Who is that girl? A bloody quick walker, we decide. Constantly pacing uphill, phone in one hand, striding up a near vertical street like the pavement is a conveyor belt. The iconic look is sealed in the puffer jacket and flares and branded trainers. The colours are clashing a little, with delicate purpose. Her makeup is light, and her earrings are not. Brutal blonde sits into brown roots.
It is one evening in the attic room, with the heating turned up high, in between scented candles and floating procrastination, that we discover we all know her. Each one of us is so very familiar with the girl but we all suggest different names. Our collaborative description makes us giggle, our image of her is so precise. We see her often.
The pinnacle of our inquest into the phenomenon of this girl is her voice. It’s gravelly and raspy, decidedly Southern – the voice pegged as “posh” before the second vowel sound careers towards you from her lips – and much lower than expected. She speaks decisively, daring you to disagree, somehow drawling but with purpose. She makes vacant suggestions in class, coated in loud airs of being profound. A voice of cigarettes and late nights? Or perhaps even a sort of accent, the mark of a tribe somewhere ‘down South’?
We wrinkle our noses, quiet at last, individually thinking of her incarnations. Perhaps she’s the one they’ll put in the history books. The girl of now, the face of our generation. God, she must work hard to keep up the image for all of us, maintaining our edges, keeping them sharp like her spiky lashes. She is everywhere, but she cannot be everyone. Her statute drags us along with her, and we trip behind her battered Adidas.