My aunt told me to leave her house this morning before tomorrow since she could not handle looking after me anymore.
I understood why my aunt didn't want me around anymore. Her family was facing financial issues and couldn’t pay for my meals any longer. I was just an extra burden on her already weak shoulders. But I tried my best to be of help to her by doing all the house chores—I was practically a maid there for five months—otherwise, my cousins wouldn’t stop sneering at me.
However, I remained strong like my mom always taught me to be. I smiled and told my aunt that I would leave tonight and thanked her for taking care of me when all my other relatives had turned their faces away from me.
Even now, I am trying my best to be positive.
I have always tried looking at the plus points rather than the negative ones.
But I really was in a pickle at the moment with no bright sides in sight.
I had absolutely no idea where to go. I had no savings. I had no money for food either. I was as broke as a street beggar—wait, never mind, even they have a few bucks with them.
Since there was no point hitting my head on the wall for all of this, I decided to come to school. The worst thing that could happen here was I got detentions for no reason, maybe even trip on my shoelaces and fall flat on my face.
Or so I thought.
I was standing in the hallway, pondering over my bleak life, when I felt something light hit my back.
“Oh, my God.” I heard a few people gasp.
Instinctively, I touched my long light brown hair on the back that reached up to my waist. Something sticky made contact with my fingertips. I furrowed my brows and pulled at it, but it kept stretching and stretching.
“What the hell is this?” I murmured in disgust.
Once the sticky thing was up to my eye level, I was able to make out what it was. It was a piece of pink chewing gum. That came directly out of someone's mouth.
Just exactly what I needed. Perfect for my hair nourishment.
“Fuck, eww!” I exclaimed at the yuck factor and turned around to face the culprit.
A pair of familiar beautiful yet infuriating turquoise eyes stared back at me widely in horror.
Of course, it was him.
My one enemy since freshman year. Only God knows what I have ever done wrong to him to deserve this. I must have stepped on his devilishly handsome face in his dream or something imaginary like that to have earned such loath from him.
Setting all that aside, I loved my hair so much. And now…
I was touching his saliva stuck to it.
Some people roared in laughter at my misery, making my anger shoot through the roof.
“Uh… I swear that was not intentional,” Theo spoke up in his defense.
I gritted my teeth and approached him, throwing the scariest daggers I could muster with my eyes. “You definitely did that on purpose,” I stated furiously.
“I did not.”
“You spoiled my beautiful, shiny, silky long hair that I take care of every day for hours! Do you know how hard it is to maintain long hair? Of course, you don't! You boys have it so easy with that short hair,” I vented out, raising my voice louder than I expected it to.
My nose was flaring with anger and I was panting from yelling. I probably looked like an angry Jigglypuff.
“I know it's my fault. But it's not as if I have no other better job than sticking gum on your beautiful blah blah hair.”
Look at this jerk. He was not remorseful at all. One would expect a basic word of apology from him, but no!
“I won't believe you even if God came and told me that,” I spat out.
Theo gave me a flat look. “Don't prioritize ourselves so much. God won't come and tell you the truth for me out of all the billions of people crawling on this earth.”
I scoffed. “I think you are right. God's got His hands full with other good people. That's why His lowest priority was giving you a functional heart and brain.”
He crossed his arms against his chest, somehow managing to look taller than before and making me shrink smaller. “Look, Stella—”
“Arabella,” I corrected sternly. He always purposely takes my name wrong.
“Yes, Annabella, whatever.” I tightened my jaw, holding my arm back from knocking his tooth out. “I was talking to someone while chewing the gum and someone slapped my back from behind, which resulted in this,” he pointed at my sticky hair with a frown, “so if you don't believe me, which I know you don't, you're free to ask anyone here.”
“Just a pat on the back is enough to get you to spit out your gum?” I gave him an incredulous look. “Then maybe you should walk around with a warning label. Because who knows when you might throw up on someone?”
“Well, too bad for you then. You seem to have some eye problems. Otherwise, you would have moved out of my goddamn way,” he retorted.
“How was I supposed to know you were going to pull something so disgusting?” I bellowed.
“You were standing in the middle of the hallway, spacing out and thinking about God knows what, without realizing how many people's way you were blocking.”
I looked around myself and realized I was indeed standing in the middle. But hey, I was lost in deep thoughts!
“I can stand and space out wherever the hell I want. I don't need your permission for that!”
“Then why don't you do me a favor and go stand in front of a bullet, Annabella?”
“It's Arabella!” I corrected again.
“Yes, I get it, Annabelle.”
Great. Now he was calling me by the same name as the horror movie ‘Annabelle’. I used to get called Stella, Cella, Rella, or even Cascerella, by many people because of him. From now on, I was Annabelle, from what I understood from the hootings of the students around.
Black fumes were perhaps coming out of my ear. I was so done with everything— especially Theo. I wanted to shave him bald. I wanted to rip out his guts and hang them on the ceiling. I wanted to carve his face with knives. I wanted to chop his legs so that he would come down to my level and we could see eye to eye.
Generally, I was nice to everyone—but dammit, Theo was an exception.
I caught a freshman coming from behind Theo. An immediate idea popped into my head. I snatched the plastic cup of hot coffee from his hand and threw it at Theo's chest, ruining his gray hoodie and dark green overshirt.
All the free-drama spectators gasped in shock as Theo's face twisted in pain. But he didn't let out a single wince while his friends panicked behind him, telling him to go put some water on his burn. “Happy now?” Theo jeered, flashing me a mock smile.
No, I wasn't. I wasn't happy. Not at all.
What was I even doing?
I had no living family. I would have no roof over my head tonight. I was as broke as they come. My hair was sticky with chewing gum. I don't know what I would do with my life. And here I was, picking a fight with an infuriating guy from school. Could I get any more pathetic?
Tears welled up in my eyes.
I turned around in a swift motion before Theo could catch me tearing up. I had enough humiliation for today. I didn't want to be called a crybaby now.
“Y-yes, I am. Serves you right.” My voice cracked a bit. “Now have a nice day, somewhere out of my sight!” I hollered before running off towards the girl's bathroom.
I locked the door from inside and checked if anyone was there before breaking down in sobs. I stared at myself in the mirror. My hazel eyes were bloodshot. I looked like such a loser.
I turned on the tap and propped my palms against the sink, looking down at the water running as my tears fell and mixed with it.
My chest was aching so much. I wanted Mom to be with me. I wanted to run back home and hug her tightly. I wanted her warm arms to hold me as her words comforted me. But that was not possible anymore. And I had to accept that as hard as it may be.
All I could do was be strong for her. I only needed to look at the positive sides. I looked back at the mirror, at my ruined long hair.
My face lit up as I found something good within it. “Yes, I can just cut my hair and sell it. It will grow back within no time. I can at least get some bucks through this,” I told myself and took out a pair of scissors from my bag on the counter.
I could not afford to go to a salon, so my best bet was myself. I wish my closest friend Coral was here, but she had some emergency at home herself, so she was absent.
Sucking in a deep breath, I held the scissor close to my hair. This was not easy. I was really hesitant. After all, I cherished my hair so much.
I silently cursed Theo for this as I ran the scissors through my hair. My heart was cracking, my feet tickling with the hair that landed on them.
As I cut the last strand of my long hair, I whispered, “Goodbye, long hair.”