Jealousy – 50 Shades of Green

The prey almost never sees the predator first, that is the predator's advantage. I cannot see them, the car's tinted windows are too dark to pierce through sunglasses, but they see me. Not even me, the sight of the sleek, silver, BMW is enough to nudge people's heads together and begin the whispers.

"Oh my god, look at her car, I'm so jealous."

I don't want to look up when I pull in, I wish I could pause forever; fists locked on the steering wheel, eyes locked on the dash, smile locked on my face. But time waits for no one, and as the engine ceases its purr, so their murmurings take a breath.

For a moment, there is peace, only for a moment.

Then the door clicks open, and I am forced out by the pressure of expectation. Almost at once, a low hum spreads through the air, as the frantic whispers resume.

"Do you see her shoes? I've just been dying to get a pair of those heels!"

"Look at that shoulder bag, a real Hermes, I'd kill for one of those!"

"See how slim she is? I wish I could wear mini-skirts like that."

"That cropped jacket is so cute, if only I could pull off a look like that."

I dream, I want, I wish, I long.

Jealous, jealous, jealous, jealous.

My heart beats in time to the rhythm of their emotions, a surging side that swirls to part for me as I walk. All the while, the whispers, the looks, the thoughts, they trail behind me closer than a shadow. Stab deeper than a knife.

At last, through the doors, into a safe haven?

No, soft voices alert me before any other sense.

"There's her boyfriend, he's so hot, I can't believe she's lucky enough to get him."

"Is that a rose he's giving her? Cute!"

"I wish my boyfriend was like that."

"I'm so jealous."

The shrill bell hurts my ears, a parting kiss sears my lips, and sharp thorns prick my fingers as I walk to class.

It doesn't end.

Test marks back; "She got A+, as always. God, she's smart, I'm so jealous."

Cheer practise finishes; "How is her hair and makeup still perfect? I'm so jealous."

As I leave school; "She's perfect, I wish I was like that, I'm so jealous."

Jealousy, jealousy, envy; I see it everywhere, following me like a ghost. Fifty shades of green wherever I turn.

It's almost over. Driving home with green-misted vision; fists locked on the steering wheel, eyes locked on the road, smile locked on my face.

Arrive home to an empty house, walk through empty halls, to collapse onto the floor of an empty room.

It's too much, the pressure, it's too much. I want to scream and yell and shout.

STOP!

They don't understand, they don't know, they don't see.

They don't understand that to get my grades, I'm forced to stay awake until 2AM in order to study.

They don't understand that to make my hair and face look as they do, I have to wake up at 6AM to begin.

They don't understand that to stay this slim, I haven't had a proper meal for over two days.

They don't know that the bag was a gift from my mum, to keep her affair quiet.

They don't know that the car was a gift from my dad, because my parents got divorced.

They don't know that the rose was a gift from my boyfriend, to say sorry for what he did.

They don't see the bruises on my arms beneath the jacket.

They don't see me.

But here, alone on the floor, there is no one to scream at, yell at, or shout at. There is only me, and all I can do is cry.

Looking up, I can see myself in the full-length mirror. Through still green-tinged vision, and see the green tears of my own emotion rolling down my face.

They don't understand, they don't know, they don't see.

Their lives are so normal, so perfect. No heavy weight, no expectation, no cares to be had.

I'm so jealous.