shell, it seems like a dream. Did we wear those clothes everyday? Did we like it?
You look out of place in the photos. Uncomfortable. Your hair isn’t right, your uniform is too big. You move with such…shame and awkwardness. Like you’re in someone else’s house and you have to creep about so as not to disturb.
You wanted to be left alone. You wanted to be part of it but also away from it. You couldn’t handle it. Understand it. But you had to find a way to make it to the finish line.
So, you turned yourself down.
You turned yourself down, but not off. You’re right there, in all the pictures. Controlling it all. Monitoring it all. Recording it to analyse later.
But now it’s all gone. No. It’s in the book. No, the book is not the same. No, the book is better?
Isn’t it always?
You flick through the pages, a faint smile on your lips. A little unnerved by how distant it feels, a little relieved that it doesn’t mean as much to you anymore.