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The real me and the real her
“So,I guess this is goodbye.”
“I can’t believe this is happening.”
“I’m sorry Lil.I’m really going to miss you.You know that right?”
Deep down in the depths of my worn out heart,I wished that I had never met her.I felt that if I had never met her,I wouldn’t have had to live through the pain of letting her go. But,my life would have been a lot different if our destinies had never entwined. My life had turned upside down after it gave her room. She changed it. Completely.
The winds blew my hair across in all directions,and her tight pony tail showed no signs of movement. I couldn’t look at her face to face because of the tears swelling up in my eyes. She stared blankly at the ground,lost in a trance. We both couldn’t handle the fact that it was the last day we would ever meet again.
Finally,unable to hide back my emotions,I looked at her with tears streaming down my cheeks and said, “Remember the day we first met,Gloria?”
She jerked up suddenly at the sound of my voice and chuckled. “You were crying that day too. I will never forget it. It was spring that day right?”
I nodded. It was a beautiful breezy day with birds chirping and happiness all around. Everyone was with their family or friends,laughing and talking in high pitched voices,ruining the peace and quiet of spring. I saw the scene from outside my school window,and longed for P.E so that I could join the weather.
My friends had called me over to the bathroom,because as girls, we go in groups. My friend needed to put on some makeup and said she’ll be right back. I turned around and saw a mirror. I normally avoided mirrors,because when I looked into them I saw things I didn’t want to see. But my hair was a living nightmare and it needed some fixing. I nervously turned around and gazed into the glass.
What I saw was what I had seen every day. A bespeckled short girl with huge round classes and pale yellow teeth.On top of that,I had bright metal braces that made my mouth look a lot bigger than it was. But,nothing had hurt me more than to see those bright red dots all over my face and forehead. There were tiny ones along with puss filled huge ones. I had severe acne,and I was only in seventh grade.
My friends were looking at me from the corner of their eyes. Amanda chuckled. I gave her a cold stare and she shrugged back. “It isn’t my fault it's gotten a lot worse,” she said.
My ‘friends’ broke into peals of laughter at my reaction. I stood quiet and said nothing,because I was to scared to try. Those people had shred every ounce of self confidence I had that year. They would mock at the way I did my projects.They would blame me if something didn’t go as planned. They would exclude me from most of their outings. They knew I was the shy ugly girl who could get easily picked on because she wanted to get accepted by people.
We headed outside to the P.E ground and they suggested that we all just lay around and talk about random stuff.I wanted to run around and do some physical activity but agreed with them anyway. I thought I didn’t have a choice.
I was watching the class boys play soccer and I noticed this little sixth grader amongst the crowd. He was shaking pretty badly and looked mortified. That’s when I realized he was being bullied.
The boys were making fun of him and calling him names unimaginable for a kid like him to bear. I waited and watched until I felt my heart crumbling into pieces. I told one of my friends and she dismissed it as unnecessary. For the first time in my middle school years,I had forgotten about my appearance. I had forgotten about my status in my grade. I just walked up there to the surprise of everybody and yelled loud and good at the bully. After I was done supporting the kid,reality kicked me hard and I realized what I had done. It felt as if another me had come out that day.
Brian started at me in utter shock. However,he slowly regained his composure and glared menacingly at me. “Have you suddenly forgotten how ugly you are Lilly? Well,let me remind you then. Your face is so horrifying that it gives us goosebumps just by looking at it. You remind of that pig from animal farm. Might as well lay off cause everyone hates you already. Your personality is so unattractive ,just like your face.”
He didn’t stop from there and called me an uncountable number of cuss words. Everybody had left the ground aafter an akward silence leaving me rattling in astonishment and pain. I knew how ugly I looked,but no one had been so extremely direct about it. What stung me more was the fact that none of my friends had supported me or stood up for me.
I walked home trying to forget the horrible incident,but it rang through my mind like a bell. ‘I am a loser. A talentless and dumb loser.I don’t deserve those friends. I have acne and I’m like twelve for goodness sake. Who has acne when they are twelve. What did I do to deserve this.’ I burst into tears after thinking those degrading thoughts.
Gloria was humming a tune and walking her dog when she stopped and looked at me. I didn’t notice her and kept on muttering things to myself. She tapped me on the shoulder and asked me what was wrong. I shook my head and ran away. I left leaving her perplexed.
A few days later,my mom brightened up and said I had a new neighbour. I wasn’t excited about it until I heard a knock on the door.Thats when I saw a red headed girl with almond eyes enter the room. Gloria.
