Naked Girl In The Mirror - Alternative Reading
Hollie Spencer, Grade 12
I felt the bark crumble under my hand as I pulled myself up on the thick, brown branch. I swung my leg over and looked around as I heard the crunch of leaves behind me. Ellena was pulling herself up on the branch to my left. She looked as if she had the strength of a sixteen year old boy, although we were both fourteen, because she held her own weight with what seemed like no effort at all. I heard the sigh of her breath being pushed out of her lungs as she slumped back on the thick tree trunk behind her. Save for the frequent song of birds and the wind rustling through the leaves of the trees around us, the park was silent.
Ellena and I met in preschool, and have been the best of friends ever since. We had a tradition that we have carried out since we were six. Every Thursday after school, the two of us visited our local park and climbed this very tree whilst our mothers talked, but when we turned thirteen, our mothers stopped joining us.
We were sitting silently in the tree, as usual. I looked over at my best friend. Ellena was 14, like me, but a little kid at heart; she loved to climb trees and play. Wore jeans and was as strong as any of us boys. Ellena was staring at the sky and as I watched my friend sitting there, a slight gust of wind came and blew through her hair. Her hair was long, wavy and black, and was almost glowing in the sunlight that was shining down on her. My eyes followed where the sun crossed her face. Her eyes; brown, calm and caring. Her cheeks; soft and rosy with her cheekbones sticking out at a perfect angle. Her lips; red and beautifully shaped. I stopped myself. Why was I thinking this? I thought to myself. Ellena was my best friend. This was how we liked it. I watched my friend once more. She had changed so much over the last couple of years; she was looking a lot older and more beautiful. No, I thought. I cannot think like this. There can never be anything between Ellena and me. But my eyes kept going, taking in every part of her; her neck, her shoulders, her chest, and her legs. I had never thought about how beautiful she had become.
No, I thought again. This cannot happen; I cannot do this. This feeling would ruin everything. But I acted anyway. Ellena had looked around at me. Raising her eyebrows, she opened her mouth to speak. At that moment, I slowly moved in towards her face. I saw a flash of shock in Ellena’s eyes and I knew my answer. She turned her head away, almost as if nothing was happening. There was silence between us again, and I knew what I had to do; I could no longer be friends with this beautiful girl.