The blow when it first came was out of the clear blue and screamed in like a missile. They met in the coffee shop and as they embraced she divined that he was thinking about a new student that had joined his tutor group. He was thinking what pretty hair she had, no problem, but this thought was immediately chased by another which wondered if Stella couldn’t perhaps have her own mousy locks coloured and maybe trimmed into a more becoming style. It was the first negative thought he had ever had about her personal appearance – it was agony.
All her new-found joy had been pinned on the knowledge that he admired her for herself and not for her rather underwhelming appearance. She was distressed, deeply and horribly. She feigned a headache leaving Steven a little confused and disappointed to go off to the cinema on his own. She went home and peered at her reflection in the small bathroom mirror.
She had always been aware that she was plain. She hadn’t cared much, it was who she was and there had always been other things to think about. Now though, now the one person who she could truly trust had compared her secretly to another and had found her wanting. If he had openly suggested a visit to the hairdressers she could have dealt with that. If he had told her about Phillipa the new student and commented openly regarding her appearance she would have barely noticed. That he had kept the thoughts hidden and had been musing on them as their arms had been entwined and their bodies close was hurtful beyond belief.
Tragic tears tracked across her pale cheeks, many spiked fears crept into her mind and sadness flooded into her heart. Honest reflection showed her that it was probably unrealistic to have believed that she and he would have spent their lives together but she had believed it and by now convinced herself that it was possible.
Trying to reflect coldly and unemotionally didn’t work. Pretending that she didn’t have to worry never even made it onto the scale of possibilities. By the end of the night and the two bottles of cheap red wine she was totally convinced that her most precious gift was lost, that her wonderful boyfriend was already drifting away and that her life was heading back to the lonely peculiarity that it had been before.
The morning found her hung-over and rebellious. She wouldn’t stand for it, no, oh no. She wanted him, she needed him. He was the one thing that she had ever had that she could truly trust. She would have him for herself alone and she would employ all in her arsenal to keep him.
They met as usual the next day. She hugged him tight to her and probed his cerebrum. He was concerned that she seemed tired. He hoped she was quite well and he had enjoyed his bacon sandwich that morning. All well there then.
She took a step back. Maybe it would be fine, perhaps she had panicked unnecessarily. Joyfully she wrapped her arms around him again. He was wondering if Phillipa enjoyed the film last night. The world crashed, the stars fell and the universe imploded.