Nasrin

#NASR-0B-BEAUTY

It’s All Relative to the Size o’ Your Steeple

I

Right round this time it’d always clutch Nasrin by her eye stems. ’Twas full o’ empty promises.

She felt as if ’twere the only way she could have an appearance — the only reason. Certainly nobody else was going to note it in any other context.

But as she stared into herself with the wide eyes o’ wonder & confusion, she felt as if the mirror had flipped back on her. She could hear it now hounding her on her narcissism. & this did dampen her wonder; though she felt a great desire to wonder. She also felt the inkling that maybe she shouldn’t. It felt blasphemous, a bastardry.

But then, that only made it feel a li’l better on the other end. She was actually quite fond o’ stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk — so long as her well-being wasn’t @ risk, ’course. But nobody needed to know. She was going to the bathroom, & there was no way they could disprove her.

OK, so now she was here. ¿What was there to glean? ¿Should she smile? No, that was unnatural, & unnatural emotions tired her. Sometimes school staff & other students asked her why she ne’er did it, & it unnerved her into ’scape. ’Sides, she didn’t like how smiles looked; they were garish primary colors in a 24-bit-color world. ¿& why did they want her to smile? ¿What secret motives lay ’hind smiling? ’Twas like being told to say something in an unknown language & wondering whether ’twas secretly pledging allegiance to a totalitarian regime she didn’t know.

The design was always a choice that revealed one’s deepest aesthetic philosophy. E’en the decision to not alter one’s design was a choice. There was no silence for her. & like philosophy, there was nothing new under the moon, no idiotic defenses o’ being a special snowflake — ideas which were, themselves, utterly unspecial. Like art, there was no variety without a pattern by which to contrast.

She wished she could say that every part o’ her design was conscious, careful planning, but most was just intuition, like most art. Like surrealist art, everything seemed arbitrary, but everything had a historical context that ’splains it. The glasses were obvious: he weak eyes needed them to see. If she recalled, the single earring — a clip on, since she was obviously too cowardly to puncture a real hole in her lobes — was found on the floor in some mall or something & for some reason she always insisted on keeping it on, e’en when sleeping or showering. Indeed, she was so used to it that she had to be reminded by its image before her that it existed @ all. The 1 exception she could remember was when some asshole swiped it. They were always trying to do it — destroy her memories, the only things she had. They would ne’er pay for their crimes, either, which was the wickedest.

She had gotten the eyeball T-shirt just round starting secondary school, & since she hardly e’er grows, it still fit her, & would probably fit her for years onward. ’Twas still big, too, reaching far past the waistline, with short sleeves that went down to her elbows.

Now that she thought ’bout it, she was quite certain she’d gotten her dark gray plaid — ¿Was that what the uneven pattern o’ lines were called? She didn’t e’en know — the same place, the same time.

In the darkest corners o’ her mind, she acknowledged that she probably liked such big, roomy clothes ’cause ’twas boyish. ’Twas an aesthetic preference she didn’t choose, or so her father would assert, & he was probably right in this case, ’cause he was surely right ’bout people believing humans & dinosaurs coexisted being stupid. That was the problem with him: he did seem rather smart, which only made her worse, since she knew he was embarrassed by her. She didn’t dare let him know ’bout this scene. Despite the natural origins, if he found out ’bout the reasons ’hind her proclivities for T-shirts & sweat pants, he’d find her depraved. That’s what they always did: make evil everything that made her happy. ¡& they wondered why she ne’er smiled! That they would ne’er pay for their wickedness was the criminalest.

She’d snatch sights o’ the authentic variety in such boyish apparel, their T-shirts wrapping wide round them, their sweats sagging out in many directions. The extra air only seemed to better hint what they hid in there. Plus, they were soft, & she liked the sensation o’ being always surrounded by pillows, which was why she sometimes liked to feel her own shirt hem & sweats edges, ’specially pressing & releasing them gainst her.

That wasn’t to say that she didn’t like other types, too. Though not as soft as a T-shirt & sweats, her school uniform had a quality to it. Just ’cause she prefered puzzle platformers o’er FPSes didn’t mean that the latter wasn’t fun in times. Black socks — a permitted variance she exploited — could show themselves, & the coincidentally also-plaid skirt moved in a different way. & there were those rare times, when she was sure she was in the depths o’ isolation, preferably when father was off to some convention, that she’d test the defenses o’ her own skirt in various movements, to see which revealed an elusive edge o’ black knickers, with almost the same thrill she’d feel on a rare summer day when she’d see a costudent on a Casual Friday in a sunshirt. The need to test them was too great to ignore, & the 1 solace in her life was she’d gotten the opportunity to see under the desk o’ 1 student in it seemed like the perfect position ’cross from her, his legs spaced apart with gray-&-blue plaid — ¿why always plaid? — boxers ’neath. She’d considered getting her own, but buying her own clothes wasn’t something she did — neither the money, nor the opportunity to get ’way. This risk was too great.

