I stared at myself in the mirror and cursed myself. I stared at the huge rolls bulging out of my top and at the hideous face glaring in the mirror. I choked back tears as I grabbed a handful of my stomach and twisted it until a sound of agony escaped my trembling lips. I hated myself. Every single bit, and there was a lot to hate. I glanced at the time and sighed morosely. It was time to get to school. Giving myself one more look of pure hatred, I grabbed my book bag and headed out the door.
“Hey fatso, don’t even think about it!” Ali McCarthy, the most popular girl in school yelled from her boyfriends flashy new Mercedez Benz as they screeched into the last parking spot. “Fatso! It’ll be better if you walk a lil. You could get rid of a few hundred pounds.”
Tears threatened to stream down my face as I backed out of the school parking lot in my rusty, old Beetle. I would have to park a block away, again. I envied Ali. Then again, every girl did. She had everything. A perfect body, a gorgeous face, a huge house and…
My thoughts were interrupted by a brand new silver BMW. I had never seen this car before. I tried peering through the deep black tinted windows but to no avail. I couldn’t see the passenger. Oh well, why did it matter? I pulled into a parking space and jumped out of the car. I slammed my door and groaned as it didn’t close. I tried again and it still wouldn’t lock.
“Ugh!” I swore under my breath.
“Need some help?” an unfamiliar male’s voice asked.
I froze. There was no way he was speaking to me. No one spoke to me.
“Excuse me?” the voice asked again. I turned around to see the BMW parked next to me and a gorgeous guy I had never seen before casually leaning against it, curiously gazing at me.
I glanced around “Umm are- are you talking to me?” I stammered in a shaky voice.
He smiled and I turned away, afraid to make eye contact “Yeah, I’m Jake. I noticed that you couldn’t park in the school as it was full so I followed you here. Hope you don’t mind.”
Ok, why on earth was this gorgeous guy speaking to me? As he noticed my hesitation, he smiled. Great, I knew it. He was going to make fun of me. Just like the others, they were all the same.
“Hey are you ok?” he asked “You look a little pale.”
“I’m fine.” I croaked. With every bit of hatred I had for myself I slammed the door shut and it finally locked into place. I closed my eyes and braced myself for his insults, but instead he remained quiet.
“So…” he began “Could I accompany you back to school or…” he trailed off.
I looked into his face and couldn’t find anything except sincerity. Ok, this couldn’t be real, no guy- let alone girl for that matter- would ever speak to me. I brushed my dirty-blonde, limp hair out of my face and adjusted my glasses. “Umm ok.” I replied timidly. If he wanted to embarrass me he would do so sooner or later. I should be used to the constant teasing by now.
As we started walking he kept a safe distance between us. “So, you still haven’t given me your name.”
“Why would it matter?” I muttered under my breath. “It’s Megan. Megan Greenstone.”
“Nice name. What year are you?”
“Senior.” He kept silent for a while and I wondered what was going through his head. Was he thinking I was so foolish? Did he think I should feel flattered? Was he silently laughing at me? Tears sprang to my eyes as I tried to control my ragged breathing.
I decided to be brave for a change. If he would laugh at me, so be it. My life had always been this way. It wouldn’t be anything new. “Why did you decide to come here for your last year?” I asked. I silently prayed that he wouldn’t laugh at me.
To my utter astonishment he smiled in a friendly manner. Or was that just a fake mask? “My dad was transferred, yet again. I tried to convince him to just let me finish schooling in New Feather and –just like me- he’s stubborn. My mum also tried convincing him but whatever he says, goes. You know how dads can be.”
“I wish I did.” I thought to myself.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry Megan. I didn’t-”
“You heard that?” I asked my eyes wide. How could I be so stupid? He would probably just add to the million rumors about me. Just like everyone else. ‘Mega Megan’s dad left her coz the house got too small. Mega Megan used her weight to scare off her dad.’ Mega Megan was my name. I started to ignore the first part of what everyone called me. If only I was brave enough to stand up for myself. To show everyone else that I too was a human being and not the ugly creature people took me to be. But I was afraid, afraid of what others would think, afraid of the new rumors that would bud, afraid of the consequences. “Go ahead.” I continued. “Tell me what a freak I am.” I whispered.
