Today wouldn't be any different.
This wouldn't be another one of those days. She had prepared for this, prepared her brain for instances like this.
Her breaths turned shallow and quick. But she was in control; everything would be okay. She'd make it out of here easily—like everybody else—calm and in an orderly fashion.
Kel repeated the hopeful words in mind while focusing on the wide mirror in front of her. "You're fine. Keep it together. You're in public. You've done your job...had a good run. Time to go home." She pushed stubborn strands of hair away from her cheeks, ignoring the anxiety welling up in her eyes.
Her hand clasped the edge of the cold sink as she tried to stop the voices. They weren't exactly voices, though...more like, unwanted thoughts that threaten her sanity. Her lips wrinkled into a frustrated frown as her paper—white reflection stared back at her.
The wipes her fingers crumpled dampened her skin with a coolness her dazed senses could barely register. Kel rubbed the foundation off her face and the swift, repetitive strokes started to chafe some color on her cheeks.
Two opening shows yesterday, one closing for this afternoon, and all went well. Typical work day—round—the—clock schedule, consecutive shows, nonstop changing and dressing up. Her feet and back were killing her but at least she didn't trip or fall off the catwalk.
It had been her routine for three straight weeks now, including the work days she had to get up at 5AM to travel to the city for castings and fittings. Kel sighed. If she had other options, she'd quit in a heartbeat and find an easier job. But that wouldn't pay off her family's bank loans and credit card bills, would it?
As she leaned against the cold sink, a massive headache weakening her muscles started bleeding her patience dry. If this wasn't an escalating anxiety attack, then why did she feel like passing out on the floor right now?
Because you're weak...
Always been, always will be...
You're nothing but a stupid, gullible, pathetic wannabe...
"Greetings, Ms. Nielsen.
We have received your application letter and regret to inform you that your application has been disqualified due to inconsistencies we have observed on your personal information sheet. We also failed to verify the birth records you have attached to your application files.
UCMLE's scholarship committee reserves the right to reject an application if false information has been provided. Scholarship grants awarded by UCMLE's committee are limited and are on a first come, first serve basis. Providing false or incomplete information on the application forms will immediately result in the applicant's disqualification. Charges of larceny and forgery may also be filed against applicants who knowingly provided false details in the scholarship application forms.
Should you have any concerns regarding this matter, our administrative department will be available Monday to Friday during office hours to provide any assistance, but we cannot guarantee that every request will be honored.
We wish you good luck on your future endeavors.
UCMLE SC Head Office"
It might have taken three re—reads and half an hour before the shock lessened to a manageable degree, only to let the disappointment and reality sink in.
Dropping the impeccably folded paper on her lap, Kel hunched over on the toilet seat cover, put off by the scrupulous people behind this disappointing act of rejection. She didn't open the letter until she was sure she'd no longer have to face her employers or agents today.
The letter had to wait. She put it off all night and all morning. She focused first on the jobs she had to do today.
All she had hoped for since those weeks of prepping the vexing amount of scholarship requirements, until today, was to be given a chance—a chance to join the list of scholarship awardees, and a chance to make her academic goals a reality this year.
UCMLE, a prestigious international school known to support local and foreign undergrads, provided the much coveted medical scholarship programs to those who qualified and met their exigent criteria. She had been waiting patiently for months. Long, tiring, anxious months.
A positive response was what she expected, of course. However, fate seemed to have a different plan for her future.
Modeling was a temporary thing, just a means to support herself financially for the time being, really. Not getting any younger and a lifelong career in the modeling industry? Moving to the North Pole would be less impossible.
A bachelor's degree in the field of study she'd chosen remained her ultimate goal. But it seemed the odds weren't in her favor.
Not yet, perhaps. She would try again, but that would mean she was out—and—out desperate. Maybe she should just go home and try her luck in other colleges?
That would mean she had to take weeks off work, though. It would cost her more time and money. Although her mom and dad would be glad to help out, she wouldn't dare ask them for help. They had enough bills to worry about.
Money was becoming an issue these days, seeing as her dad was in and out of the hospital again, battling respiratory complications his illness had once again triggered. Kel sighed and composed a short prayer in her head.
God willing, her dad's current condition would improve in the coming months. Rather unlikely, but they still prayed for his health to improve after this fourth hospitalization. The constant prayers might just work.
Her eyes shut tight while her palms covered her face, and before she could finish the prayers in her head, shrill noises broke off her thoughts. Another text.
"Mykaela? You there? Kel?"
"Yeah," Kel sighed. The familiar female voice made her relax her fist and momentarily forget about her unsettling thoughts. The oddly painful sensation in her gut told her it wasn't going away anytime soon. She should be used to this type of rejection by now, given the nature of her current job, but the constricting feeling in her chest wouldn't go away.