Mairead Lucke

I turn my head so you can only see my good side. The side where my chin is more defined. The side with the slightly bigger eye, clearer skin, sharper eyeliner. 
I hope you like bold eyeliner. The way I did it this morning always causes me to stare at my own reflection a little, to smile at myself before I leave the house. Maybe you’ll smile at me too. Do you like girls who wear eyeliner? How about dark lipstick? Do you prefer natural girls?
What’s your type? The pretty girls that bask in the summer sun? How about those who wear lacy skirts and dye their hair? A girl who wears chunky headphones and collects vinyls? One who will go to the gym with you? I’ll try each one until I know which you like the most, a chameleon of your wishes. 
I flash my largest smile. I brushed my teeth for four minutes this morning with mounds of toothpaste. I flossed. I gargled. I scraped the back of my tongue until I gagged. I flossed again. 
I smooth out my short skirt and cross my legs. I went to a tanning salon this weekend, so they’d glow. I shaved until I bled. I spent two straight hours on the leg press. I didn’t even realize how much time had passed, because I only thought of you. When I stood up, I pretended you were guiding me so I wouldn’t fall over. But after everything, you don’t even notice. Am I not tan enough for you? Not strong enough? Too strong? Tell me what I did wrong. 
I inch my hands closer to yours. I’ve always been told that I have pretty hands. What do you think?
I should’ve painted my nails. The light pink nail polish I bought last week would be perfect. There’s nothing prettier than the rosy satin of ballet slippers. Unless there is. Maybe you’d prefer red. Lavender. Black. Hot pink.French tips. Orange. Olive. Glitter. Black. Sage. Amaranth. Blue. Dark blue?Light blue? Cerulean or navy? Periwinkle or cyan? 
Your hands are pale, bare, empty, fragile. Let me protect them. They look cold. I can see your veins. Let me hold them. 
You peer down at the deep blood-red garnet ring that sits on my left pointer finger. 
I’m suddenly aware of the burn on my pinky. I silently curse myself for this imperfection. 
 It’s from curling my hair this morning. I scorched my hair into ringlets for you. And you haven’t given them a glance. 
Keep your eyes on the ring. Don’t let them drift over to the burn. Watch how the gold encases the garnet, how the ornate leaves decorate the band. How it’s striking against the fiery warmth of my hand. Ignore how they shake. 
Watch me. Look into my eyes. 
I could fall into yours. They’re the blue of a cloudy sky with an all-enveloping fog that wraps you whole and leaves moist kisses on your skin.Last summer, I stood over a cliff in Ireland and stared out at the misty coastand screamed your name. Instead of water and sky, all I saw were your eyes. 
You touch the garnet. It shifts in its casing. You say it’s beautiful.Maybe I should buy a shirt that’s the same shade of red. 
In that case, you should surely just take this ring, shouldn’t you? Place it on your left ring finger, marvel at its beauty. Marvel at my own beauty. I’d like that. Quite a lot. Would you?
I stare at you in silence. You turn away. I let a small smile creep onto my face. 
Today has been successful. I shall repeat it all tomorrow.

Mairead Lucke is a sixteen year old writer from Southern California, and she enjoys writing (and reading) everything from poetry to plays. Mairead is a mentee in the program WriteGirl, where she works with a mentor. When she's not hunched over her keyboard or notebook, she can often be found in her local theater, either onstage or behind the scenes, particularly on the wardrobe crew. She most recently played as Belle in her high school theater department. 

"The Chequers ring closed to hide the portraits of Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I" by lisby1 is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!