“Megan, you’re not a freak.”
“You were thinking it.”
“I swear, I wasn’t!”
“Then why are you speaking to me? Don’t I repulse you like I repulse everyone else? Wouldn’t I embarrass you by standing within a ten-mile radius of you? Let alone walking an arm-length away? Or are you just trying to embarrass me?”
Jake’s face showed a look of utter shock. “What are you talking about?”
By now we were walking through the gates of the school.
“Hey Green-boulder!” Alan, the captain of the basketball team called. “Trying to seduce a guy with your rolls? Ask him if he wants those rolls with butter!”
My eyes burned with tears and I fought them back “That’s’ what I’m talking about.” I told Jake in a clipped tone and walked away. I ran straight to the bathroom and almost collided with Sandy- Ali’s other half.
“WTF is up with you Mega?” she asked, speaking in abbreviations. “You could’ve killed me with your fat!” Two of her friends gave me dirty looks and giggled in loyalty for the sake of my pain. I ignored them and locked myself into a stall. I grabbed the fat on my tummy and twisted it until the pain numbed my stomach. Lifting my top, I stared at the numerous blue and red marks on my stomach. I constantly abused myself and I couldn’t help it. With anger I grabbed a thin chunk of hair and pulled it until most of it ripped off my skull. A silent scream escaped my shivering lips. The bell rang, signaling the beginning of homeroom. I ran my hand vigorously through my hair and straightened my top. Walking out of the stall, I caught a glimpse of the hideous face staring back at me. It was my image. I sighed and washed my face. I couldn’t make myself look less ugly but the cold water would calm me down.
“Hey fatso seduction-errrrr!” one of the jocks whispered in a mocking tone as I walked into English later that day, my gaze towards the floor. I ignored him and made my way towards my assigned seat. Ensuring that no one was going to pull out my seat from behind me, I lowered into it and took out ‘A Walk To Remember’ one of the books on our reading list. Mr. Anderson, our teacher, had still not arrived and the class had gotten rowdy. Names were being called, rumors were flying along with scrunched up pieces of paper, whispers were being passed around and basically the class was out of control. I buried myself into the book and ignored the noise around me.
“Ok class! That’s enough!” Mr. Anderson boomed as he entered the class. I shut my book and turned my attention to him. The guy I was speaking to this morning, Jake, stood beside him with a lopsided grin on his face. I looked down, not wanting to make eye contact, even if it was by accident. “So Jake Dalsino” Mr. Anderson said addressing Jake by his first name and last name. “There’s two seats available, you can sit in either one.” My head snapped up. Mr. Anderson was giving Jake a choice? I looked at the vacant seat next to me and sighed. Yeah. It had remained vacant the entire year because everyone who would sit in it begged Mr. Anderson to move them. This was the same story in almost all of my classes. The other vacant seat was next to Kintella, one of Ali’s popular friends. Kintella was the only one who barely made any fun of me. Basically, she would ignore me blankly. Not that I minded of course, I mean being ignored was sometimes better than the constant teasing. I didn’t even have to guess which seat he would choose. Obviously Kintella, with her chocolate brown hair and violet eyes, she looked like a model that belonged on the cover of Vogue. Then again, so did Ali and her entire group. I could see from the corner of my eye that Kintella was already moving the desk closer to her. She waved at Jake and batted her eyelashes. I buried my face back into the book as Mr. Anderson was writing on the board.
“Hi.” Someone greeted. I froze, it was Jake’s voice. Wasn’t he supposed to be on the other side of the class? Or maybe it was my imagination. “Mind if I sit here?” I looked up and to my utter astonishment, Jake was standing next to me. I looked around, confused. The entire class was as silent as stone and they were all staring directly at me. Even Mr. Anderson turned around to see what the cause of the silence was. I nodded extremely weakly and turned back to my book. So maybe he only wanted to sit here because it was closer to the front of the room. Maybe he had really bad eyesight. But I knew for a fact, that he wasn’t sitting here because of me. As he sat down, snickers began to filter the previously silent room.
