I do not dare remove my gaze from the plate of food in front of me as I eat mechanically, bite by tiny bite, so that anyone who looks at me won't think that I'm completely disgusting, only a lot. Yes, I know that the other diners are probably more focused on their own meals than at me - the short, overweight chick with severe acne who is chowing down on fries like a robot. That doesn't stop me from feeling as if a hundred pairs of eyes are scrutinizing my every move, waiting for me to make a mistake somehow. I could almost snort with laughter at the thought. How the hell do you 'make a mistake' while eating? By shoving a chip in your ear? I highly doubt I'm that stupid. But still I feel the anxiety. The hot feeling in my neck. The constant fear that someone might laugh at me simply for breathing. I constantly have to keep reminding myself that I'm not in high school anymore. Noone is going to start openly making fun of me.

You're out of that hellish place now, Laura. Gone are the days when the only 'friends' you had were a couple of beautiful monsters who only kept you around so that they could belittle you.

I smile ruefully as I relive the horror of those dark days in my mind, amazed at how cruel some people can be and how weak I was, at how weak I still am. I mean, it's been two years since I finished high school. I'm now in my final year of sixth-form and I'm happier than I've ever been, but that really isn't saying much. To this day, I hate what I see in the mirror and would give anything to look half as good as my former tormentors. I didn't choose to be born ugly. I wouldn't have chosen a misshapen nose, beady eyes and wiry hair for myself. Some people just have all the luck. I swallow the last bite of my food and the familiar feeling of relief rushes through me. Now I won't have to be so self-conscious... for a while.