I decided I wanted to start growing out my thick, frizzy bangs. I wanted to have long, shiny hair. As I was pinning my bangs back I realized something was different about my face. I couldn’t pin point it, but something was off.
The next day when I went to school I actually tried to look cute with some fun jeans, a summery halter-top with my hair straightened and bangs clipped back. I was nervous, but excited. I wanted to look good, and get some attention from guys for once.
That’s not what happened. A group of gorgeous girls came up to me. And these girls were almost too cliché – blonde, skinny, just the right amount of freckles on their flawless clear skin. They looked at me as if they were going to puke, disgust is too mild of a description for their wide-eyed, faces squished in repulsion. I guess it must be confusing for girls that are so generically American girl pretty. It’s as if they don’t understand how other people . Most people would call some of these traits a flaw. So you can see where this is headed. They were those kind of people and they were not going to suddenly change their narrow, inexperienced, naïve perspectives.
“We know you shave your eyebrows.” Jessica said bluntly with an interrogative malice. She was one of the girls who were as flawless as a magazine cover girl, but unfortunately as flat and one-dimensional too.
“What?” I said meekly. My head was spinning. I had no idea what they were talking about. Had I really been so dense, not to pick this up? Had my parents purposely kept this from me?
I ran to the bathroom and looked at myself. Sure enough, they were right. I didn’t have any eyebrows, but what happened? I thought. How come I didn’t know? What could I do about it? I didn’t even want to go back out there. I knew I wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t know that I was missing something on my face – ON MY FACE of all places. This opened up a whole new emptiness that I had never known but that had been there all along. It was as if it had taken form as a sign with a giant arrow smack dab on my face.
When I got home I sat down, but it was obvious that something was wrong. I was slouched over and quiet. “What’s wrong?” My mom asked.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?”
“I don’t have any eyebrows…”
“Look at your father. He doesn’t either. I’m sorry. You got that from him.”
“Well, now what do I do about it? Some girls at school today pointed it out and now I want to hide my face.”
“Eyebrows are so meaningless. They don’t serve any function. It could be so much worse. You could be missing an arm.”
I sat on my bed as if I were catatonic – thinking and thinking and thinking. Luckily, I did have a lot of friends. One of my best friends, Lila, always helped me feel better. Sometimes too much, sometimes she would make me laugh so hard that sometimes I would pee myself! That’s how funny she was!
Lila and I were hanging out in her room. I wanted to tell her about what happened, but her bright smiling face and funny sense of humor changed my mind. Lila had so much going for her, she was so smart and clever, she wrote in her spare time. Her writing was so eloquent and beautiful. She had the discipline to write novels and we were only in middle school. I couldn’t imagine what she would do in her future. I felt uneasy because the popular girls were starting to pick that up. She started spending more and more of her time with them and less with me. I competitiveness was starting to come over me.
“We’re going to Aunt Cathy’s tomorrow night. Do you want to come?”
“Sure” she said. “You want to read what I wrote yesterday?” I smiled and we hung out laughing and writing our own funny stories for the rest of the night.
I woke up the next morning to the phone ringing. My mom yelled from the other room, “It’s Nina, can you pick up the phone?” I answered with excited anticipation. “Hey, what’s up? Do you like Pizza, my uncle’s going to make pizzas with us tonight. That’ll be fun! What ingredients do you want?”
“I’m sorry I won’t be able to go. It’s Jessica’s mom’s birthday and she invited me to go to Medieval Times with them. Can I come next weekend? Sorry.”
I acted like it wasn’t a big deal, but I felt defeated. I couldn’t win. I just distracted myself and let myself disappear into escapisms.
“Sophie, I’m surprised you came all by yourself.” My aunt proclaimed.
“Yeah, everyone was busy.”
“Uncle Tom is going to make pizza. You want to make some?” I enjoyed making pizza with him, but I felt like a deflated balloon. I had no energy to care about pizza this evening. I just sat quietly. No one really noticed either, which felt safe because I didn’t have to talk about it, but I also felt alientated and insignificant.
The night seemed to pass by slowly. I wasn’t interested in the conversation. I wished I could go home and withdraw into a movie.
“Sophie, come in here.” My aunt called me into her room.
“Look at these new clip on earrings I got.” I tried them on. I looked funny but kind of fancy. I walked through her closet looking at all of her bright, gaudy, elaborate clothes. I grabbed one of her giant bras. I could easily fit my head in one the cups. I couldn’t even imagine what size she was. I wondered if she had to have her bras custom made. I wrapped her giant bra around me like a sweater dress and she laughed so hard. I finished the look by attempting to wear her stilettos.
“Has anyone ever done your make up before?” she asked. I shook my head. Swiftly grabbing her make up kit she got to work. Lipstick, blush and then, unavoidably she reached my eyebrows. She looked at me, contemplating what to say.
“I’m a red head and my eyebrows are so blonde that you can hardly see them. I use an eyebrow kit to give them some definition. You want me to try that on you?” I agreed. How she crafted perfectly symmetrical eyebrows out of nothing blew my mind. When she went to do my mascara I realized that eyebrows weren’t the only things that I was lacking, but she found another solution: eyeliner. I looked into the mirror and was shocked. That was the first time that I ever thought I looked pretty.
The next day I was hanging out with Nina. She was over at my house for dinner. We had such a fun day. We laughed and shot a short video at the park earlier that day. She was so funny; we made a spoof of our idiotic school rules and dense teachers. The phone rang and it was Nina’s mom she told my mom to send her home. I said that I would walk Nina back.
I grabbed my scooter from the garage. Quickly she took off down the driveway. I tried to catch up with her on my scooter, but I lost her, until she appeared right in front of me out of nowhere. I tried to move out of the way to avoid hitting her. The momentum caused the scooter to swing out like a giant ax smashing into my leg. I felt a sharp pain in my leg. I couldn’t feel my lower leg. I couldn’t walk. I knew I had to pull myself out of the street. I yelled out to Lila to get my parents.
“Help, tell them something is wrong with my shin.”
My parents came running out and had to carry me inside. My mom started crying. I knew that something was horribly wrong. When they lifted me up the bone dangled from my body like I was a limp puppet.
Eventually I had to go in for surgery. I had to have an incision in my leg to put a screw in to secure the bone and make sure it healed correctly. I would have a scar on my leg where the incision was made and I had never experienced so much pain in my life. I thought before that that not having eyebrows was so horrible, but it was nothing compared to what I went through with the broken leg. I experienced extreme pain, I couldn’t walk, play sports, even use the bathroom by myself. For a few months of my life I learned the limitations that some people experienced permanently. It changed my whole outlook.