“Hey, you okay?” Olivia peered inside of the bathroom. “Go away. I’m fine!” Farina groaned, her face flushed in a deep red. In her hands was a bottle of whiskey. Her breath stank of alcohol, while her hair was a foggy mess resting upon her head. She was curled up against the toilet in Olivia’s apartment, vomiting profusely. They had just gotten back from a party, with Olivia taking out her friend in hopes of cheering her up. Farina had never been much of a drinker herself. Being a lightweight, she only needed one or two shots of anything to feel the buzz. At this point, she had consumed two bottles of whiskey at the party, and was on her first half bottle of tequila, which she had taken back to Olivia’s apartment as a souvenir. Regretting her choice to enable Farina like this, Olivia just patted her friend on the back gently, helping her expel her nausea is as contained a manner as possible. In Farina’s head, all that was running through it was why Jamie could be such an asshole. He attacked her. She honestly thought that he would be different from all of the other douchebags who hit on her regularly. She thought that the Italian-mobster vibe he gave off was just a facade he would use to survive in Wall Street, not his true self. But he was just an ass, mobster or not. He did nothing short of destroy every ounce of her self-esteem that she spent so many years building up. After Joseph publicly humiliated her, it took cutting ties from her past to move forward. Only to end up in the same place again. Feeling violated, betrayed, and just by somebody she genuinely loved. She swore to herself that she would not repeat that same mistake, and feeling embarrassed, alcohol felt like the right solution to run away from her shame.
“Hey there, Farina.” A tall, muscular Asian teen eyed a 12 year-old Farina who was just walking to her next class. “Oh, hey, Joseph.” She smiled shyly at him. She could not lie about having a crush on him, but she would definitely deny it to his face. Joseph was a really attractive guy, well liked because he was nice, smart, and just well-rounded. He was only an eighth grader, but he had already been promised a varsity position in their high school’s varsity football team. Every girl in the school fawned over the possibility of dating him. Which was the main reason why Farina did not want to admit to him she liked him. She did not want to be just like any other girl. So she kept walking. She did not care if it meant passing up somebody who was that attractive. She knew that if they were meant to be, they would become something more without her needing to try. Of course, this was just adolescent logic in the works, where the much younger Farina just assumed that anything and everything that needs to be done would just be handed to her with little to no effort. “Love should be effortless. That’s what true love is.” She reminded herself as she made her way into Algebra. Truth be told, she was not a huge fan of any of her classes. They were all just boring. English, it’s just proving that you could read and regurgitate what other people think and say. Math, it’s just making sure that everything equals other things. Science, you could sometimes blow things up, but when you do, it could get all over your clothes, and you’ll get yelled at, so it was just dangerous. History, please refer to her opinion of English. She knew that she had to think about her future, but she definitely doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Well, at least at that moment. She did model outside of school, but that was not something she wanted to do forever. It was great to get money for just smiling, but that felt boring and unfulfilling.
“Look, I actually really like you.” Joseph looked at a slightly older Farina straight in the eyes. The two freshmen were in their high school cafeteria, during sustained silent reading sitting side by side at one of the tables. “Huh?” Farina raised her eyebrow skeptically. She had no idea why somebody like Joseph Lam, the varsity quarterback, the honors student, the guy literally every girl had a crush on and every guy wanted to be, would be confessing to her. She was this ordinary person at this point; puberty was not too forgiving with her skin, so she was not modeling like she used to in elementary school. She was this shy, awkward, quiet, almost forgettable person next to him. Truth be told, she felt like she had already peaked. Being a child model, featured on various advertisements, magazines, and billboards, But that was already four years ago. She was just an awkward teen, trying to figure out her life. She did not know what she wanted to do. With all of her acne, she felt uncomfortable pursuing a career in modeling at the moment, so she has to figure out alternatives. And knowing all of this, she decided to go against her already confused, conflicted self, and accept his feelings. “I like you too.” She stated, and as those words went through her teeth, she could feel a veil of deceit falling over her. She did not care if she was lying to herself, saying that she liked Joseph, simply because he had qualities that others wanted. She just wanted to know that somebody who was this likable, and popular could like a nobody and has-been like herself. Besides, dating him was more interesting than the classes she was taking anyways. It would be a wonderful distraction from the fact that she had no idea what career she wanted to pursue. But at least everyone in school would know who she is now. She was the girl who Joseph Lam was dating. It was enough recognition for her, anyways.
She was wrong. Farina stormed out of the stadium, furiously. It was the end of the first week of their senior year, and she wished that she did not go to surprise Joseph. She saw him there, off behind the bleachers, making out with Stella. The whore head cheerleader who showed off how skillfully she could spread her legs, both while doing the splits, and towards other men. Farina already felt uneasy knowing that the head cheerleader had those tendencies, and her worst fears were confirmed: Joseph was cheating on her with that slut. She had spent two years with this guy, giving up internship opportunities and extracurriculars to be with him. Literally half of her high school career was spent dating this guy, and he decided that he wanted somebody hotter than her. It was a major wake up call. Washing her face off in the bathroom, she looked up at herself. Still the same pimply, puberty-ridden Farina. That needed to change. Skin treatments, getting her hair done, using make-up, she decided that she needed to be a new her. The rest of high school was a blur. Farina had been taking theatre arts throughout, and in the spring, it was the first time she was offered a lead role as Anna in their production of the King and I. Months of self-beautifying had paid off, with her feeling more confident about herself, inside and out. Even though Joseph, who she had dumped, was sitting in the front of the audience, hoping that she would fail, she did not. She sang, she danced, she played her role without a hitch. Not even she he booed her for coming on stage was Farina fazed. And that was when she realized what she wanted to do. She could not deny liking the attention of being a performer, when she was on the stage. Off the stage, she preferred the quiet, and she knew that she could get that if she wanted to. But there was something about that spotlight and the attention, it was something she was comfortable with. And that was why she applied to be a theater student.