Bright Star

Sitting in Khan’s office, I feel like a little girl. I’m killing time while he works. I’ve stopped looking out of the window. There’s no point in pining over all the things I can’t do. It’s not as if I’d really be able to do them anyway. The minute I stepped foot outside, someone would recognise me which would be fine at first but then there’d be somebody else and somebody else and somebody else. Pretty soon, I’d be finding it hard to breathe. I’m all for talking to the people that buy my music but at some point it just becomes impossible.

Maybe, though, I’ve never actually tried hard enough to be invisible. If my renegade show proved one thing, it’s that I am able to blend into the crowd after all. How have I never realised that before? I think about it. I mean, I guess at first I liked being noticed so I never exactly tried to dress down. I had so many new clothes and so much cool makeup and all these unbelievable hairstyles. It was exciting going out looking like that. I loved the hoo-ha.  And, back then, even the feeling of Khan’s hand on my back, shoving me away from ‘danger’ and towards a waiting car gave me a buzz. Like I was important enough to be looked after. In some sense, I suppose I’d been waiting my whole life to feel that way.

Now, though, I can’t stand Khan being anywhere near me. Which only makes this situation even more fucked up. I tried so hard to escape his clutches and yet here I am more absolutely in his grasp than ever. I look up at him from where I’m sitting on the floor with my legs crossed, but he doesn’t see me glaring in his direction. He might be good at doling out all that passive aggressive shit but try it on him and he doesn’t even notice. It’s one of the zillion things I hate about Khan – it’s pretty much impossible to fuck with him. As long as I’m on his lead, I can be as stroppy as I want. He couldn’t care less.

We can’t go on like this forever, though, can we? Not that it would be forever. I’ll pass my sell-by date in a few years. When exactly, I’m not sure. What age does a teen popstar generally expire? When they’re not a teen anymore? Well, that’s not so bad. I’ll be twenty in six months. I grimace in Khan’s direction again. There’s no way this will all be over in half a year.

I need to stop thinking these thoughts. I’m spending more and more of my time going around in circles that start nowhere and end up in exactly the same place. I flick through my phone. There’s only one person that can really make me feel better at the moment.

Kim Petras.

The more I listen to her music, the more I realise that not all pop stars live like I do. That not all of them get kept in a box like me and only let out for special occasions. Even when Kim’s giving some guy her heart to break, it feel like that’s her decision, that there’s no way he’d be able to break it unless she allowed it.

In my songs, I’m always way more of a victim. Or – at best – a second-class citizen. I am definitely not the boss. Ever. If someone’s going to break my heart, I can pretty much guarantee I’ll have no choice in the matter. It’s like the people who write my songs fucking hate me. They love seeing me emotionally mauled more than they love anything else. They especially enjoy it when it’s a man with loads of money who screws me over. But really it can be any man. Listen to my back catalogue. I’ve been fucked over by as many rude boys as rich ones.

Somehow when I watch Kim’s videos, like I’m doing now, she just doesn’t seem as beaten-up or as subordinate as me.

She makes me believe in a better life.

I’m going to get me one of those.

I am.

Start N-N-N-N-Nineteen from chapter 1.