I’m So Afraid

Video credit to HOLLAND

The party was loud, you couldn’t hear yourself think and were almost forced to get lost in the bass filling the space. People draped themselves on top of each other, holding drinks and shouting at each other over the music. The girls sat in the corner, laughing at their friends making fools of themselves in the centre of the room as they danced.

Could you call it dancing? Limbs flailing, running fingers through hair and grinding to the beat. The girls didn’t exactly consider it dancing, more of a pre-hookup stage of the evening that most people fell trap to.

A few boys across the room were eyeing the trio giggling and taking videos on their phones to humiliate their friends later. Each had thick shoulder length hair, and an outfit that seemed very inviting to the boys who had drank a little too much alcohol.

One girl moved away from the others, and a boy followed her down the hall. She stopped at the bottom of the stairs to the second floor, pulling out her phone and answering the silent call illuminating the dark hall.

“Hello? Yes mom, I understand. I’ll be home soon.” A long pause filled the air, like the room was holding its breath. “Okay, see you later.”

She quickly hung up the phone and turned around to go back to the party, shocked to see the boy standing awkwardly in the hall behind her.

“Can I help you?”

“No, sorry…I um…”

She shoved past him, wiping soft tears away as she joined the party again. Her friends noticed the change in her behaviour, and tried to comfort her. She shrugged off their attempts, instead choosing to simply leave the party.

She found an empty bathroom, locking herself inside and staring at herself in the mirror. Letting out a small chuckle, she pulled the wig from her head, ruffling her small curls before reaching into the small bag she kept with her and pulling out a smaller makeup bag.

Tugging a makeup wipe free from the bag, she began removing close to an hour’s worth of work. Her clothes went next, the pretty soft pastels replaced with a grey sweatshirt and loose jeans. She tugged on sneakers and gazed at her unrecognizable reflection.

It’s only temporary…never forget.

She had to repeat the phrase to herself as she walked home. Her footfalls were hard on the pavement, the increasing darkness around her made her anxious. No one can know.

Once she was home, she locked the door and sighed to herself before dropping her bag on the stairs as she removed her sneakers. Then a voice called from down the hallway.

“Where have you been mister?”

She closed her eyes before standing and making her way towards the voice.

“I was just out with some friends, don’t worry.”

“Nathaniel, I always worry about you.”

She rolled her eyes and bit her lip.

“Don’t bother mom, I’m fine. My friends are fine, you know them all anyways.”

“Doesn’t mean I can’t worry about my baby. You’ll always be the little boy I brought home all swaddled and helpless.”

“Yeah…I have to do some school work…talk later?”

“Alright honey, make sure you get it done on time.”

She climbed the stairs, shoving her bedroom door open and closing it firmly behind her. As she sat on her bed, tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she shoved the bag under her bed.

Gazing into her mirror across the room, she sighed and nodded to herself.

One day…they’ll see that I’m actually Natasha.

-EH

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