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Zombie Girl is in the bathroom again when I walk in. She’s always there, standing in front of the last sink next to the tampon dispensers pretending to fix her hair. She watches me through the mirror as I enter the stall in the corner, the one the light doesn’t reach, the one no one’s supposed to look at. I try to avoid glancing at her as I slip in and out of the cafeteria restrooms each lunch period each day. 
I don’t know Zombie Girl’s real name, but she must know me. She haunts the neighborhood next to mine and glares resentfully at me as she steps onto the bus on cold mornings when I can’t walk the mile or so to school. She whispers things three seats behind me to an old, forsaken friend of mine and I curl up so my head can’t be seen over the back of my row. She stares balefully when I pass her in the halls. I wonder if I wronged her in a past life, or maybe a long time ago when we were children and I just can’t recall. 
Zombie Girl is grey, with a doughy, definitely-not-alive face and dull eyes. I think maybe she wants to eat someone’s soul and her sluggish zombie instincts have led her to me. She is strange, angry at a world that dares to include me in it, and I can’t help skulking fearfully away whenever she walks by. 

A few days pass and Zombie Girl still finds herself in the bathroom at the same time as me. I tell my sister about this, slightly worried. My sister doesn’t know or remember her either. She tells me it’s probably nothing, that Zombie Girl just gives that expression to everyone else, too. 
“Maybe she’s just tired. Maybe you’re imagining it.” 
I try to listen to her advice. I lay low and begin to convince myself that her sour expression isn’t meant for me.
Then a friend of mine sends me a text. 
‘Wanna know something weird? There’s this girl at Mason’s lunch table who absolutely hates you.”
I’m taken aback, confused about who it might be, about why that might be. 
'She keeps ranting about you, saying things about how nasty you are. She seems convinced that you’re a player just because you dated her ex.'
I’m mildly uncomfortable now, to say the least. He gives me a name I can put a face to and I put two and two together with a little help from last year’s yearbook. Zombie Girl’s emotionless grin glares back at me from the little colored photo. I don’t know what to do, so I sit there and stare at it and try not to freak out. I try to stop the irrational thoughts flowing through my brain. You know what gossip can do to a person’s reputation. 
I don’t have much of a reputation, so I tell myself that everything’s fine. I have friends who know me better than a creepy zombie girl’s word. I push down my worries, convince myself that opinions are okay, that maybe she thinks I’m mean because she’s just jealous. It’s finally enough to stop the fear. So I go back to school knowing, at least, why Zombie Girl stares hatefully at me. If there’s a reason, I tell myself, it’s less creepy. 
When I walk into the bathroom at lunch, as always, Zombie Girl comes in a few minutes later. I wonder how long she’ll keep up this baleful glaring, expending the energy to be furious at me. I wonder when something will change. But instead of saying anything, I avoid her gaze, hide my nervous mistrust, act natural, keep going, because apparently I have to live with Zombie Girl’s anger now. I’ve never really been good at those post-apocalyptic survival games, though. 


Edited by WanderingMonster
  • Like 1

constantly confused

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