I hate this day, more than any other day. You can look at my calendar and see it marked as 'doomsday'. Circled in permanent red marker. Loathing the ominous aura as I'm taken into a room.
"Stand up straight and show us your face."
Blah, blah, BLAH.
Why must people be forced to take pictures of us? Are we that unrecognizable? I've gone to this high school long enough for them to know this. We've gone through this process so many times.
It's unbearable. Completely unfair to me but also very ironic.
"The class topper has social anxiety. Well, how does that work because she does speeches for the school every year?" Those ignorant students, teachers, staff, and parents ask me.
They all get the same answer, which is silence. I'll take this to my grave before I tell a single soul about my deep, dark secret.
My best friend and I have done this certain routine on this day countless of times. We sneak into the dusty computer lab, which is somehow still freezing even though it's unused. Joan Eugene, my close childhood chum that's been by my side since the beginning sets up the green screen and puts the stool on the X mark of duct tape. She tosses me a mask, "You know the drill Beth, take it away. The cameras are rolling...NOW!" A whirl and click, then a low humming sound emits from the recorder which shines a light on my face... or should I say, my mask?
"Hey there fellow humans, it's BethOnTop. I see we have another assembly today to congratulate our students on acquiring their honor roll. Now, it's not just ANY honor roll, it's the GRADUATION CERTIFICATE. IN. A. ROLL!" I hold up the ribbon wrapped roll showing the viewers what I meant. "Seniors get to go to Roll-o-Rama, and the entry ticket is something in a roll. As a significant bonus, I, BethOnTop, am going to be at the ceremony to hand the certificates to you lucky seniors." I do finger guns at the camera and my mask winks with me. "Can't wait to see all of you soon on Friday! BethOnTop is signing off." Joan clicks the recorder, and the light dims off. She walks towards me, and we do our classic secret handshake. "Good one, Beth! Aren't you excited to graduate?"
"Not really because I'd have to give up the BethOnTop act. Sooner or later, they'll have to see me even though every cell in my body disagrees." I shake my head solemnly. Bethany Lawrence is just some nobody, social outlaw. As BethOnTop, I get to BE someone.
Joan rolls her eyes, "You'll do great out there and I'll be right next to you every step of the way."
Wearing a red Italian tweed suit with white vertical stripes, scuffed burgundy loafers, pale yellow button up shirt, and a red ribbon linen bowtie that was subtly choking my life away. I slip on my mask and turn to see Joan leaning on the wall behind me. She was wearing a silk navy blue blazer, a thin pale sky-blue button-down shirt, a cerulean necktie, and shiny black ballet flats. Her hair tied into an elegant updo while mine was messily French braided. "C'mon, the people are waiting." Joan points to the red velvet curtain with golden stripe tips. I peek behind it and see an overwhelming swarm of seniors waiting for BethOnTop to show. She knew I was nervous and gave me a kiss on the cheek, "Break a leg." I turn on the microphone and appear on the stage, with the bright stage lights temporarily blinding me. "HELLO SENIORS!" My voice booms and the crowd go wild. I hold up my gloved hand which makes them calm down. "Alright people, come up here..." I swivel on my heel and my epaulets swing on my shoulders. I make a dramatic pause for suspense then in a circus ringmaster voice, "...If you dare." Joan pulls on a rope string and the curtains open which reveal all the games, the potluck, the mini-shows, and more.
Once I was finished handing out the certificates and signing autographs, Joan announced my face reveal is coming up soon. That's when the social anxiety hit. I both hate and love being in front of a crowd. I love it when I'm the persona of someone I want to be, and I hate it when I have to be myself. My very awkward, camera shy, self. The chatter of people discussing on who could I possibly be, was nerve wracking. Joan hugs me from behind and soothes me as much as she could. Her eyes were as worried as mine were under this mask. "Shake off those jitters, because they won't help you in this situation." This is something me and Joan do a lot. Whenever we're anxious, we shake out bodies vigorously. We go onto the stage, and I gulp. "Well, everyone, this is it. The final reveal." Joan slides off my mask, and I'm blinded by flashing camera lights. I cover my eyes but Joan peels them off my face and she kissed me. "This is Bethany Lawrence, aka BethOnTop. And I, Joan Eugene, am her girlfriend." I blush and cover my face to hide it, but then shortly after I uncover it. This is who I am, just no longer a little invisible.
"So how did it start, from going to camera shy class topper to the most famous yet reclusive media star?" The reporter asks me, and I grin. "It started in high school. I was a lowly freshman, just trying to survive but then I met Joan."
"How'd you meet her?"
"It's more like she found me."
"She captured my face like a photo and hung it up framed in her memory."
"How very poetic."
"Indeed, sir. It was."
"And what did she do?"
"Joan saved me."
"Like the heroine of a story?"
"Exactly. She's the heroine of my story. Proving that any weakness can be easily turned into a superpower."
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"class topper with anxiety" you're describing my friend rn Okay, after reading your other story, I just had to read something else from you and honestly, I'm glad my brain finally made me do something that I didn't regret afterwards- I didn't even know I needed this so bad IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FRICKIN NIGHT MY GOSH I LOVE THIS-
I bet your friend is absolutely lovely and somewhere, somehow, I want to meet that person. My stories are good. What can I say? I'm just a hidden gem in the Reedsy world. Some of the oddest things surprise us, giving us astonishment and relief. THANK YOU FOR READING AND COMMENTING. I was worried about you. You haven't been on Reedsy lately. I care about my mutuals.
She'd love to meet you too! Your writing style is kinda similar to hers as well You sure are! I was just busy with some projects. Projects: Trying to sleep Daydreaming about finishing my novel instead of actually writing it Being a teenager Worrying bc school's about to start Annoying my parents until they sell me for 2 dollars Annoying my sister until she admits that I'm immortal Getting annoyed by my topper best friend And the list goes on
Oh? Is she on Reedsy? If she is, could you send me a link so I can check out her writings? Try melatonin OR if you're like me, put on some peaceful music like lo-fi hip hop and space out until you fall asleep. I can relate to that. I have so many ideas, yet none of the prompts fit with them. I know I don't have to be on prompt, but the prompts just help me naturally get a story started and have the story grow organically with more ideas. Or I just forget them unless somebody reminds me about them, and I'll stress out to get it done. Don't...
This is great. Your humour really comes through in the writing. My only suggestion would be to break up the big paragraphs to make it easier to read. Other than that it’s awesome. I’m picturing Beth as a Hermione style character, is that on the money?
I'll get to editing as soon as I can. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Beth is Hermione but more anxiety, gayer, and less bossy.
XD This was rofl-worthy and adorable!
Yes. Yes to this story from the start, first because there was 'doomsday' on their calendar, and also, 'class topper with anxiety' is such an underutilized trope. It's usually 'class topper is really mean' or 'class topper has issues'. This was a fine exploration of this character and their hatred of pictures, which I totally forgot until I finished the story and read the prompt. Nicely done!
This is very true, that trope is underused, so I decided to rebirth it back with my story. And yes, doomsday is picture day. Thank you for taking the time to read my stories.
Of course, it's my pleasure!
I can't WAIT to see the next story prompt. The prompts always help me get on my feet to start a story. Creating characters and ideas are as easy as making microwaved mac'n'cheese!
I know right? Characters are easy to come by, it's harder to continue all the good/great ideas you come with
I am an idea generator. Pent up energy is what my entire existence lives on. If I could sell all of my energy, I'd be FILTHY RICH.