CHAPTER FOUR: PERFECTLY IMPERFECT


Her eyes were sunken, darkened by the eye shadow she had on. The mascara she wore earlier was now two thick glossy tattoos that had run down her face, along the ridge of her nose, only to slightly kiss her lips and conflux right under her chin. Her hair which she had struggled to straighten with a hot comb only a few hours back was now kinked and broken at the hairline – she hated herself.

She wasn’t a nocturnal creature, a twilight specimen. She was just a frail being with a hidden hatred for who she was. Always looking to the mirror and wondering about the monstrosity that stared back at her. She had a lazy eye, patchy skin, a stumpy look and a plump disposition. Nobody knew her in school. And those who did, pretended they didn’t. Nobody asked her for anything, save for match-making, since in her eternal silence, she had learnt everybody’s place – everybody’s preference in school. She kept off people’s ways that way. She was by all means a duff. A dull one at that.

Heather, one of the plastics, had called her out at the cafeteria and playfully invited her for a party at her place. Rich kids with no supervision. The party of the semester, with all the good looking guys and pretty girls in fishnet stockings. Obviously, she wouldn’t say no. This was the first time she was being invited for anything – in her life. 

And so she hot-ironed her hair, and ‘borrowed’ her mother’s mascara from the ‘never-open-these-drawers‘ bureau. Now she understood why the name – the items in those drawers looked like props from Fifty Shades of Grey. ‘Good for you, mom, dad,’ she mused as she sheepishly went back to her room. She struggled putting on her new fishnets. They tore. So she put on her calisthenic leggings and a sweater-dress. Nobody would notice anyway, she had always been invisible. She looked to the mirror, took some valium, crossed her fingers and headed out.

**********

He was the hotshot in campus. His face looked pumpkin dipped and salsad. His physiqe was chiselled and athletic. A scrummer and quarter-back in the rugby team. The MVP in his team’s basketball lineup. And he was not only an athlete but a mathlete as well. A captain of his school’s academic championship team, the debate club, science club, welfare and Rotary societies. He had been called to all the best universities but chose to stay close to home because of his sick mother. So he was in the same local college as her.

He had a secret though. He had for the longest time been repulsed by his own nature. Very fortunate, yet damned in misfortune. An ailing mother, a deadbeat father, shallow friendships and material girls. He had ever been an escort. Only ruined his life. He was tired of the fame, yet it was like the air he expunged when he breathed in success. He was only good at things because they allowed him to escape from his pain. He vented his anger through sports and rationalized his emotions in academia and reasoned debates. Plus it kept him away from Heather, the ever so painful thorn in his flesh. 

He was going to call it quits at the party that day. There was so much insanity in the vanity he saw to be life. Invisibility would have been a great ally at that moment. So he put on a Varsity Letter Jacket, a grunge looking pair of khaki pants and some nondescript sneakers which were under his bed. 

He held fast to the mother, carried her to the den and tucked her in, on the couch. Checked her temperature and kissed her on the forehead. He wouldn’t take long. Switched on the tv to some old time classics that mom loved and left for the party.

**********

She was feeling misplaced. Nobody had talked to her ever since she arrived. She sipped that wildly bitter drink from the punch bowl as she fidgeted with her phone so as not to look too lonely. The company of one was horrible. Or at least that is what she thought. Where was Heather anyway? Someone bumped into her from behind, making her spill her drink on herself. It was him. He looked remorseful but in a hurry. She couldn’t be angry at him. He was like a god among men. Resplendent in radiance, symmetric in countenance. He quickly rushed past, with a faint sorry look on his face. He was looking for Heather. She was looking for Heather. 

*** To Be Continued ***

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