Little Girls: When father gave me carbonated water the taste made my eyeballs ache and my tongue shrivel, electrified, and my nose was stained with the unpleasant taste.
Reckless Girls: But since finding other men, I encountered a naturally racist young Nazi scouting Cambodia who could make me laugh harder than the wind knocking branches at my window on Halloween night.
Love-Sick Girls: It was fishes rippling my ribs, bubbles rising in lemonade tickling my sides, that was laughing with you. Carbonated liquid smiling in my chest.
Curious Girls: When father drove me and mama home on late November nights the street lights used to sprint backwards on the motorway, and if I squinted my eyes hard enough, the moon’s stare used to blend with them until my vision made the lights and the moon-rays appear like UFOs landing on the car roof.
Scared Girls: At 14 the streetlights were still tall and in nightmares they could bend their backs and tap their bulbs onto my bedroom window.
Regretful Girls: And before the council refitted new bulbs the old lamps used to shine different oranges and reds and ochre yellows. It reminded me of grandmother’s fruit-bowl, passed down to my mother. We kept it in a corner in the kitchen. Midges used to eat the apples.
Now the streetlights stain the sky mud.
I never enjoyed growing up.
Successful Girls: When I finished paying off my bills, I looked up at the sky and figured, I was here, countless of bullies had bruised me with the belief I wouldn’t be. I hung up my cashmere coat, and with it, hung my old enemies by the neck on my doorstep.
Mean Girls: Uncle would come round on New Year’s. I used to go to the bathroom when the doorbell rang. I could feel his fingernails digging into my skin again. His hands were always muddy, and his fingers fat. He never cut his nails. They were long and yellow. His breath was peppermint and cigarettes, and he flashed a crocodile smile and handed my parents my Christmas present. It was always a box of chocolate orange cremes. When I was little, I used to love them. I told him they were my favourite, before I grew tits and became pretty.
A new girl brought them in one day and at lunchtime I beat her face in.
Her face reminds me of my own when my Uncle has to look after me after school.
Lonely Girls: My boyfriend’s always out. He comes back smelling of somebody else’s kisses. Forget Chanel. I can smell the lust on him. Like roses. I grew like a weed in the sinews of his heart, and I pace the floor on Friday nights, checking my phone, spying on the clock. The TV blares into the night and the cold can of beans festers on the carpet. That’s me, Apartment 3A, Orlean Heights, on 9th. I smoke so much I’ve turned yellow like the Moon. Little does he know I’m smoking his side chick into the night.
Mentally-Unfit Girls: The Devil’s on the inside of my brain, and he is saying “scratch, scratch” into the night, burning his tongue on my forehead, licking my tissues, lapping up my blood like milk. If I cut and cut and cut my face, he bleeds out in the form of my mother’s ghost.
Teenage Girls: But Daddy, I hate him!
Fat Girls: My gut’s bigger than ever before. Can I carve the words “lose weight” into my brain? No? My arm will have to do.
Thin Girls: My head’s so small that my Princess crown won’t fit my head. Can I carve the words “lanky bitch” into my heart? No? My arm will have to do.
Old Girls: Such is life. “Raised by parabolic dunes”, Grandmother. Here I am, sat by his side on the porch, drinking lemonade, surrounded by all our children and grandchildren.
Heartbroken Girls: That’s the way of the heart. You can easily snake it around your fingers, hand somebody the key and they will lace you into their lips. They lace your heart with themselves. Drugs are good. You took yourself away from me, no more high. I just want to drink your blood, baby.
Vain Girls: Grew the fuck up, and found out that Santa has orgies with his elves on Christmas Day. Biggest orgy of the season. Carbonated water’s bad for you. Anything with “carb” in front of it is bad for you.
Big Girls: I still hate carbonated water. Oh, to be little again. I wear nighties now, contemplate my pay cheques, try to eat lots of fruit, avoid walking at night when the streetlights are on, don’t date anybody, and just generally try to forget how easy it used to be.
I want an exercise book for everything in life. Let me practise and give me a gold star.