“Hey c’mon guys. What’s the big deal?” Jake asked.
Chad, who was snorting with laughter by now, gasped for a breath. “Dude, you’re my hero! Let me in on the prank!”
“I’m not sitting here to humiliate anyone. I’m sitting here because I want to.” Jake replied.
The rest of the period continued in a similar manner, with Mr. Anderson trying to grab everyone’s attention but to no avail.
School was a nightmare like every other day. The last bell had gone off, signaling the end of yet another dreadful day. I dashed out of school in order to get away from all the remarks going on about how I was threatening Jake with my face and weight and how I was trying to seduce him. I also wanted to get out of school before I would run into Jake as he had parked right next to me this morning. As I passed the group pf jocks and cheerleaders which consisted of Ali and them, I saw that they had Jake with him. Half of the girls were practically on top of him using their cleavages and god knows what else to get his attention. As I reached my car, now away from the school, I bent down to catch my breath. I opened my door roughly and just as I was about to pull my door shut, a hand grabbed it. It was Jake. I groaned.
“Ok seriously, are you here to tease me?” I asked in annoyance.
He looked taken aback but replied. “No I want to talk to you.”
“About what?” I asked rudely.
“You want to make fun of me right? Or were you dared to talk to me by those…those…ugh! Dammit!” I punched the steering wheel in frustration.
“Megan… no. I’m not like the rest.”
“Yeah right. You’ve got the looks, the body, the popularity. Why the hell do you want to speak to me? I’m hideous! Repulsive!”
“No you’re not.”
“Really? Did you not hear the rumors and comments that were thrown at me today?”
“I heard them and that’s what repulses me, not you.”
I softened. “Thanks, but I really can’t deal with this now. I need to get home.”
“Ok… but can I please talk to you? Maybe tomorrow morning?”
“Fine. Meet me here ten minutes earlier.”
“But you might get a parking spot since you’re gonna be here earlier.”
“People are gonna see you talking to me. Not good for your rep.”
He sighed. “I don’t care about my reputation.”
“Yeah right.” I muttered. “Well see you tomorrow then.”
“Bye Megan.” He greeted and smiled. I forced a smile and screeched away.
When I got home I ran straight to my room, my mum was at work. She was a manager of a huge clothing company. For any other girl this would be awesome because of the discounts and gift bags and all of that. I didn’t really care. Unlike my mum, I couldn’t even fit into the clothing. My mum was beautiful, she was a brunette with sparkly hazel eyes. Her body was envied by her colleagues- and by me. I didn’t even know how my dad looked. There wasn’t a single picture of him around. Apparently he walked out on my mum the day after I was born. I hated him so much and yet I wished that I knew him. Unlike my mum, my hair was dirty blonde and almost stringy looking. I was pale as I didn’t bother tanning. I mean why would I? If I had to strip down to a bathing suit I would definitely attract attention- yeah, I’d be the laughing stock. My skin was surprisingly flawless except for the occasional zit that would pop up now and again. I had deep blue eyes, with a bright green colour highlighting the blue. My mum thought my eyes were the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen, well she would think so, I mean she’s my mother. But no one else ever told me so, After all, behind my thick glasses and plumpy face, there wasn’t much to look at.
I decided to do some homework as I had no social life. As I propped myself on the bed with my books scattered around me, I mistakenly looked at the mirror that stood silently across from me, mocking me in a harsh way. In anger, I grabbed my brush and flung it across the room. It hit the mirror and fell softly to the ground.
