Life of a Modern Teenage Girl
My Name is Chloe.....
I am fifteen. Sometimes I wish I was five, like my little sister. Her life is so uncomplicated - all she does is laugh, whinge and play. When she falls out with her friends, it's all sorted out ten minutes later. No grudge; no resentment; no complicated drama. Why can't it stay that way?
Sometimes I wish I was 40, like Mum. If I was, I wouldn't always be moaning. Stressing about tidiness; money; brain-rotting computers. Come on, she doesn't know how lucky she is. She's free; she answers to no one. Except her boss twice a week - not quite the same as thirty two hours of stinking school. To put it in perspective, she gets up in the morning, makes two packed lunches and puts the dishwasher on....exactly how hard can that be?
I hate school. Last week I liked it, sort of. Last week I was one of the Cool Girls, hanging out with Molly and Amy and Sian, just like always. We used to call ourselves the Quads and everyone wanted to be friends with us. We painted our nails all the same colour, like a best mates code. Now they are calling themselves the Triplets and I am out in the cold. I'm just like Linda Bean, the most unpopular girl in our year. At break, she even sat on the wall near me and tried to catch my eye - a fellow Billy-No-Mates. And not a single person spoke to me. I pretended I was busy on my phone; that I didn't care, but really I was burning inside. I was burning from all the eyes that I could feel on me, even when I wasn't looking. They were all standing in their little crowd, making snide remarks and laughing. Molly kept going on about 'traitors', in a really loud voice so she knew I could hear. Then I got that text that said 'You Bitch' and they totally cracked up like a coven of evil witches. They've already cast their spell, by telling everyone else not to talk to me. In double science every single girl acted as though I'd got a contagious fatal disease - all except for Linda Bean who asked if I'd got a spare pen. After games both my shoes were missing and I found them outside in the bin.
So here I am, lying on my bed staring at my poster of The Wanted. Even they don't lift my mood. I should be doing my homework. But homework is not important in life - I mean, who is really going to care how much I know about the mind of Vincent Van Gogh? He was mad anyway, so not exactly a good role model. And how can I concentrate with all this stuff going on? With the flick of a switch, I've gone from being quite popular to completely friendless. Anyway, I'm not even going to school tomorrow. No way. I'm not putting myself in the firing line for another day of humiliating alienation, like a joke in a hellish freak show. When Mum calls me in the morning, I'll put on a face and tell her I'm sick. Hopefully, I really will be. Maybe I won't ever go to school again. Or maybe I'll go and live with Dad and Dopey Jane, who thinks morris dancing is a good way to spend a Friday night and that wearing false nails turns you into a shallow diva. No, I take that back - I could never live with Jane, not in a million years. She hates me and I hate her. And Dad lives in the country where there's nothing to do.
The smell of spaghetti bolognese is wafting up the stairs. I'll eat half of mine. Mum heaps so much on the plate, and I need to lose half a stone. This girl in Year 8 got sent to hospital for eating toilet paper instead of lunch - she was really thin, but that's just gross and dangerous. She passed out in games. Still, I am fat - fat like a big pregnant pig. My stomach sticks out and my thighs are too chunky. Mum says I'm not fat, but I know I am. The mirror never lies. Mum doesn't know anything 'cos when she was young the 'pear-shape' was in, but no one wants to look like that now. The other day I tried on some skinny jeans in TopShop and my legs looked ginormous, not all long and thin and glamorous, like they did in my magazine. I spent weeks lusting after those jeans, then when I tried them on they looked naff. Amy has really thin legs. And better jeans. And loads of boys like her, even if she is a right cow. Molly has the longest legs in the whole year, and Sian is just really petite. It's only me who's got legs like an elephant, hair like old string and and a stomach that won't go flat, even if I do two hundred sit-ups and give up eating. Not only am I friendless, but I'm fat and ugly as well.
Usually, when I get home, I log straight onto Facebook. Today there's no point, since I am the one that everyone hates. I'm too scared to log on, 'cos I'll bet a million pounds that someone has written bitchy stuff about me. Either that, or everyone has deleted me. Or posted a stupid pic of me, the most embarrasing one they could find. And all because of a stupid boy - a boy I don't even like. At least, not like that.
When I asked Molly what was wrong, she wouldn't admit that it was all about Joshua Bentley, but I know it is. The first day she stopped speaking to me, I went up to her in the canteen and asked her straight out if it was because of Josh. She didn't even answer, just linked arms with Amy and Sian, raised her eyebrows and said 'Did anyone hear that noise?'. Molly stood on my foot as they pushed past, stamped her toes down really hard, then they all went and sat at a table in the corner. That day, I really felt what it was like to be someone like Linda Bean - only Linda Bean has had to put up with it for years and years.
Whatever Molly says, it all started when Joshua Bentley asked me out. I wasn't expecting him to; didn't even know he liked me. Maybe I should have realised - all that time hanging around near him with Molly and the others, surely there must have been some clues? He did ask me if I was going to see the new Twilight film, but that was all. Anyway, I thought he meant all of us, not just me. But two days later he asked me out.
I said no. I mean, Josh is quite nice, with his floppy hair and crinkly eyes - far better than most of the boys at school. I'd just never thought of him as boyfriend material. Mainly, that's because of Molly. Molly has been besotted with Josh for weeks; she's always flirting and giggling near him. But in the end he asked me out instead. Molly was my very best friend in the whole wide world - she was like my sister. We talked about everything together - no way would I ever jeopardise that over a boy. Best friends are forever - at least, that's what I thought. But Molly didn't see it that way. She decided I'd led him on, and now she totally hates me. I may as well have died. If I did die, they'd probably all just laugh and refuse to come to my funeral. Tomorrow, everyone is going to Lucy's party and I'm not even invited. Mum will wonder why, since she works with Lucy's mum. I hate it when she starts fussing.
