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just a picture of a cloud
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
[Georgia Lee Day, continuing from Silence is Golden]

The ground was wet, though the skies were clear. It was louder outside, but the sound was ambient and indistinct. White noise. Georgia Lee blocked it out.

She'd always gone outside, when she'd needed to clear her head. It was a habit she'd picked up young, born of living in a small house with too many people. There was precious little privacy to be found in 600-odd square feet, and it was safer, always safer, to venture outdoors. There were less distractions, it was easier to calm yourself, and if you couldn't manage that, then at least there were less eyes around to see it.

The memories were of little comfort to Georgia Lee. She didn't feel any connection with her younger self: the girl she recalled was like a stranger to her, like someone she'd seen in a dream, or a film a long time ago. The thought of herself running out to the garden, where her tormentors' voices couldn't reach her, filled her with a strange mixture of pride and shame. Shame, that she had been so weak. Pride, that she wasn't anymore.

Yet hadn't she done just that? Surely, if she had any strength, she would have stood up for herself, confronted Fiyori. She had the right of it, she knew that. The rules were on her side, and her request had been more than reasonable. That she had kept an even, steady pace walking out was just a matter of semantics. She’d run, and anyone who might have been watching the little scene would know that. She’d let some... some moron get under her skin with a word he wasn't even using correctly, and then she'd turned tail and ran like the scared little girl she'd worked so hard not to be.

Georgia Lee realized her breathing was fast. There was a picnic table nearby, and she sat down at it. She was feeling a little unsteady. Disturbed, perhaps.

Was it the pressure? Usually she thrived under it, but maybe it'd simply become too much. She was afraid she wouldn't make it, didn't have what it took to get into Columbia, and now she was flailing around for excuses. She'd let herself get distracted because she wanted to be distracted, because it would be so much easier to not get in and say "oh, see here, this was because of Ty Yazzie". Better that, much better, than to stay the course, try her heart out and simply not be good enough.

Was that what was happening, here? Was she really that weak? All feelings of pride were gone, as Georgia Lee regarded herself with outright disgust. Taking her phone from the front pocket of her bag, she examined her face in the blank, black screen. Her eyes were dry, and clear. Her makeup was intact. She looked strong.

In that, at least, she could take some comfort.

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