An hour later, I had completed all my homework and assignments. There was nothing to do so I decided to have a shower. As I peeled off my clothes, I tried hard not to look at my bruised body. Unfortunately I did not succeed. My eyes fell on the marks on my stomach. Angrily, I grabbed my tummy again and twisted it until I fell to the ground. Then I grabbed my thighs and dug my nails into them until a piercing shriek sliced through my lips. Why did I hurt myself? I wanted to love myself for who I was but I disgusted myself. My body repulsed me, my face repulsed me, everything about me repulsed me. I was trapped in a pool of sheer hatred. I was my own enemy.
I grabbed my right thigh and twisted it until the pain became unbearable. Then I got up and stepped into the shower. I twisted the faucet until hot water- almost boiling but not scorching- cascaded upon my abused body. My body ached as the hot water burned my own injuries.
“Honey! I’m home!” my mum yelled as she entered the house later that evening. I ran downstairs to greet her. My mum was the only one who never judged me and believed in me. She had enough love for the both of us.
“Hi mum!” I greeted. The only time a true smile would appear on my face was when I saw my mother. We were really close.
“How was your day sweetie?” she asked as she pulled out the hair band from her beautiful hair.
“Um it was… the same.” I muttered. I never told my mum about how school really was. She would just end up worrying. “How was your day?”
“Ah, it was fabulous!” my mum gushed. She engaged into a detailed description about some meeting. I smiled and nodded at the appropriate times trying hard to process exactly what she was saying. “So…” she went on. “Darren, Abbey and Melissa are coming over for dinner this weekend.”
I groaned. Darren was my mums new boyfriend and Abbey was his twelve year old, bratty daughter who was way too beautiful for her tender age and who hated me. Melissa was his sixteen year old daughter who was sweet when she wanted to be. She had the brains and Abbey had the beauty whilst their father was blessed with both.
“Mum!” I whined. “Can’t I just stay in my room? They hate me in any case, especially Abbey.”
“Megan.” My mum warned in a friendly tone. “You better be nice. Darren likes you and so does Melissa.”
“Sure they do, they all have their moods with me. Even Melissa, and she’s supposed to be the nicest in the family.”
My mum sighed. “Please honey. Be nice, for me.”
“I never told them anything that’s not considered nice.”
My mum half-smiled. “You’re an angel.”
“A hideous one.” I muttered under my breath.
I got up earlier than usual the next day, remembering that Jake wanted to talk to me. As I showered and threw on a huge sweater that looked like it belonged to a sumo wrestler and baggy jeans I mulled over Jake’s intentions on wanting to talk to me. I went downstairs as my mum was just leaving.
“Oh you’re up early!” she exclaimed.
“Looks like it.”
“Well I’ve gotta run. Love you.” She kissed me on the cheek and pranced out gracefully.
I stared at the row of cereals in the cupboard. Nothing looked appealing enough. I grabbed a fruit then replaced it a minute later. I really didn’t feel like eating. Whether I ate or not, my weight remained the same. I decided to chug down some water before heading out to my car. After practically fighting with my stubborn door, I sped off to school and parked a block away. I glanced at the time and noticed I was way too early. Great, now he would just think I’m a freak. I sighed and parked in the same spot as I had the previous day. Just as I switched off the engine, a car screeched into the spot next to me. It was the silver BMW, Jake’s car. He opened his door and stepped out and I imitated his action. Only I didn’t close my door as graceful as he did.
“Hi.” He greeted with a friendly smile.
“Hey.” I replied warily.
“You wanna sit in the car or stand outside?” he asked.
“Um, I’d rather stand outside.” I wanted to save myself the embarrassment of getting into his car and the entire car going down with my weight.
He grinned. Was his grin mocking? Was it sincere? I wished that I could read his mind. “So you’re probably wandering why I want to talk to you…” he began. I remained quiet, waiting for him to continue. “I’m hoping we can be friends, so… I can help you.”
I stared at him. “Help me?”
“Ok Megan, please do not take what I am going to say to you the wrong way. Please.”
“What do you mean by helping me?” I demanded.
He looked almost pained but slowly he started to say, “You hate yourself, don’t you? You allow people to gain satisfaction at your expense-”
My face reddened in anger. “You don’t even know me! How dare you assume anything!”
