small town girls




Girls On Film
by Seana Renay

Chloe has another wall of pictures, but she's never shown this one to Pete or Clark.

It's on the back wall of her closet, hidden by the rack of brightly colored clothes.

She has to order all her clothes now, because there's no decent place to shop in Smallville. She gets dozens of catalogues every month, the kind they advertise in teen girl magazines, the ones with anorexic beauty queens in tee shirts with cute slogans posing on the pages. The kind with fashion advice and boy advice and how-to-be-homecoming-queen advice, and articles on whatever was hip when it went to press but has inevitably been played out by the time it hits mailboxes. The kind that strive so hard for processed cool that it's really pretty pathetic, and she feels sad for buying into it.

Shopping out of those catalogues is a betrayal of her values. But they have cute shoes, and who said fifteen year old girls had to have values anyway?

Well ... she did. But sometimes it's hard to be above all the average teenage concerns. Sometimes it's lonely.

When next month's catalogue comes in the mail, she sits on her bed with a pair of scissors and diligently cuts last month's to pieces. Traces the blades around the flawless models, the Hollywood it-girls of the moment, the shiny teen dream pop stars.

Girls who look like they were churned out fully formed at the prettier-than-you factory.

Out of the catalogue, onto the wall.

But these cut-out pictures only line the edges. A frame of girl perfection.

In the middle, immediately discernible from the glossy crinkled paper dolls, are the real pictures. The ones she snapped herself, infinitely discreet, at school or at the Crows' games she maintains she attends only for the latest scoop.

It's partly true.

The other part is a collage on her closet wall.

The other part is Lana.

All right, so maybe it's a little twisted. But it's not like Chloe worships her and it's not like she's going to pull a Columbine either. She doesn't like to think that part of it is jealousy, but really, who's she kidding? Sure, it would be nice to be beautiful instead of cute. It would be nice to be normal instead of quirky. It would be nice to be perfect instead of ... whatever she is.

And as much as she hates to admit it, it would be nice if Clark stumbled on his own feet whenever she smiled at him.

Most of the time, that's all it is. Those are her reasons, weird as they ever are. But she's inquisitive by nature and sometimes she can't shake the feeling that there's more to it than that. She generally doesn't let herself think about it for too long. She's also got a feeling that anything she figures out won't go a long way toward making her life easier.

So Chloe has a wall of pictures of everything she's not. Everything she can't have.

It's not like she really wants it anyway.