The spaghetti bolognese is ready. I have to leave the sanctuary of my room to sit oppposite Maisie who kicks me with swinging legs.
'Can't you stop that?' I glare at her.
'No,' says Maisie, and carries on. She is just so annoying.
I pick at my dinner. I don't feel hungry. And I'm trying to lose half a stone. Mum keeps looking at me under raised eyebrows and I know I'm about to get grilled.
'Chloe, why the sulky attitude? Is everything alright?'
'Yeah. Why wouldn't it be?'
'Well, you're very quiet tonight. And actually I was talking to Lucy's mum at work and....'
I tell her to shut up. She purses her lips in the way of a struggling martyr and busies herself with Maisie's dinner. If she thinks I'm difficult, she should take a look at some of the other kids at school. Half of Year 10 get hammered every weekend and drinking isn't all they do. And Ben Simons, this kid in my maths class, invited his mates to a house party via Facebook - except, three hundred other people turned up and trashed the place. Completely. They even dressed up in all his parent's clothes and posted videos of themselves singing 60s songs on YouTube. So I actually think that Mum has it good.
'Actually, Chloe, I was wondering.... I thought you might be able to look after Maisie for an hour or two tonight?' She looks down at her dinner as she says it and a tense pause engulfs the table.
'Why?' I already know why, but I don't want to make it easy for her.
'Well, you know, Dan fancied giving the pub quiz at the Rose and Crown a go. The prize is fifty...'
'I'm not looking after Maisie. I'm busy.'
'You are not!' Maisie loves sticking her nose into everything.
'How would you know?'
'Well, 'cos you just spend all your time lying on your bed staring at the wall. I saw you. I spied on you and made a video of you. I am actually going to be a spy when I grow up.'
This time, I kick her and she cries. Mum gives me a look but refrains from flying off the handle. After all, she still needs me to babysit.
I do not like Dan. He is a weird hippie type who plays guitar in pub gardens in the summer to make everyone look at him. Well, he is ok, I suppose - apart from being a show-off and having bad taste in music - but I don't like him seeing my mum. There's nothing really wrong with him, it's just that I am not open to anyone invading our home and squeezing their way in. I already have a dad, even if he is an idiot who ran off with a morris dancer. Nobody else has the right to try to slip into his place. Nobody has the right to try to give me advice on my life, especially someone who waltzes in when I am already fifteen. If I argue with Mum, he gives me a look - a don't argue with your mother kind of look. He's got no idea - he doesn't even know me.
Dan and Mum have only been seeing each other for two months. He is her first boyfriend since Dad left, which was ages ago. Mum didn't even tell us for three weeks, then when she did she was really flustered and knocked her coffee off the table. I want her to be happy, I just don't want to be involved. I don't want anyone else in my house. He soon got round Maisie, by buying her a Barbie doll, but I am not so easy to persuade.
In the end I agree to do it for a fiver. She tries to talk about Lucy's party again, and asks if Molly is going. I shrug and carry my half-eaten plate of bolognese back to the kitchen. Mum knows something is wrong - after all, Molly and I have always been as thick as thieves. But she knows better than to push me. I can feel her eyes watching me leave the room; I can sense her unspoken questions. I just do not want to discuss my life with her.
I am dragging my feet back upstairs to numb my mind with TV, when my mobile phone starts ringing in my room. Usually, I rush to greet it. Tonight I am apprehensive. Still, I find myself hurrying anyway. Me and my precious Blackberry (a guilt-ridden present from Dad) are joined at the hip. I can't help it.
My phone tells me Molly is at the other end. Against my will, my stomach tightens. It has been a whole four days since Molly spoke to me, unless you count the 'bitch' text message. I don't know what she wants - really, I should ignore her but I don't.
'Hello?' I put on an airy, don't care voice.
'Chloe? It's me! Got something to tell you!' She sounds all bouncy and ordinary. No mention of the hell she has put me through all week. No 'sorry Chloe, it's me who's the bitch'.
'What?' I am cagey and suspicious and try to act as though I hate her.
'Ella Dean is pregnant! Really!'
Ella Dean is a girl in our form. A mousey girl who never goes to parties and always does her homework on time. For a moment I forget that Molly betrayed our friendship.
'Ella? Really?' I cannot imagine having a baby. I think it would be horrible - even worse than babysitting Maisie all the time. And Ella being pregnant means she has been all the way with that geeky nerd from the year above.
'Yeah! What a dark horse, eh? I couldn't believe it either! Hey, d'you wanna walk with us to Lucy's party tomorrow? I just spoke to Luce. She said me, Amy and Sian could sleep over, and you of course...'
Molly and I chat until Mum comes in to tell me she is ready to go out. I can see she is pleased that I am finally talking to a friend. I am just relieved I am longer ostracised; that I am not like Linda Bean after all. I am back in with the 'in' crowd, as instantly as the flick of a light switch. A weight lifts off my shoulders and I go to look after my sister. I might even do my 'Van Gogh' homework. I won't have to play with her then.
This hub is entirely ficticious and is designed to explore the thoughts and issues of today's teenage girls, including friendship problems; parental separation and insecurities over image.
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