The silence was palatable. It was so thick that the clock in the corner and the ticking that was coming from it were almost like a booming drum. The two sat in that room, staring at each other. One was young. She looked to be in her late teens. Her outfit was a T-shirt and jeans. The shirt wasn’t very form-fitting. Neither were the jeans. They were baggy on the legs, also showing signs of having been worked in. Worn knees and old grass stains. This girl showed the signs of having done a lot of physical labor. Her small hands were rough, from years of being worked. Her dirty blonde hair was done up in a ponytail. Green eyes showed signs of not wanting to be there.
Across from her, there was a woman. She was dressed a professional blue shirt and black pants. Very conscientious of her. Dark brown hair that was done in a bun above her. The woman had a paper pad in front of her, where she seemed to be taking notes.
“So…there a reason why I’m here?” the girl remarked
“I think we both know why you’re here, Ms. Schmidt.
“Ugh, don’t call me that! I’m not my mother’s age.”
“Okay then, we both know why you’re here, Leanna.” The woman’s voice was so direct. It was slightly off-putting.
“Because my parents think that I’m a mental case. Real geniuses in that bunch.”
The woman gave her a cold look. “You cut yourself, Leanna. In a very serious way.”
“No, I didn’t cut myself. I purged an imperfection from my body.”
“A mole. You sliced a mole off of your body and had to get four stitches. You don’t think that that is worth talking about?”
She looked less confident. “Not really. People cut off moles and whatnot off themselves all the time. What makes what I did so strange?”
Taking a look at some notes. “Other people go to doctors and have trained professionals do that. They don’t take a razor and cut it off, along with a chunk of skin too.”
“The fucking thing was bugging me, alright?! It doesn’t help that pretty much every girl in gym made fun of me for it. So now they can’t! Now it’s gone. Good fucking riddance!” Her voice was cracking a bit. Not from sadness. There was anger, steeped up inside.
“You get made fun of?”
“You name it! ‘Why are you so skinny? What’s with the scars? You cut yourself? Maybe if you waxed your bush, the boys would like you!'” Her voice had adopted a condescending tone, laced with venom. “A thousand insults every day. Then there was that fucking mole. I got so many comments about it. So, I decided that I would show those cunts. Grabbed my dad’s razor and cut the whole thing off! One less thing for them to make fun of. When they aren’t make fun of my underwear. Yeah, I don’t wear slutty panties like them. I like to be comfortable. I guess that’s a lost art. My grandma had a word for women like that – who-res. They are a bunch of who-res.” The venom was practically dripping at that point.
More notes being taken. “You seem pretty good at dealing with criticism. Why does their criticism bother you?”
“It ain’t criticism! It’s them being bitches to whatever girl they mark as the omega. The bottom of the pack, who they can attack so they can feel better. Not physically, of course. Wish one of them would try.”
That got a raised eyebrow. “Why?”
“Because then I’d have an excuse to kick the shit out of them! I’ve been learning tae kwon do for years! One of those girls raises up to me and that’s the last thing she does. Then maybe the rest would back off enough to leave me alone.” The girl seemed to curl up on herself. She brought her knees to her chest and rested her chin on them.
The woman across from her took notes, then looked back up. “You seem to take a lot of them making fun of your body to heart. Why is that?”
A dark look at the floor for a few seconds. “Maybe it’s because I have to get naked in front of these bitches every day, just for it to be the Make Leanna Feel Like Shit Happy Hour. I swear, those people just wait to make fun of me.”
Another set of notes. “You don’t want to be naked in front of them?”
A snappy response. “I don’t want to be naked in front of anybody! I don’t want anybody looking at my body! I don’t want anyone talking about ‘mosquito bites’ and my pubic hair! What fucking business is it of theirs!?” More crawling into herself. The girl was trying to look tough. It wasn’t going especially well.
“Your history tells me that you’re involved in ice skating, learning martial arts. You must have had to change in places with people before.”
A little calmer. “That’s different. There, it’s people I know and trust. They don’t make fun of me. Not to mention, I’m top dog there! Nobody gives me shit when I’m on the ice! Anyone gives me hit on the mat and I can lay their ass out! Can’t do that at school.”
More looks through the notes. “It says here that you’ve gotten in trouble for fighting several times before. What changed.”
The dark look was back. “Mom threatened to kick me out if I got into fights again. I don’t exactly have anywhere to go, so yeah.”
“You think she’d do it?”
The girl gave her a look. “That cunt would sell me, if it could make me the perfect skater.”
A disingenuous look from the woman. “You don’t believe that.”
“Yeah, I do,” she snorted. “I’m not a daughter to her. I’m a vanity project. Her way for her to believe that she still matters. I get to hear, over and over, about how she never could do what I do. Yeah, like that makes it better. When I couldn’t compete anymore in skating, after my leg injury, she was so upset. I swear, it’s like the fact that I could have had my leg torn off didn’t matter. Even Dad looked pissed. Good on him. Wish I could put her behavior in its place.”
The woman looked right at her. “Wow. Sounds like you’ve had it rough.”
“Years of being told how I’m not doing good enough. No shit.”
“Does it hurt, not having your mom’s affection?”
She curled up tight again. “Maybe a little. It would be nice to know that I at least make her proud in some way. But nope. Just a lot of annoyance about how I am not doing well enough. And don’t even get me started about dating. ‘Why haven’t we heard about any cute boys you like?'”
That got the woman’s attention. “You aren’t interested in dating?”
“Not particularly. With skating, honor’s classes and tae kwon do, and helping Dad with the sheep and whatnot, I barely have time to think. Never crossed my mind.”
“Not unheard of. So, no boys who at least catch your attention? Maybe you don’t have time to date, but you must have at least thought about it.”
An awkward silence for a few moments. “No. Nobody.” Something about how she said it, she was holding something back. But what? And that’s when the woman noticed the clock.
“Well, I’m afraid that our time is up today. I’ll see you next week, Leanna.”
The girl got up. “Sure, whatever.” She grabbed her black jacket and put it on. The girl was so tight into herself. Like she didn’t want to feel exposed at all. It was kind of off, in a way that the doctor couldn’t put a finger on. She would just have to keep thinking about it.
Until next time, a quote,
“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Well, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until it’s faded. But trust me, 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.” -Baz Luhrmann, Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen