You've just come back home. It's late, far later than you intended. You walk into your room, ignoring your mothers glaring eyes. You go up to the mirror, look at yourself and laugh. It's a light, carefree laugh. One that would not be out of place in an elfin grotto. It is a laugh you never thought you'd hear again. You look at yourself in the mirror. Your hair is a mess, your eyeliner’s smudged, and your face is flushed from your exertions on the dance floor. You look at yourself and smile. Life is exactly as it should be. You feel giddy with happiness; you could fly and bathe yourself in the colours of the rainbow. You feel loved; the memory of his touch, of the music coursing through your veins is enough to make you glow from the inside out. You look at yourself in the mirror. Your hair is a mess, your eyeliner is smudged, and for a minute there you were fooled.

You see the colour drain from your face as the realisation of your stupidity washes over you. You look at yourself, and you see the stranger from a few minutes ago fade away. Welcome back, you say to the gaunt face in the mirror. Welcome back, you say to the sunken eyes and pale cheeks. You laugh, when you realise you're talking to yourself.

You laugh and then sink to the floor. Suddenly there is a waterfall streaming down your face.

"Fuck" you think.” My eyeliner…”

Then you laugh again. You realise you are finally alone, no distractions. Just you and your thoughts. The fear grips your throat in a chokehold, your stomach hurts more than you remember it hurting before; and then you cry.

You scream silently, as loudly as you can. You scream until your voice is hoarse from all the words unsaid. You scream, safe in the knowledge that no one can hear you. Safe. Safe in your pain, safe in your misery.

Your happiness is a stranger, one that visits you every now and again, giving you hope that maybe he finally likes you enough to stay, but then he leaves. Your happiness is the boy you finally thought you could give your heart to, the boy you insisted was "different", but there he goes again, leaving you with just enough hope that he may visit once more when you least need him.

Hope.

You laugh.

Once again you scream, you pull at your hair, scratch your arms, and try to treat yourself like the filth you know you are. “I am beautiful” a meek voice parrots. "Oh shut the fuck up already." Once again you are faced with the dilemma that is life. More specifically, the dilemma of choosing whether to live. You go online, search for effective methods of suicide, realise once again that carbon monoxide poisoning is your best bet, and then you cry some more when you acknowledge the fact that your cowardice will never let you do anything.

You go up to the mirror. Your hair is a mess. Your eyeliner is all over your face. Your eyes, nose and cheeks are as red as that hideous poncho you were given as a child. You look at yourself and smile.

"Welcome back old friend."

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