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She hated that dumb, huge elephant.

It stood there, looming over her, peering at her with beady eyes. It wasn’t that he was ugly; no, he was the most beautiful creature she’s ever seen. The elephant reminded her of beautiful things and beautiful people, ivory tusks, long trunk, moonlight shining onto clean dashboards and staring up at a vast expanse of smog and sky. She had a very bad feeling about the elephant, though, and she hated bad feelings more than she hated herself. And she didn’t love herself too much.

“Well?” the elephant spoke.

“Well, what?” she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest. She subconsciously examined herself, wondering what she must’ve looked like in the elephant’s eyes – tousled, long hair, messy eyeliner and mascara, her shirt riding up over an extra ten pounds, dirty sneakers. She looked like shit, she knew. The elephant chuckled, his trunk reaching out to smooth her hair down.

“Why are you so nervous?”

“I’m not nervous.”

“Sure you aren’t.” And as if he couldn’t surprise her more, he rolled his eyes at her. “I thought you were alright.”

“I am, okay? You’re just… you’re just hovering. Like a helicopter.”

“Wow, nice comeback. When did you go back to the first grade?” The elephant smirked at her, and she had the strongest urge to slap it – although that would probably have no effect on him whatsoever.

“It’s been awhile,” she mumbled finally, looking up at the elephant sadly. In his eyes, she saw a reflection of her own – sad, guilty and vulnerable. Ugh, she hated being vulnerable. Vulnerable meant splotchy red cheeks and eyes, a swollen throat and a clogged nose, matched with three runs of The Holiday and Titanic. Vulnerable meant admitting that she wasn’t okay, but she was – really.

“Well, exactly, dearest. It’s been a while.” The elephant looked at her pointedly. “Quite frankly, I don’t understand why I’m even here.”

“He probably sent you.”

“No, sweetheart, you did. It really just looks like he wants to talk to you and make friends.”

“Ugh, go away.”

“I’ll only go if you say you’re going to be okay and actually mean it.” The elephant brushed his trunk against her cheek, an endearing gesture for a sarcastic bastard like he was. She nodded, not saying anything. With a triumphant smile, the elephant awkwardly turned on his heel and walked away.

Left in his place was him, approaching her from across the room. “Hey,” he murmured gently, tucking his hands in his jean pockets. “Uh… how are you?”

She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding in. “I’m going to be okay.”

And she meant it.