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Anything in a skirt

A satirical creative writing piece on the toxic lessons that are taught from such a young age. 

Dear Parents and Carers, Another twelve-year-old has been kidnapped. In light of this, as a school we encourage students to carry pepper spray and get their black belt. A little reminder: whilst students should show teachers that they’re listening by maintaining eye contact, please do not make eye contact with strangers, as this may be taken as an invitation. 

 I walk myself home from school – simultaneously the love-perspiring girl in the pop socks and the suited date with the supermarket flowers (who kisses her on the cheek in her porch, chaste). I’m sixteen and I can look after myself. Older, now. Faster.  

We are proud to display the British values of tolerance, as clearly evident by our diverse school brochure. Isn’t it wonderful, that some are so very different?  

I’m the poster girl, even if they put me at the back of the picture. My friends wait for me to laugh – each time they make a joke about my Asian eyes and my Asian name (the easy things). Their clotted, sugared pupils drip with persuasion. Perspiration. I want to mop their brow, but they just want me to prove that it’s allowed. I force a laugh. They get what they want – permission. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?  

Exciting news! Our new uniform policy will be enforced, under the ethos of: your legs are as cold as your heart. Girls, you must take responsibility. For those who can’t help themselves, the possibility of seeing up skirts is a dangerous temptation. So, please see attached our guide on recommended sitting positions. 

The sky darkens in the afternoon, so the streetlamps shudder with acidic light. I hold the port railings – they’ve been a surrogate since I was a kid – and push my chin into the neck of my coat. To not let standards slip, I yank my skirt up. Feel for my thighs, ensure it’s not too high, not too low. Just right. 

We do appreciate that the non-discriminatory policy many have adopted of loving (to put it mildly) ‘anything in a skirt’ may be undergoing some issues. Please remember, if you’re a victim, you’re tarnishing our image. It is your fault.  

The water pulsates soft and deep, like spasms of butterflies. They’re gilt with wings in the water. It’s still light, just. I speed up, must make it home to Mum.  

Some students have been playing the ‘divorced parents card’ to get out of doing homework, by saying they left it at their other house. In the real world, you can’t take a holiday from life. Or homework.  

Dad used to buy me Coca-Cola from the chippy behind me. Made me swear I wouldn’t grow any older.  

He stopped the soft drinks habit when he left us. Better for my teeth.  

The teacher’s smile is a tattoo when I hand in my homework, because I’ve got no distractions. Like a father.

Our final reminder is to stay safe and keep on turning up.

I’m learning. 

By Mei Kawagoe

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