¿What the hell is wrong with me? ¿What am I doing?

The worst part was that she knew they would call her narcissistic, which was slander, since she didn’t e’en like herself that much. But when all you’ve got is a hammer, you’re going to get quite attached to that hammer. & if she acted differently, they’d just change the rules so that she was still wrong, so that she was always wrong. She was wrong ’cause she was wrong, that was it. E’en when she was polite, helped people with their homework, or ne’er caused trouble — no, these were themselves a wrongness. So there was no point trying to fight the wrongness, & its convoluted nature tired her — the wickedness o’ the crimes tired her.

She finally pulled herself from the mirror; but the shame was not completed. Thinking ’bout the softness o’ her apparel touching her suddenly gave her a hunger for ugly secrets online.

II

But Nasrin ne’er counted on the conspiracy.

The Gang o’ Bored Jocks were hanging round the lockers in their leather jackets & cardboard-prop cigarettes, passing the fat ’bout.

Woah. This shit’s wiggly, Joe, 1 o’ them said as he felt the flabby bag land with a slap in his hands, yeah.

& while they did that, they conversed, which they’d already been doing before I mentioned this, but they were also doing it now.

1 o’ them was MSTin’ 1 o’ them ’cause his girlfriend left him for a washed-up Let’s-Player.

Don’t matter no batter, the leader sniffed, e’en though words can’t be made by noses. I could replace that skanky ho with toes with anybody in the know, ¿you know, bro?

You’re Sin’ the B, G, said his cohort. Everyone knows Spunky Rich Student is the most popular student @ this school. She’s pretty much guaranteed to be Prom President.

Phhh. Anyone could be Prom President. ¿Remember when we made that ugly thief robot Prom President & then made her slightly dirty with powder — ¡Ha! ¡Ha! I still haven’t gotten o’er that.

The cohort pointed @ him. I bet you couldn’t make that Arab dyke Prom President.

¿Who? ¿The fidgety 1 who ne’er talks to anyone & dresses like a guy?

Yeah. ¿What was her name? ¿Nasrin?

Fuck, I could make e’en her Prom President. Watch me bring the bling, singsing.

The cohort headbutted the leader’s shoulder. You got just 6 months, Funz.

Yeah… The leader looked down miserably.

He had been diagnosed with nasal cancer. In 6 months he will be dead.

The next few minutes passed ’tween them in silence.

III

Hey, Nasrin: ¿What’s up in your grill, pollydolly?

Nasrin jerked in response to her name being called, & in association with that diction. She knew it could only be the leader o’ the Gang o’ Bored Jocks.

She slowly turned her head in the hopes o’ procrastinating the inevitable shenanigans he planned, while also acknowledging that ’scaping it & the general suffering o’ living was futile.

The leader was smiling so wide, his teeth shined in the hallway light.

¿How you doing?, he asked.

Nasrin blinked @ him.

You, uh… ¿You blow up any cool buildings? ’Cause, you know, I like to blow up things, too, sometimes, if you get my griddles.

Nasrin didn’t get his griddles; she was sure his griddles were conspiracies that were false, as were all the conspiracies the entire world accused her o’.

She continued to blink @ him.

The leader waved with a look o’ petulance. ¿Not e’en a hello?

Um… Um, sure, Nasrin said as she looked down @ the ground with the same blank stare.

The leader felt his neck begin to itch.

This is gonna be harder than I thought.

So, uh… ¿You going to the prom?, the leader said as if he were threatened with no dessert for weeks if he didn’t while throwing his eyes upward.

Nasrin’s pupils dilated as if she were threatened by ’nother simile in the subjunctive tense. The leader’s brows fell.

¿What is this? ¿Does this snot actually think she’s too good for me? That’s a true spanker. Which is gross.

Um… ¿No? Nasrin’s mind spun its cogs in their highest gears to choose her words carefully to avoid their social snares, which was quite difficult when one didn’t understand all the social tentacles, which were gross.

¿Why not?, the leader snapped.

