Not only did I embarrass myself, I did it in front of the boy I was crushing on, not only did he talk and look at me, he called me stupid and ugly and felt disgustedly irritated.
Up until today, I hadn’t felt repulsed about myself until today and I felt worse than ugly; I felt hideous
I felt worse than stupid, I felt disappointed. I died.
I gathered myself or what was left of myself, murmured an apology and left.
By the following day, it was all over school.
Damn! Bad news sure travels fast.
He had told his best friend, some Tom dude, who decided the whole school needed a good medicine for laughter, I even bagged a new name “ugly duckling the dumb drooler ” and a caricature that have resembled a thing the cat pulled out of the dumpster pasted on my locker with ‘Cynthia Morgan’ scribbled beside it.
I recoiled, finally, for the first time in a few years, I became popular. More popular than the first day I started here, one minute I was trying to settle in into the new environment, the next minute I had missed my footing, stumbling down the stairs, and you wouldn’t believe who I was staring at, and yes have at it and take a wild guess.
The boy with the most beautiful smile, the way he threw his head and laughed just like a little kid to a joke I couldn’t hear. While I landed like a big pile of dirt on the ground causing a loud thud, everyone turns, and then the laughter broke out like tiny rain drops crescending into a fountain of large clapping rainstorms.
Yes I had fallen with my dignity, broken the front of my entire teeth and I needed about twelve stitches, and by the following week… “Hey Ugly duckling ” began and it stuck.
Now, a few years down the line everyone knew me again, I wasn’t invincible anymore I was laughed at mocked and jeered at. My life was officially fucked. All because of my love for the most handsome boy I have ever met.
I couldn’t take it anymore, after the semester ended and the summer kicked in, come new fall, as I left for the summer break, I never came back.
I left with my heart on my sleeves, leaving the boy I love behind and the world of the tease and taunts and hatred, leaving the trend of the ugly duckling who drooled over a boy and got shamed. I had to leave it all behind, cry over it, learn from it and move on and I did. I was fifteen years old at the time, when I boarded the bus. Vera, the only girl who I talked to, who wasn’t mean as the rest of them stood waving me goodbye.
“I would see you when you get back from visiting your aunt’ she said, taking out her camera to take a picture of us.
“Yes, when I come back after summer” I lied. I wasn’t coming back. Vera was a good friend, she had always been and I felt sad for lying to her but I didn’t want to tell her. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I just wanted to leave, and I knew no one would miss me or even remember me after a week. While I waved her back, I had wished I could see him one last time, maybe for once, he would look at me without disgust in his eyes.
I know you are wondering,
“You were just what, fifteen. What did you know about love? ”
But I don’t care, Jayden made my heart stop and if that wasn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Now ten years later, here I am, without braces, without the awkward and clumsiness, with silky black mane of hair that bounced effortlessly. Yes, I learnt to tame it, and I looked like what the gods crafted especially out of beauty.
I had just come in from the airport, stopping at the local store to get me a cold drink of lemonade, I remembered the town like the back of my hands.
And there he was, standing just a few feet’s away from me, handsome as always, even after ten years. Even in my sleep I could carve out his face and tell it contour for contour, he didn’t look much different, his face looked the same but much more mature, he had this rugged finesse going on, a tiny beard to show his masculinity, broad shoulders and he was wearing a white shirt tugged into jeans, showing off his flat tummy, I couldn’t see the packs but my eyes could see through his cloths, he had his sleeve rolled up and gosh, there was something sexy about guys with rolled up sleeves.
As soon as I saw him I knew that face had haunted my dreams for years, he looked like a Greek god, sexy as hell, still a total babe and my heart did the fast and slow thing at the same time, but I was older and wiser, more controlled plus I could handle it now like a boss. I didn’t bat an eye, damn I acted like I didn’t even see a fine man or much less know him.
But you see, life is such a tease.
Years ago I was drooling all over him, being a silly teenage girl with her crushing all over the place, but now years later, he had his mouth open, in shock and awe and maybe a bit of stunned dumbfounded-ness.
I too became a total babe and damn!! I was a sight for sour eyes. I smiled knowing how I looked this morning. Wearing a fitted red dress, showing off my perfect cleavage, red lipstick and black heels, sun glasses pushed into my hair removing my hair away from my face. My body? What a good exercise routine can do wonders for you, and my butt? I bent down to strap on my shoes properly, letting my bum do the “love” curve shape. I know the men shopping were staring and the ladies, well, wishing they could throw me out of the window but, I wasn’t to be bothered.
I picked up the bottle of lemonade, a few box of cookies and a magazine. I could feel eyes on me…
“How much are these?” I asked the girl behind the counter.
