I collapse down in my computer chair after school. Before pressing the ON button, I hold my hair back from my face and take a deep breath. There is a thin film of sweat coursing slowly over my forehead from the run home. Today hurt so much. I can't wait to return to my World, the World I belong in.
I bring up an internet screen, type in the URL, and I sigh in pleasure as the warm, familiar background soaks into my vision. Already I feel better.
I spend a short type clicking around, answering messages, looking at my pictures. I look infinitely different in the pictures on my profile. My black hair is flatironed to perfection, my eyes outlined in black eyeliner, my lips painted a pretty pink. If the guys at school saw this side of me, this Beautiful side, they would kill me. This hurts me, because more than anything, I want to be this Beautiful all the time. I want to perform the Ritual every day.
The Ritual is an amazing thing. Those times I am locked in the bathroom with the lights dimmed, those are the times I am truly myself, truly alive. As the thick black moves in a circle to contour my hazel eyes, the brush caked in mascara glides over my eyelashes, and the tube of lipstick coats my lips, I feel Beautiful, I feel Real. I take off my clothes, and I put on my favorite possession, a pink minidress. It's my favorite thing in the world, because when I'm in it I feel Happy, I feel like smiling. I take out my camera and take my own picture in the autumn red glow of the dimmed lights. I am Michael. I am Beautiful, I am Real, I am Happy.
But only in my World. Everywhere else I am forced to be Nonexistent. I am forced to wear ordinary clothes, have a clean face, nothing out of the ordinary. It's enough to kill. So every day I escape to the computer, to this Alternate Reality, my World, where I can be myself and be Truly Alive.
My lips drop open all of a sudden, and I madly click the mouse to enlarge the picture. Make it bigger, faster, I have to know if I saw what I think I saw.
It's a picture of a boy, the most Beautiful boy in the world. My empty stomach and my filled mind flip over when I see him. He has shining black hair, a big chunk of bangs falling into his face. The camera is at a high angle and he's looking up, and his long, narrow, flat expanse of torso seems to go on forever, as do his extensive legs. As amazing as all this is, it's his eyes that do it, it's his eyes that cast this spell over me. His eyes, huge globes of ocean green, deep like the sky, Beautiful as all heaven and hell combined, full of pain like my own.
Like my own.
I want to be inside this picture. I want to dive into those eyes, that hair, those stripes on his shirt. I want to dive in and be lost forever. I want to be lost forever inside this boy.
I know it for certain now. Those pools of endless green, they are like my own. Hurt. Alienated. Lost. We belong together. Me and this boy, we would heal each other, melt the pain from each other's eyes and souls with kisses and hugs. We would make each other feel like we're not alone anymore, because we wouldn't be. We would tell each other 'I love you', and we would mean it more than anything we've ever said before. We would fall into our own World, where we could be ourselves, whoever we are. We would lock ourselves in the bathroom with the lights down low, perform the Ritual, make each other feel Beautiful. We would get in bed and everything else would just disappear, and it would be just us. Time would freeze, everything would freeze, and it would be just us, alone forever.
It would be Beautiful.
My eyes fill with tears, and I lean back, crumple myself into a ball in the chair, and I cry. I cry so hard my thoughts blur together, and I all I can see in my mind is this boy, those eyes, but the image is cracked. Like a broken mirror, it is cracked.
This boy is my one and only. We were made for each other, and I won't be able to let go of him.
But he's the Queen of the World.
He's so far out of my reach.
Beautiful will never come to pass.