A fleeting whisper of stagnant hope, a momentary lapse of the path you’ve walked. A hand, crying-silver, reaching for something real, a consort. You tried.
Ugly, he said. You knew, you always did, the tar-like cruelty of the rougher kids made sure you couldn’t forget, that you’ll never be more than disgusting to them.
Still you reached, grasped, needed his hand. The word flattened you, as if you’d kissed a train with somewhere more important to be. Ugly, he repeated, and your world came crashing down. The whispering lingers, how could she let herself hope?