“Serena, let’s go!” my brother Will calls out to me from downstairs. I am in my room, taking a final glance at myself in the mirror.
We are going to the theatre with friends to celebrate Kris and Tasha’s birthdays. They both turned 18 last month. Kristina Hansen is Will’s girlfriend. She and her brother Kai were still in Australia visiting their mom, Monica, on her birthday.
A year ago, Monica was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was worried that telling them would jeopardise Kris’ and Kai’s studies, so she kept it from them for almost a year. They had flown out to Sydney to be with her in July, after they had been told. It was obviously a tough time for them. By then Monica had already had surgery, had completed her chemo and was at the early stages of recovery. She was now in remission.
Daniel, Kai and Kris’ dad, arranged this theatre trip for Kris and her friends. He is taking his new girlfriend. We know this trip has also been orchestrated so she can meet Kai and Kris.
I was reluctant to accept when they invited me, knowing once again that I would be the one who made the party an odd number - the one without a date.
I decided to go for the smart-casual look. I am wearing black skinny jeans and a black satin camisole. Over it I am wearing a charcoal grey transparent chiffon blouse my mom made for me.
I stand in front of the mirror and examine myself in my outfit. I glance at my flat chest and scrutinise my lack of height; I am just five feet one. I focus on the positives. I have often been told I am pretty, and the number of guys I’ve caught checking me out hasn’t gone unnoticed, but looking at myself I don’t see it. I see neither beauty nor ugliness; I just see me. I have a small waist, well-proportioned hips and my legs are okay.
Then I chide myself for my vanity. I know it shouldn’t matter. It is the beauty within that matters; this is what I keep telling myself. But it has been like that recently, a constant seeking of reassurance that I look okay and that there is nothing wrong with me.
I slip into black high stiletto suede ankle boots and pull on a grey long-sleeved shrug over my blouse. It contains mohair, so it feels warm and I decide I will not need a jacket. I grab my purse.
Will calls out to me again.
“Come on Serena, let’s go!”
“Okay! I’m coming” I say, switching off the light and hurrying out of my room.
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