Hannah threw her head back, tried not to think about it and swallowed desperately. She felt around with her tongue and found that she'd managed to swallow the Paracetemol, at last. It was beginning to leave a nasty taste in her mouth. 'Third time lucky!' She swallowed what little water there was left in the glass, grabbed an apple and trudged back upstairs to her half-done homework.
The row downstairs hadn't so much as paused since she interrupted. The neighbours would probably have migraines by now, let alone a headache.
"But Jill's mum let her! And Sophie's and Jade's and Lucy's! And Katie's, and you know what Katie's mum's like!"
The script of the argument hadn't changed much since Louise hadn't had her ears pierced for her thirteenth birthday. She had been at her mum about it since she was seven, and she was fourteen now. Hannah was twelve, but she was leaving it to Louise, it was so much easier.
"For the last time, NO!"
"It's not natural for young girls to go round punching holes in their ears!"
"Yes it is, in loads of trobes they do!"
"You're such a *****, Mum!"
"Go to your room! I'm not standing for that sort of language!"
"I'm not two years old!" Louise stormed upstairs. Hannah sighed with relief. Louise jerked at the drawer and it nearly flew across the room. She grabbed the needle, and without wincing stuck it through her left earlobe, then her right.
But even when the diamonds were glittering triumphantly in the mirror, Louise only had a negative feeling of joy in the fact that her ears were well and truly pierced. Disobeying her Mum had wrecked it somehow.
"And your mum still doesn't know?" Jill was incredulous.
"After two days?," chimed in Lucy. Louise had told them just before registration. So far it was the hot gossip of the day in their form. Unfortunatly Miss Belloe, their form tutor, was slightly more tuned in than Louise's mum. Two pairs of earrings were not allowed and Louise had had to take her first pair out. It was three months and her fifteenth birthday after her last ding-dong over the first pair of earrings, both of which she had done herself. Yet, she still wasn't really happy with them. She kept telling herself that they were her ears and she could do what she wanted to them. But her delight in the earring was marred by her parent's disapproval.
It was five months later that she became bored with her ears again. After consulting with her friends she picked up her needle again and stuck it through the top of her right ear. She gasped with pain and yanked the needle out. It stung even more. She remembered what people had said about ice-cubes before doing it. Too late now. She put an earring in it and tried to forget about it. But it persisted, like her Mum arguing. It was almost as if her Mum were there in her ear, punishing her. Louise did her best to bathe round her earring. She even tried Paracetemol, but the pain wouldn't die. Her friends sympathised and suggested leaving the ring out, but she never did.
Eventually, after days of lost sleep, it began to weaken from thousands of daggers to several wasp bee stings and gradually it becamepins and needles, enraged when touched. It was at this stage when her sixteenth birthday arrived. She approachd her Mum with a certain caution and resentfulness. She was going to do this maturely. Her mum was alone in the living room, the radio keeping her company. She was reading some magazine or other. Louise drew in a deep breath.
"Mum, I'm sixteen now, legally allowed to my ears pierced without parental consent. Please will you leave me alone now?" The question hung.
"I suppose so. Louise, I'm sorry."
Coursework, 15 years old.