Saikeerthi Naidu
– This piece was written in around 10/15 minutes, inspired by a writing prompt during our weekly meetup

Something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I turned and immediately wished I hadn’t. It was too late now, and I couldn’t look away—she was a trainwreck. She looked like she crawled out of a Goodwill dumpster for a breath of fresh air, a monster emerging from the bog. Her jeans were faded, but not fashionably, and was that a hole in the inner thigh? The blue was mixed in with years of grime, so ingrained in the fabric it was as if she fell into a puddle running late to class every day of her life. Her fuzzy pullover smelled like sweat, strings lose and dangling, material shedding off like dandruff. Had she ever heard of a shower? Her middle school wardrobe needed an update. Her boots were caked with drying mud, light brown blades of grass stuck to them and splayed out like a craggly, veiny old hand reaching up to catch her ankle, and drag her into a ditch. Her hair was an abandoned rat’s nest, and the rat was going to be featured on Hoarders but then died underneath the tendrils. Her dark circles, the size of golf club bags, only made her sunken eyes look deeper in her skull. Veins branched out under the papery skin below her eyes—beady little marbles, skittish, shifting and scared, like she knew she didn’t belong. Scared of what? There was literally nothing here to be scared of. Ridiculous.
“Hey, are you okay?” my friend asked.
I blinked and my reflection, the sad creature, blinked back. “Yeah, let’s go.”


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