She should have expected it, Mairead knew that. Every girl was the same. She thought she’d finally made a friend and then, when she looked around, they were joining in with those that branded her a freak and betrayed her the moment they got the chance. Of course, it wasn’t easy being who she was, and their petty jealousies and bitterness only made it harder. But she should have been used to it by now.
It’s only been, what, fifteen years now? Yeah, thinking about it didn’t really help. Mairead sat in the little booth and stared at the screen as though that might help. It didn’t. In fact, since the conversation was still up on the screen, it just made things worse. There it was – her argument in green letters on a black page, like an old-style computer monitor.
I hate this. I hate the fact that I can’t trust anybody. It’s been going on too long and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. Why can’t people just grow up and see that underneath the image they see on the outside, I’m really just a normal teenager that wants someone to accept me for who I am?
Completely out of sorts, she got up and walked over to the door of the booth. It was sealed tight, with no handle, but the moment she placed her palm against the smooth surface it swung open without a sound. That was technology, the sort of thing she could only afford because of who her mother was. But did she really need it? She could have lived more happily if her family were normal.
“Mairead, are you there?” Her mother was calling her from downstairs. For a moment she entertained the thought of not answering and listening to her parents panic while she snuck out, but knew before the plan had really formulated that she wouldn’t. For a start, if her mother wanted her to answer she would have to. And secondly, what was the point in sneaking out if she’d got no friends to meet up with?
“Where else would I be?” she replied, her words floating down the silver spiral staircase like leaves on a breeze, albeit rather reluctant leaves on rather a slow breeze. “I’ve got nowhere else to go.”
“You were planning to meet up with Ella, weren’t you? At seven o’clock. I wondered if you’d gone already.” It was only a quarter to six but their family seemed to have inherited a dislike of being late – certainly, she found it very difficult to stomach the thought of arriving late enough to have kept the other person waiting.
“It’s not happening. We – we had an argument.” There, she’d said it. There would be no keeping the cat in the bag with her mother around anyway, since Fay was far too good at telling when somebody was lying. Unnaturally good.