“250 bucks” she said, openly observing me… “You look like a movie star. Are you a model?” She asked. I laugh shaking my head.
“No honey, I am not. Why do you think so?” She didn’t look more than sixteen. I saw him from my side eyes watching me, with full admiration.
“Oh why. But you are so beautiful. What are you doing here? Superstars don’t come here?”
“Well, I come from here and my family lives here. I even went to school here one time, Harbeth’s Junior High, have you heard of it? It’s been over nine years I was home?” I said, I saw him edge closer
“For real? How… oh wow!! I go there now. That means your name would be in the year book of class erm… class” she counted nine years backwards “class ’06?
“Class ’07 actually. My name is Cynthia Morgan” he moved closer, trying to peer into my face
“Oh that’s awesome. I would look for you in the year book, I am sure you were the most prettiest in the whole of junior high?”
“No honey, on the contrary, I was the ugliest. Look for the girl with the braces and stitches across her face. That was me. Now, you see this beauty, then. .everyone called me “ugly duckling” I said, I heard him choke on his drink. I smiled.
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“Oh how dreadful” she said. “But you look amazing now”
“I know right?” I laughed paying my bills, I walk pass him pretending as though I didn’t notice him staring at me as I neared the exit.
‘Ugly duckling? Cynthia Morgan? Are you her?” he called out to my back, shocked registered on his face, cleaning off his spilled drink, he had disbelief in his eyes. I turn slowly.
“Am sorry, Who are you? ” I asked
“Ugly duckling, are you the same person who was called that name? Is your name Cynthia Morgan? ”
Wow!! He never knew my real name.
‘Who are you?” I asked again, feigning pretence.
“It’s me, Jayden. Jayden Michaels. We went to school together. I was at Harbeth’s Junior high too, we erm… we did a project together one time, erm.. You don’t remember me?” he laughed nervously.
I walked up to him, slowly, bending my head side to side, the way people do when you are trying to remember someone
“Erm, Jake?” I asked. I didn’t want to let him know I remembered him like the back of my hands.
“No no, Jayden Michaels. All the girls came around me, Tom’s friend. The four fellas in school…anything?”
I shake my head, side to side again, showing I have no idea who he was.
“Erm… Nope. Am sorry. My high school was kind of a blur” I lied. I could never forget his face in a million years.
But I was glad he was interested to make me remember him. What good looks could do to a man, I smirked
He walks towards me smiling, his eyes taking all of me in, appreciating my looks, liking what he saw, I noticed the spark in his eyes.
“Alright then, let me re-introduce myself, my name is Jayden Michaels, I went to Harbeth’s Junior High, Class ’06. Now I work as a company lawyer to Felixstowe Enterprises” he gives me his hands. Those beautiful hands I always wondered if they played the music instruments
I take his in mine.
“Hi, am Cynthia and I don’t remember you but that’s fine. But nice to meet you and I have to get going.” I stated letting go off his hand and trotting away
“Can I at least get your number?” He called out
I turn sideways, flipping my hair to the side, giving it a brief thought then shaking my head, he laughed that beautiful laugh of his.
“Hey, then how do I get to see you again?”
“You don’t. And hey, close your mouth Jayden, you are drooling” I said over my shoulders flipping my hair away, letting him watch me walk away.
I walked on knowing his eyes followed me…assessing…admiring me…desiring me..
I knew no one would forget the beautiful lady who walked into the local store today, much less him, he was going to remember the girl in the red dress and that was a thrill to me.
Jayden watches her walk out of the door, his eyes never leaving her until she disappeared out of sight, he brings out his phone and places a call to his friend Tom.
“Dude, what’s up Bro?” Tom asked, as he answered on the first ring.
“You aren’t going to believe who I just ran into?”
“Who? The queen of England? Smiggle from Lord of the rings or is it Lucas from star wars?” Tom askes,
“Ugly duckling is back in town, who happens to be Cynthia Morgan. Dude ugly duckling is back in town and my God, she ain’t ugly no more.
It’s like I just had a heart attack. Shit!!” He says again, placing a hand to his chest
“You kidding me right?”
“No dude, she looks like a million bucks, those kind of bucks you don’t want to sell. It yours, yours. Not anyone else. She looks like someone, someone just stepping out of Vogue magazine and all. Wow, I was blown away” Jayden says, running his hand through his head.
“Wow!!!” Tom says.
“No Tom, more like damn! I have to see her again.” He says
I smiled again exiting the store, I knew my presence was going to get to him. I put on my glasses and walk into the sunny streets of where I used to call home…
It’s going to be Christmas in a few days,
And I know what I want for Christmas. ..
To be continued.