Um… Nasrin paused. He might as well ask her why people eat every day.

The leader pursed his lips together. ‘Um’ isn’t an answer.

¿I’m busy?, Nasrin asked, rather than told.

¿Busy doing what?

Watching people play terrible bootlegs online.

She knew that was a stupid answer, so she just said, I have to work.

Look, I don’t know what goes on in whatever country you came from, but round here you don’t work till you’re an adult.

I guess in “your culture” you don’t become a working adult till you’re 26, rather than my silly culture’s 18.

Nasrin knew saying that would only guarantee a 1-way trip to being punched in the face. In fact, the mere possibility that he could be reading her thoughts — that all o’ them were reading her thoughts which so oft broke protocols o’ proper thoughts — made her begin to sweat.

I bet you’re just scaredy bat, said the leader.

Nasrin nodded.

I mean, there’s no good reason for you to go, anyway, continued the leader. Nobody would e’er go with someone as ugly & foreign as you.

Nasrin nodded.

Finally this genius got it. Nothing made Nasrin sweat mo’ — well other than the aforementioned fear o’ telekineses — as the prospect o’ being roped into some boring outside thing when she could be seeing the marvels o’ Windows 98 for the Famicom.

The leader was rubbing his chin.

This isn’t working. She’s too retarded for reverse-psychology.

The leader crossed his arms. Now… I could help you… If I wanted to.

Nasrin remained silent, ’fraid that the slightest squeak would cause him to make full his threat.

But ’cause I feel sorry for such a lonely loser like you, I’m going to take pity on you & help you not only prepare yourself to show your face @ the prom without everyone filling the place up with their vomit, which is gross, but e’en make you win Prom President. Now, don’t fuck this up for me.

Nasrin grimaced. She knew she shouldn’t have thought those squeaks.

IV

Nasrin thought she could ’scape after the final reveille, but like the long arm o’ the law, the leader o’ the Bored Jocks grabbed her aside to an unfamiliar world.

Now, the 1st thing we need to do is change your entire appearance, personality, & DNA, the leader said as he snapped his finger & searched ’long the curtained walls. Nasrin, too, stared @ them, finding them much mo’ interesting than the prospect o’ going to some dumb prom. She looked up, reminded o’ that minigame from Super Mario RPG & began to feel a pang o’ nostalgia & craved being home & playing that ’stead o’ being dragged here in a dark van by this creepy stranger.

1st, we’ll start by making you not dress like a female version o’ Jack — God rest Robin William’s soul, said the jock. Granted, some people have a fetish for that kind o’ thing; but not proms. & they decide what’s right.

¿Aren’t I wearing the same uniform as everyone else?, asked Nasrin, for she truly wasn’t sure if the author remembered that nuance.

No, no, no, snapped the jock, throwing his arms down. After rolling his eyes @ the author for making a joke ’bout picking them back up, he continued, Remember, we’re aiming for pleasing proms, not Japanese ol’ men. You can’t wear a school uniform to prom.

Nasrin wanted to throw her arms up & say, Sorry for not knowing this dumb place’s randomly changing rules. But that would only spread the salt.

Just don’t do anything & maybe he’ll finally get bored & let me wander lost for miles home since he’s definitely made me miss my bus. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll e’en get attacked by a bear & die — wouldn’t that be a laugh in the pants.

The jock pinched himself as he stared @ the rack o’ frilly dresses like a lobotomized patient. No matter how much he stared, they wouldn’t ’splain their mysteries.

Suddenly he heard muffled Frank Sinatra & pulled out his pocket rotary phone.

¿Yeah?

Eh, lead, ¿how’s your coronation o’ the ugly dame as Prom President going?

Just great, the “lead” said testily. Here, ¿you want to hear her talk?

He held the phone close to Nasrin. Nasrin stared @ it.

Say hello, stupid, said the jock.

¿Hello?

Snickers ’scaped from the phone, which felt so dangerous, Nasrin leaned back.

It’ll only prove me mo’ impressive, said the jock. Just wait. I will turn this hideous geek into someone valued only for her looks. I will earn my role as Master o’ Cliché , god damn you.

But now the eyes were everywhere. Nasrin saw them before he did — O, she always saw them. The jock slowly lowered his phone back into his pocket & stared back @ the rack o’ dresses as if the eyes weren’t there.

¿What’s your favorite color?

Um… ¿onyx?

I said ‘favorite color’, not favorite Pokémon. The jock’s cheeks began to grow wrinkles. Now, try not being a childish loser for 1 second & tell me a color.