Gloria jumped when she saw me and felt a little stunned. I took her up to my room simply heading the advice of my mother. Our moms had told us to at least chat for about 15 minutes,but I hadn’t realized she was in my room for three hours. We had enjoyed each others company that much.
Gloria wasn’t like anybody else I had ever met. A new person would awaken in me every time I met her. That person was the real me that had been suppressed for a long time. I could be myself around her without having to care about what she would think. In those months that I had spent with her,I finally knew what it was like to have friend.
I could even tell Gloria about how much I hated my pimples. She would listen and rant about them to me,even comfort me by saying that they don’t stay for long and would disappear before I knew it. Gloria would tell me about her strict and controlling parents,who took over her entire life. She went to a private school and I went to a public school,so even though we lived in the same area we never met in school.
I still wasn’t ready to tell her about the issues I was facing at school. But one day,after someone snatched a story that I had written with love and hard work, out of my hand,and remarked on how horrible it was,I blew up again.
Writing had always been some kind of passion of mine. After my friends said I couldn’t write for my life,I decided that it wasn’t worth it. That day, Gloria had given me her speech about following your dreams,and I decided to give it another try and show it to my friends again.
I decided to show it to Gloria instead. She read it over and over again with a smug look on her face. “You never told me,”she said.
“Told you what?” I asked. “I never knew your friends at school were treating you this way.” she replied in an angry voice. I scratched my head. “How did you..” my voice trailed of us she said it was evident in my writing. I couldn’t hold my emotions and I cried.
She let me cry in peace. After I had let out all emotions she said, “You are one of the most sweetest,nicest and talented people I have ever met Lil. And,you are the most beautiful person I know."
“That isn’t true.” I said.
“Why do you think I spend so much time with you then Lil? God you have no idea how good this story is. Try publishing it in some magazine.”
I looked at her for a second and smiled. Months passed and Gloria had taken my inferiority complex and burnt it with her positivity. She helped me regain my self confidence and boosted it up so much that instead of walking with a hunch at school, I had confidence and walked in a straight and proud manner. Instead of feeling scared to state my opinion,I stated it freely and liked doing it. I did all my projects my way and ended up scoring great grades. I got into fights with my friends because I was done taking all their filth about me. My name changed from ‘that shy pimply kid’ to ‘Lily Silver’. People started calling me by my actual name,and believe it or not that was a big change for me.
Something even more magical happened during eighth grade year. My acne had almost disappeared and went from horrible to a little. I got new glasses that were small and had rectangular lenses that fit me perfectly. My braces were off and the yellow color of my teeth had vanished.
I started noticing other aspects of my features after that.I never noticed how my ebony black hair ended in pretty little curls at the end. I never noticed how big my eyes were and how my lashes looked like they were fake. I never noticed how my tanned skin which represented my indian ancestry stood out from the crowd. I wasn’t just pretty.I was unique. That sounded a lot better to me than pretty.
I had stopped hanging out with my so called friends a long time ago because Gloria seemed like ten friends to me. We started talking about guys in movies and books with a teenage and fangirl like hype. Those moments talking to her about how much I loved a fictional character,just laying on the grass and staring at the clouds were the best moments of my life.
One day,we were sitting on a park bench and just talking about random countries when I mentioned Singapore. She jumped up and looked at me uneasily. “About that,my dad might go there for work reasons and he wanted all of us to move with him.” My eyes lit up at the thought of a foreign country visit. “How long will you be gone,G”
I came home in a dizzy state.I had convinced myself I was dreaming and that I would wake up the next morning and realize its all a nightmare. But, no matter how hard you try,you can’t run away from reality.You have no place to hide. I felt like my life was going to be an easy ride from now on,but realized that it will never surrender the battle.You will just have to keep fighting it will all the strength and power you have until you breathe your last breathe.
I stood in front her as I recalled those days. We didn’t even embrace each other despite knowing we would never meet until fate decided the time was right. We shook hands,told each other to keep in touch and she walked away. One thing I saw was a tear trickle down her eye. That was the first time I had ever seen Gloria cry. That was the first time I saw her in pain.
That night I sat down in my bed,wondering why bad things kept happening to me. I received a text and saw that it was from Gloria. I threw my phone on my bed in pure rage and refused to even respond to any texts she sent me. I soon felt nostalgic and decided to reply to what I thought were countless number of texts she would have sent me. But when I turned my phone on there was only one text from her. ‘I know you aren’t going to reply to me in a few days but your article was published in 'That Life' magazine. I sent it to them.Told you that was a great story. Please be strong about this Lilly.Always remeber what I've told you. If you are brave enough to say goodbye,life will award you with a new hello.’
And she was right,it did.