About a girl. Read on if you want to know more.
“You look horrible today.” Said Jessi, smiling. I grimaced. Yes I did look horrible today, thank you very much. After paining myself over my hair for a couple hours, I thought I looked a little better. Apparently not.
“As do you, Jessi. I suppose you are here to make my life miserable as always, I presume?” Jessi and I aren’t what you would call friends. Mortal enemies fit better.
“As always.” Jessi was always smiling. It freaked me out.
People may wonder why I take this every day. They may think I am weak and shy, unable to stand up for myself. I am, however, not.
If somebody asked me about it, I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s not like I could say, “Well, It’s my image. I must maintain my image.”. Because that’s what’s it’s all about. Image.
Somebody else may ask, “What image? You don’t have an image.” I wouldn’t know how to respond to that either. How could I explain that the girl who barely smiles, dresses in unnoticeable colors, and takes insults like they were just ordinary things, was who I am? Who I appear to be?
I am not that girl. That’s who I am on the outside. On the inside, however, that is a different thing entirely.
On the inside I yearn to dress in bright orange and lime green, to stand out like the sun after a month of rainy days. When somebody insults me, it hurts. It’s like somebody has stabbed me in the gut whenever I hear a bad word said about me, to my face or not. I have only one similarity to my outside – I don’t like to smile.
A smile is a precious thing. Something to be saved when everything else is lost, something to comfort, something to savor. Smiles thrown about like everyday objects surprise me. Smiles are supposed to be warm. The smiles I see are cold, not true. Like a reflex.
I wonder what it is like to smile everyday. I wonder, but I don’t try. I hear too many insults to even bother to smile. They’ll just get interrupted by an insult.
You may wonder how I can take so many painful insults. I will tell you the key to my success. The key is my bottle.
My bottle is the place where every insult is stored. Each pain has its own space in that bottle. The bottle is deep inside me, where nobody can touch it, uncork it.
I bet that bottle doesn’t like me much though. It has to carry my hurts. Still, I like it a lot.
“Alien!” shrieked Jessi. Her friends tittered. I forgot about her, thinking my thoughts. “Melanie, go back to outer space!” Yes, my name is Melanie. I wasn’t consulted when that choice was made. My friends call me Mel though. Mel is good. Mel is short, unobvious. Very good for whom I appear to be.
With a stone face, I shrugged on my backpack and headed off my bus to my high school. Stonefield High. Ew.
Jessi followed me to my classroom with her two tittering friends, Ashli and Nanci. Yes, I do realize that all their names end with an I. They like it that way. They’re real names are actually Jessie, Ashley and Nancy, but nobody talks about that. It’s “forbidden”. Idiots. They couldn’t have just changed Jessie to Jessy and not have had to change all their names. I suppose “I” is cooler than “Y”. Idiots.
I finally made it into English, my homeroom, and sat beside my three and only friends, Alyssa, Madison, and Harold. Yeah, Harold. He wasn’t consulted in the choice of his name either. We all sat at the back, where as Jessi and her group sat at the front. Thank gosh for that.
When I sat beside Alyssa she raised her eyebrows at me, questioning my horrible hanging hair. She handed me a hair elastic. Ouch.
I waited as Mr. Brown took attendance. He called my name just when I was picking up a pencil that had landed on the floor. I straightened up quickly and hit my head on the desk. Harold winced.
“Here!” I cried out, grinding my teeth in pain. Jessi and her friends were tittering again. Jessi smiled a big fake smile in my direction. It looked malicious. Ugh. Scary.
After English Madison and Harold walked with me to our next class, Gym. I hated Gym. Thank gosh Jessi and her friends had Biology with Alyssa. Alyssa liked that. She liked being with Jessi and her friends, to be popular. I was just waiting for the day when she changed her name from Alyssa to Alyssi. Ew.
In Gym we were doing Badminton. I paired up with Madison on a team. There could only be two people on a team.
My team was picked first to play. By the end of the five minutes it was 7 – 0. I was not winning. Thankfully that was the only time we had to play for the rest of Gym, unlike poor Harold, who had to play three times. He lost two games and tied one because neither team got a point.
As soon as we were dismissed we were out of there. Madison and I changed in the toilet stalls and headed out to meet Harold. When we got to the cafeteria it was full. It didn’t matter to us, since we ate in the band room either way. Mr. Parker was never around to tell us to get out. I sat beside a tuba and looked at Madison for a minute. She could be my twin. Light brown hair, green eyes, pointy nose, and skinny. Of course, she was all natural. My hair was dyed, I had colored contacts on and my mom gave me a nose job when I was six, after a dog bit it off. My mom is a plastic surgeon.
My hair was actually black, with violet eyes. That stood out too much, though. It very pretty, actually. I could never have it like that with the life I lead now.
“What?” Madison noticed I was staring at her and tensed. “Do I have pizza on my face or something?” I laughed quietly.
“No,” I said. “I was just thinking about how much we look alike.”
Madison laughed loudly. “Do we both have pizza on our face then?” she joked.
That was Madison. She laughed and smiled, but not like a fake. She was genuine. I laughed along with her for her sake. Harold rolled his eyes, then smiled at Madison. That was also genuine. He had been dating Madison for a year now.
Madison saw him smiling and blushed. It didn’t take her much to blush, I noted. I’ve known her since I was seven and yet I still didn’t know anything about her. People were a mystery to me.
I’m eighteen now. Eleven years I’ve known her and Alyssa. I’ve only known Harold for six years now.
And yet I don’t know any of them.