Horse Head

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The shop, aptly named
'Glitzy Glamor,' is exactly
what I had expected it to be:
chintzy plastic jewels,
layers of tiaras and
cheap feather boas,
and of course, the hordes
of pre-teens all squealing
over whatever they think
is well worth their time
shopping for.
And, of course,
practically everything is
some shade of pink.
Not that pink is
a very bad color, but it
is definitely an eyesore
in this large a quantity.

Maybe I would have liked this place
had I been introduced to it
about four years ago, but
at the current age of fifteen,
it just makes me cringe.

While I poke around
at nothing in particular,
Seth makes a beeline for
the racks of tacky hats
on the far wall.
Internally, I groan
as he spins around,
a brow raised as he
waits for my reaction to
the outlandish sombrero
he's gotten ahold of.
he asks with a grin.
"How do I look?"

I mutter, fully occupied
with pawing through the
fake jewelry in a basket
across from him.
"Mexico called, and they
want their hat back."

"Ha, ha, very funny."
Seth simply
rolls his eyes at me
before turning back
to his hat-searching.
Meanwhile, something
near the bottom of the plastic pile
catches my attention
for a split second.
It's one of those
cheap friendship bracelets
that thirteen-year-olds
think is absolutely necessary
to claim their 'best friends.'
This one is gold-colored, while
the next one I come across
is coated in silver paint.
The charm on each
reads one half of
'best friends.'
How cliché.

"What about this one?"
I hear a second later.
With an exasperated sigh,
I spin around
to face Seth again -
and stare.
In place of his face,
and his entire head, for that matter,
is one of those huge
rubber horse head masks,
the ones with the
bulging eyes and
half open mouth.
He has his hands on his hips,
probably trying to
look heroic or something.

"We should definitely
get Nat one of these,"
comes his muffled,
disembodied voice
a moment later.
"I'll bet she doesn't
have one of these."

"Well, yeah -
even she wouldn't wear
something so ridiculous."
But I can help the giggles
that escape me as he
strikes pose after pose,
looking idiotic in
the middle of the store.
I protest between laughs,
"everyone's looking at you,
you're making a fool
of yourself."

At that, he does stop -
but not for long.
"Kiss me,"
he insists
with mock seriousness,
leaning forward so that
the snout of his
horse mask is only
a couple inches from my face.
"Kiss me, Matty."

"You're an idiot,"
I grumble, still trying
my hardest to keep
from laughing any more.
"Take that stupid
thing off your head -
I'm still trying to find
something to get for Nat."

Reluctantly, he acquiesces,
putting his mask back
on the rack again.
His hair is standing on end now
after being pressed down
by the horse head for so long;
it forms a wild halo
around his ears as he
moves to join me
by the jewelry bins.
"A friendship bracelet?"
he asks when he
catches sight of the
piece I'm still holding.
"That's almost as bad
as the horse head."

"Not quite,"
I retort.
"And I was just looking.
It reminds me of when
I was younger."

Back in elementary school,
I'd had a best friend
whose name was Chelsea.
We had been inseparable
since the second grade,
and our friendship had lasted
up through the end of fifth grade.
It was around that time
that things got
a little weird between us -
or more like
I started getting weird
around her, I guess.
It kind of reminds me
of the way I get
around Natalia sometimes,
the way my heart thumps
really erratically and
my palms get all sweaty and gross.

I guess she noticed that,
because she started to
grow away from me,
made new friends and
found excuses not to
sit with me at lunch as much.
She'd gone to a different
middle school in sixth grade,
though, so I hadn't really
thought much of it after,
especially as we hadn't
seen each other since.
Even so, I still
have the bracelet she gave me
somewhere in my closet.
It looks a little like
this one, actually.

"If you're going
for cheap and overdone,"
Seth interrupts my
train of thought
a moment later,
"then that is definitely
the perfect gift.
She won't even realize
that it's made of plastic
and glitter, probably."

"Shut up,"
I mutter, shoving him
with my free hand.
Considering he's so much
bigger and stronger
than I am, it really
doesn't do much
other than make him laugh.
My face starts to burn
with embarrassment after a second.
I say at last,
"I'm getting it.
And I'll get one
for myself, too,
because there's no point
in hers being lonely."

That only makes him
laugh all the harder,
and it's all I can do
to keep my composure enough
to march over to the cashier
and make my purchase
without stammering too horribly.
Not that that works,
considering I always
end up messing up
in situations like this,
but we eventually escape the store
relatively unscathed.
Little to my surprise,
Seth ends up buying
the stupid horse head.

"It's gonna be
the best gift she gets
all day tomorrow,"
he swears to me
as we head back outside
into the winter cold.
"Just you wait -
she'll be so excited
that it'll be the only thing
she cares about all evening.
She won't even
notice your present."

"So, are you
going to put it
on your head
to give it to her,
or wrap it as is?"
I ask dryly.
"It'll be a lot scarier
if she opens the box
and sees you with
a brand new head.
It'll haunt her for
the rest of her life.
More of a Halloween gift
than a birthday gift,
but since it's Natalia
we're talking about..."

His resulting laughter
can probably be heard
clear across the parking lot.


I don't know what this chapter is, honestly. I was half asleep writing it, so. I more or less just got some crazy ass ideas and threw them in for the hell of it because I couldn't come up with a decent gift for Matty to get Nat. Whatever. It'll be okay, Mack, just calm down....

If you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and leave me some feedback! It would be very much appreciated <3

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