Monica McPhearson is 5'2'', has braces, glasses, hair that is impossible to get the knots out of, and worst of all is just starting 7th grade. Yes, you heard right, 7th grade. Needless to say, each day of Monica's life seems to be a battle...not against her teachers, the popular girls, the bullies, or even the family in which she is the fourth sibling out of nine children (with another on the way), but rather Monica's life is a battle against herself and the way she interacts with all these dif
Monica McPhearson is 5'2'', has braces, glasses, hair that is impossible to get the knots out of, and worst of all is in 7th grade. Yes, you heard right, the 7th grade.
It was already three weeks into the school year and while Monica wouldn't exactly say things had been going well, she so far had been able to avoid any complete disasters. Avoiding disasters--that was the goal. Monica just wanted to slip through life without being noticed. For to not be noticed at all was better than being noticed for one's flaw (or at least that is what Monica's best friend Gracie Glosser always said). It made sense to Monica, so that was the goal; to go unnoticed.
At home it was pretty easy to do. Being one of nine kids (and in a few months just one of ten kids) Monica was an expert at going unnoticed. She was the fourth McPhearson child.
Monica's oldest sibling, Rachel, was perfect. She had long, dark shiny hair, beautiful sparking wide eyes and perfect teeth. Donny, the second McPhearson kid, was far from perfect, but we was smart. He got straight A's, went to nationals last year in debate and was already preparing his portfolio for Harvard even though he was only a sophomore in high school. The third McPhearson sibling, Douglas, was great at all sports. He had made the varsity football, basketball and baseball teams even though he was only a freshman, and played lacrosse, tennis, racquetball, badminton, and even golf during his spare time, and excelled in all of it.
What was Monica's special talent--being invisible. She was rarely criticized at home. Her grades were ok, she could dribble a basketball alright if she concentrated and she rarely misbehaved, but she was rarely praised either. She was always just kind of there.
At school she was almost as good at being invisible. In fact she was so good at it that people ran into her a lot in the hallways. Not being a very graceful person (and not one to ever learn her lesson that this was something that was going to continue to happen to her), Monica would often drop her books or bump into the lockers when hit by passersby in the hall, but the other students usually didn't even notice they had hit her, despite the fact that there was often collateral damage to show that indeed they had.
Such was Monica's life. Sometimes Monica wasn't sure if Gracie was right. Was it really best to not ever be noticed? Monica thought about girls like Lily Thompkins or Janelle Smith who everyone noticed. What was it about them that made everyone pay so much attention to them? Monica had a few guesses.
Monica would often stop and look at herself in the mirror. A duck. A lot of times Monica would think about what type of animal people at school looked most like. Lily was like a swan. Janelle was like a graceful siamese cat. Gracie was like a small grey fieldmouse, and she, Monica McPhearson looked like a duck. She blamed it largely on the fact that her braces accentuated her already oddly far-in-the-front-of-her-face mouth, her big nose and her beedy little eyes. She felt like her knotty, dull hair which she often kept in a ponytail because she didn't know what else to do with it didn't help things either.
It was after one of these bathroom mirror sympathy sessions at school that Monica's track record of almost three weeks without a disaster came to an end. She was too busy thinking about what animal goals she might want her appearance to aspire to. She didn't want to set the standards at something unrealistic like a swan. No, that was far to out of reach. Maybe a platypus was a good mid-range goal for now.
Monica, lost in thought, didn't notice the wet floor sign as she exited the bathroom, nor did she notice the pool of spilled soda (the reason there had been a wet floor sign!), nor did she noticed....WHOOSH! SMACK! GROAN.
The WHOOSH! was the sound of Monica catching a little air as she fell backwards, having tried to step right where the slippery soda was, SMACK! was the sound of Monica's head hitting the hard floor of the school hallway. GROAN, was the sound Monica made, not out of pain, but because as she readjusted her glasses she realized that one of the faces looking down at her, with a mixture of stunned surprise and sympathy, was Bradley Brahm, the cutest boy in the 7th grade. Groan (that was a second groan from Monica, just to clarify). Then Monica thought exactly what she had thought hundreds of times before and would no doubt think again hundreds of times in the future. My life is so awkward.