Nasrin felt annoyance steam in her mind, but kept her expression neutral.

If you didn’t want a childish loser, ¿why don’t you mess round with someone your own age?

So, ’stead, she just muttered, Black.

¿What?, the jock snapped. God, I can’t hear a damn thing you say. You have a throat problem or something.

Nasrin just stared miserably @ the shiny tan floor tiles. She raised her voice just a li’l, which hurt her mouth a bit, ’twas such a rarity, & said, Black.

¿Who gives a shit? I’ll wear pink & green plaid. Just pick something & let me go already.

You know, I’m doing you a huge favor, the jock said as he fought to rattle a black dress off the rack from its clingy hanger.

Nasrin said nothing.

Without turning back to her, he thrust the dress toward her — so sharply that it almost smacked her in the face. She grabbed it tenderly, ’fraid o’ smudging it with her oily fingers & forcing them to search round ’nother hour for ’nother, & went up to the dressing room stalls, only to find that none o’ them would budge.

The jock pointed @ some black, intercom device in the middle. You need to call someone to open 1 o’ the stalls for you. Some security crap.

Nasrin pushed the only button there was & said close to the microphone-like grill thing, Um, ¿Hello? ¿Could someone open the dress — the female dressing room, please?

After that, they waited in awkward silence, Nasrin’s attention leaping everywhere but anywhere near the jock while the jock crossed his arms with an impatient scowl.

After a few minutes, the personnel with the same voice as on the intercom politely greeted them & unlocked the door for her.

Inside was a small box with yellow-tan walls, with just the boxiest o’ benches with the same color & a mirror on a wall, from ceiling to floor. The 1st thing Nasrin did ’pon entering was lock it from the other side. From there she set the dress onto the bench as gently as she could & stared @ it.

The longer I wait, the mo’ likely he’ll hassle me.

So she began pulling off her tie, T-shirt, & skirt — glad that she didn’t have to take off her shoes for the latter, which, she s’posed, was 1 advantage it had o’er sweats — all the while glancing @ the oddly tall gap under the door & e’en the rest o’ the walls. Howe’er, ’pon pulling the dress o’er her, she found it begin flopping forward off her; she had an inkling it wasn’t s’posed to do that, that if she’d went in like that she’d get reprimanded for indecency, as if ’twere her fault this dress was poorly made. She could feel the opening @ the back o’ all places & tried holding the back edges together with 1 hand while the other fiddles with some string cords they had ’stead o’ buttons like sane apparel would have.

E’en though she’d been expecting it for minutes, Nasrin rattled when she heard the knock on the door.

¿Is there something wrong?, he said with exasperation. It shouldn’t take 10 minutes to put a simple dress on.

Simple, my ass. Simply stupid o’ the person who decided to put the tying part on the back. It’s like the ribbon interface o’ clothes: “We know buttons & zippers are too convenient, so let’s just change it into something arbitrarily different & cumbersome”.

Still, this was Nasrin’s cue: she hastily pulled the dress off, threw on her school uniform without buckling her belt or & just pocketing her tie, & then opened the door with the dress in her arm & said, It fits.

¿Then why aren’t you in it? The jock scowled. ¿Don’t you know how these stories are s’posed to go? You’re s’posed to come out here & wow my boots off or some shit with the magical way that makes you not make me want to puke just by looking @ you. But you still look like a dumpy dork.

Nasrin stared down @ the floor silently, sweating from the hostility.

Yeah, I’m sure this dress’ll truly change that. For god’s sake, this skirt’s shorter than this dress, anyway.

But I guess wearing clothes that actually works is childish. Nope: gotta dress up like a Disney princess — that’s adult.

@ this point I’m kinda hoping he’ll get mad ’nough to kill me. It’ll be the only way to end this god awful day.

The jock threw his arms up. ¿Did a prom dress bite you when you were li’l or something? ¿What’s your problem?

Nasrin cringed back. She held out the dress & said, with a louder voice than she’d used so far, The strings are on the back.

¿What? ¿Now you’re picky? ¿Why didn’t you say something when I was picking something out?

It’s impossible to get on, Nasrin whined.

The jock twisted his head with a sour grin. Well, then I guess all the other girls @ our school are witches, ’cause they magically do it.

Nasrin let her hand with the dress fall, not caring that she was dragging it into the floor. She was beyond hope o’ him peacefully letting her leave. She had to lose his attention long ’nough to flee.

The jock began rubbing his neck.

