She was the only Marilyn in seven hundred and fifty girls. In her class there were four Susans, three Annes and some Janes, Janets and Janices, but her name set her apart. It was modern, with an aura of sophistication – even though she wondered why her parents had called her Marilyn at all, if they wanted to treat her like a Jane and insist that school rules about make-up and uniform were there to be obeyed.
But when she came home at four o’clock each day, her mother would ignore the brown mascara she’d applied to her lashes in the Girls’ Toilets before registration, as if she only saw what she expected or wanted to see: a good girl who happened to be blonde. Marilyn made sure the school skirt with its rolled-over waistband was always lowered to skim her knees as she stepped off the bus, but she didn’t tell anyone at school just how old-fashioned her parents were – or even how old. In twin sets and pleated nylon skirts, her mother might as well have been a gran; even the younger teachers wore shifts that showed their thighs. Marilyn would never waste herself like that. She was going to flaunt what she’d got.
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