"1800 Seconds" by Emma Landry
The alarm blares through the little speakers in her phone, an indication that it's time for the day to begin. Without completely opening her eyes, she taps the screen repeatedly until she’s met with silence once again. She lies in bed for a few minutes longer, eventually moving on to scrolling through Instagram before finally standing up and quickly throwing on whatever happens to be lying at the top of her drawer. She throws her hair the messiest of buns and walks to the bathroom. She brushes her teeth, washes her face, and then debates whether or not to put some makeup. Deciding against it she packs her backpack and fills up her water bottle. After double checking that she has everything she needs for the day, she walks out the door to drive to school.
The alarm blares through the little speakers in her phone and she hopes that the longer she ignores it, the longer it’ll be until she has to start moving and actually get out of bed. Eventually she taps the alarm off and lies still, trying to decide if it's even worth it to get up. She could lie there just long enough to be unable to make it to class on time, that way she wouldn’t have to get up at all. If she does that, though, she’ll get yet another absence and she can only have three. She’s already used up two, neither absence having a valid excuse, so maybe she should go. After doing the math and deciding to save that last absence for a harder day, she grabs her phone and opens her eyes. She scrolls through Instagram, trying to ignore the pit in her stomach when she sees all the girls she could never look like, or another happy couple smiling at each other and in love, a feeling she’s terrified she’ll never feel. She locks her phone and sits at the edge of the bed for a second, taking one last breath before noticing that it’s 9:10 and she only has ten minutes to get ready, so if she procrastinates any more she actually will be late.
She stands up and walks out of her room, making a point to avoid looking in the mirror because, well, just not today. She rubs her eyes as she makes her way to the bathroom. She looks in the mirror above the sink, sighs, and proceeds to coat the bristles of her toothbrush with toothpaste. She brushes her teeth, washes her face, and dries her skin. She looks in the mirror, noting the red blotches on her skin accompanied by a few bumps and that one pore that just, ugh, will not shrink. She thinks about putting on makeup but decides against it. Makeup won’t fix her image of herself, so why waste more time trying to correct something that just might be broken beyond repair?
She fills her backpack with everything she shoved to the ground in frustration the night before when she was trying to study for a test she wasn’t prepared for and walks to the kitchen. She forces as many ice cubes as possible into her water bottle to make it icy cold and puts that last item in her backpack before she walks out the door to drive to school.