Fuck…

He pulled out his phone & began fiddling with it. Nasrin watched him.

It’s all right, she thought wryly. You think I have no tolerance for your put-down games, but I’ve got so much experience, I’m a master — not like you’d appreciate the 1 thing I am good @.

They waited there for a few minutes. Then the jock sighed & dialed the phone, only to get a recorded message from some woman. The jock sighed ’gain, & after the beep said, Hey, Sarah, I need you to come help me. Glancing back & forth ’mong the store, he whispered, It’s a long story, but I have to get that ugly dork that ne’er talks to be Prom President & she can’t e’en figure out how to change her clothes.

He hung up & cursed.

After a minute or so, he turned to Nasrin & said, You might as well go inside & try. Maybe you’ll figure it out after a few hours.

Nasrin turned & went back into the stall. She took a deep breath, slightly soothed that a’least she had some privacy in there & didn’t have to worry ’bout every movement or nonmovement she did causing backlash. She raised the back o’ the dress & stared @ it.

Maybe I could just hold the back parts together. It’s not as if I have any better option.

So she simply threw the dress on o’er her uniform. She tried the strings for a couple minutes mo’, but quickly gave up in frustration & simply held onto the back while going back out.

He’ll probably bitch if I take too long. Might as well go out so he can bitch for a different reason.

When she went back out, the jock didn’t bitch @ her, but merely stared @ her with heavy lids.

Didn’t work: still dumpy. Then his brows raised. ¿Why are you holding your arm like that?

Looking ’way like a kid caught trying to steal a cookie from the jar, she said, I told you: I can’t get this dumb thing on.

The jock sighed, & then walked up to her side, & then ’hind her. ’Twas an effort to keep herself still from the urge to move ’way. The jock pulled her fingers ’way, though not in a noticeably harsh or gentle way, & began tying the back o’ her dress while Nasrin stared down @ the ground & struggled to keep her breathing still. She tried to ignore the heat that rose in her cheeks with the futile superstition that that would make them less noticeable, but couldn’t ignore the shame she felt @ her arousal o’ his surprisingly soft fingers bumping into her goosefleshed back, not helped by the strong smell o’ his sweet cologne — a commonality ’mong these horribly aesthetically-pleasing rude, dumb bimbos.

Then his fingers completely left her back, leaving a cold, mushy scar. There, he said with a sigh. Then he walked back o’er to where he’d been sitting & stared @ her with his fingers on his chin, e’en tilting his head here & there, while Nasrin just turned ’way awkwardly.

Nope: still look like a dumpy dork. But then his eyes widened.

Wait, I got an idea.

He rushed toward Nasrin, which caused her to jump from its suddenness, & nabbed the glasses off her face.

Picking on me is usually their idea, thought Nasrin.

I forgot till now that you e’en wore these dumb things, said the jock.

Yeah, but that’s only ’cause the author does all the time.

Then the jock stepped back & scrutinized her like a faulty pipe ’gain.

Nope: still dumpy. Maybe you’d look a li’l better if you didn’t squint so much. ¿What’s your problem? ¿Were you raised by bears or something?

I can’t help it, whined Nasrin. My eyes are weak.

That’s a shock, the jock said with a scowl.

Feeling it futile to expect the jock to free her voluntarily, Nasrin finally asked, ¿Can I go now?

The jock leaned toward her with a glower.

Look, you’re not fucking me out o’ my award. It’s gonna happen.

V

Nasrin squirmed under the nylon rope in some puffy leather chair she couldn’t see in the darkness.

Then a dim, sickly green light walked in, followed by a shadow & a voice. Nasrin winced @ it, unable to see beyond blurry shapes, still without her glasses.

Nasrin, ¿why do you refuse to be beautiful?

This time ’twas Nasrin’s mouth that glowered. However, in her still-puffy-eyed state, it probably made her look mo’ like a dumbfounded possum. But she didn’t care: she was dumping all the crayons on the floor.

What injustice infuriated her the most wasn’t the fact that they insulted her, took her glasses, took her time ’way from horrifying game o’er screens wherein Felix the Cat bloodily rips his face off his skull, or the fact that they made it so that there are only 24 hours in a day. No. The greatest injustice was that they kept roping — or nylonning, she s’posed — her into their social schemes — there were always social schemes. She was fine to hide ’way in her corner while they threw rotten milk boxes @ her rat hole. ¡But nope! ¡You have to come out & drink the mold, Cole!

Madame, ¿can you understand English?