He took a step forward, but drew back again. “Megan, I can help you, allow me to. I have an idea of what you’re going through.”
“No you don’t! You don’t! You have everything at your feet! You don’t know how it feels to be hated, to be the object of laughter, to hate yourself, to be fat… you don’t know! ” I spilled out. I was enveloped by immense anger.
“Megan, I’ll never know what you’re going through. But I do have an idea. Let me help you before it’s too late.”
“Just leave me alone. Why the hell do you care? You met me yesterday!”
He took a step towards me and I recoiled. “Leave… me… alone.” I said furiously.
“Will you at least let me explain?” he asked hopefully. I ignored him and headed towards class.
For the rest of the day I avoided Jake like the plague. The jokes continued and so did the incessant teasing but I was too angry to care. At lunch I sat at my usual seat which was in the corner and away from everyone else. I noticed Jake scan the crowd and head towards me and as he did so, I got up and left the cafeteria. He ended up sitting with the ‘it’ crowd. After school, I waited in the bathroom for a long time so I wouldn’t have to run into Jake. After most of the school had cleared out, I headed towards my car. My heart sank, Jake’s car was still there. I hurried to my car noticing that Jake wasn’t around. Just as I reached my car, I was greeted by Jake’s deep voice.
“I’m not letting you get away, until you allow me to explain myself. Jake had been in his car and now he was standing in front of me. I tried to ignore him and reached for my door. A muscled arm shot out in front of me and kept my door shut. I turned around. “What the hell do you want?” I asked rudely.
“May I explain myself?” I refused to answer him so he went on. “I will never be able to understand what you’re going through. However, I do have a vague idea. Now before you go off on me, just hear me out. I had a twin sister. I loved her more than my own life, only then I didn’t realize it. She was my other half. My sister, Jennifer, reminded me so much of you, from the moment I saw you, I saw Jennifer. She hated herself so much, she may have been overweight but her heart was more beautiful than gold. She hadn’t hurt a single person in her entire life.” He stopped for a while, a faraway look in his deep violet eyes. “Her attitude was exactly like yours. She was a year ahead of me in school as she started school a year earlier and I remember the year I had just started high school. I was now in the same school as my sister and people used to tease her the way they tease you. It hurt me so much to see the pain in her eyes. I wanted to help her so much, to stand up for her but I was afraid my status would degrade. I was popular and people loved me as much as they hated my sister. Even though I was never there for my sister, she was always there for me. She never held anything against me.” Jake paused for a while, tears shadowing his pained eyes. I listened intently, caught up in his world. All my worries were forgotten as I stood and listened to his story. He took a deep breath and continued. “Then one day, everything got too much for her… I should’ve shown her love. The only love she received was from my parents who were only at home occasionally.” Jakes voice cracked as he tried to continue. “One day when I got home I found Jen. She was… she was… dead, on the floor with a knife in her heart. Next to her was a note to me. All it said was I love you Jacob, more than anyone else in the world but I couldn’t take life anymore. I’m sorry, I will always love you.” Tears were streaming down Jake’s handsome face and down my face as well. “I found her diary a week later and I realized that she loved me more than herself. She hated herself with every fiber in her being. She hated herself to the extent that she would physically abuse herself. I was livid, I had lost a part of me. My twin was dead, she was gone… forever.” Jake had totally broken down now and he was sobbing at the foot of his car. I sat down next to him, unsure as to how I should console him. He took a few deep breaths and looked at me. “Megan, when I saw you… you reminded me so much of my sister and when I heard people teasing you I realized that I couldn’t let you suffer like my sister did. I may not know you but I couldn’t allow myself to leave you alone. I want to help you Megan. Please, let me. Your eyes are a mirror of my sisters. I can see you are suffering… am I wrong?”
Tears were streaming uncontrollably down my face. I tried to speak but the lump in my throat didn’t let me. I shook my head weakly. I took a deep breath and replied. “I’m sorry… I –I -I had no idea. But I do know exactly how your sister felt.”
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