¡& now they were cock-blocking her thoughts with their stupid English!

But she didn’t say anything. Talking would only enflare their ulcers — ¿& what did their ulcers e’er do for her? She nodded with sagging eyes without looking up @ the liar.

Then answer the question, Madame. Science demands it.

She looked up @ him. ¿What do you want?

I want to know why you refuse to be beautiful, no matter all the experiments we endeavor. ¿What did beauty e’er do to you?

Indeed, ¿what has beauty e’er done for me?

Like a sullen child trying to ’splain to her dumb parents bitching ’bout bad report cards ’bout this li’l thing called ADD, she turned ’way & said, Go blame beauty: it’s his choice, not mine.

This was always what happened. ’Twas just like all those projects where they demanded she partner up with someone real snug or they’ll hammer a big F o’er her fucking head like a slut, forcing her to ’splain to her father what this li’l thing called ADD is, only for him to tell her to go play, he’s busy making fun o’ wingnuts. ¿Why does she always have to get in the way o’ his wingnuts?

You must stop with these distractions, Madame. Science doesn’t like them. Don’t tell me I have to ’splain to you what ADD is.

& now they wanted to take ’way the 1 thing she had, her 1 freedom from their spidery chains — her thoughts.

But she had them now: she conjured up the most buttery o’ plans.

VI

Everyone was amazed by the transformation, e’en their hushed whispers.

I couldn’t believe he could do it.

The man’s a natural, I tell you… A sigh. I’ll miss him.

A silent minute.

They couldn’t help staring in surprise @ this completely new person, leaning her face on the shoulder o’ the Jock Leader, now cleaned up in a tidy tux with a plastic smile.

But there was 1 woman who wasn’t in awe. Mo’ like bitterness — ’specially now that she’d broken up with her boyfriend ’cause he wouldn’t stop yammering ’bout racist shit, like claiming that rich black people kill mo’ white people, or whatever bullshit.

¿Does he truly think he can replace me with that dumpy Arab freak?

Said dumpy “Arab” freak looked nothing like she did before. ’Twas mo’ than just the new dress & lack o’ glasses: ’twas the posture, the bright smile, & mo’ importantly, the personality. Nasrin spoke eloquently — eloquent in the target vernacular, which involved plenty o’ “likes” & “literallies”, despite their banalities — ’bout topics she’d studied as deeply as Paper Mario glitches, with speaking patterns mo’ practiced than Dio’s guitar work.

In fact, Nasrin had become so distracted by the cacophony o’ sounds & colors, that it took many minutes for her to realize that her… ¿groom? — She hadn’t remembered that part — was missing.

That was till she stumbled on him in a back closet, making out with some other woman. She stared blankly. Her training hadn’t prepared her for this. Plus, ’twas kind o’ interesting to see how ’twas done, in such detail, & she had the perfect ’scuse. Normally, she always just thought ’bout it as 2 people just pressing their lips together for a second or 2, & that was it; but these 2 were leaning into each other & practically eating each other’s lips, with 1 leaning his body into the other like a fluid puzzle…

Then they stopped. It startled Nasrin — like a black & white movie suddenly turning to the viewer & acknowledging them, presumably to act as some parody commercial telling her she could get cheap car insurance.

O, Nasrin… The Jock Leader laughed nervously while brushing his mangled hair down with a shaky hand. I, uh, didn’t see you there.

After a long minute o’ silence, Nasrin finally said, Um, ¿is it OK if I go home?

The Jock Leader scratched his head.

O… O yeah. Uh, take care.

Nasrin nodded, & then turned ’way.

She slow-walked for the 1st meter or so, trying to keep her face as calm & emotionless as possible, trying to ignore the solemn but gawking stares aimed @ her by the rest o’ the discoverers.

’Twas only when she knew she was too far from the Jock Leader to stop her that she let her heart start beating furiously & broke into a run, till she threw herself out o’ the metal doors, dashing down the evening-painted street.

¡Yes! ¡Fresh air! ¡Finally free!

You had no idea how impatient she was to get home, take off this tacky dress, change into her sexy sweats, & attempt that low-level run o’ Super Mario RPG, or maybe just jack off to upskirt pictures o’ Link on DeviantArt, since she was suddenly in the mood. Either way, it’d provide a well-earned ’scape from the tedious realism o’ pretty popular people & princess dresses.

’Twas as she told herself sitting in that dark room in that leather chair: the only way you can deal with ugly, unreasonable reality is comfy escapism.