Ugly Is Who Ugly Does (: formerly published)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

In Sarah's family and in her circle of friends she has always been seen as "ugly" ....

She had often been called "Ugly Sarah" by her school friends and other friends - fiends, actually!!! - and then she wasn't being called anything at all except "Sah". They didn't even say Sarah, just that insulting "Sah". However, it was a relief when they stopped talking about her looks as she simply couldn't exhibit the same perfect facial features, long, blonde hair, waspy waist and long legs of her sister Kristin. No, none of that because she was much shorter, a bit plump and had rather short legs. She even had skin problems and also scars from her constant warrings with her pimples. All very sad, but so much sadder when she considered the fact that she was born at almost the same moment as Kristin, but this twin of hers had everything and she none of what counts in looks. That felt utterly unfair and for years she asked her Mom WHY they didn't look more alike when they were twins.
"Oh darling, it's because you take after me and Kristin after your late father ..."
So true, yes, all, all too true and what could she do about such a statement? Nothing!
Perhaps she didn't hate Kristin for her good looks and her career in modeling, but she didn't always love her either. Actually, that was a pity as she knew full well that Kristin was a nice girl so she was proud of herself when she felt one of those rare pangs of sisterly love towards her. After all Kristin didn't gloat at her good fortune in looks, no on the contrary, she seemed not to think about it at all. Probably she didn't even know that her sister was being consumed with envy, which sadly enough was due to the same invisibility-magic as Sarah had seen in her so-called "friends": They didn't see her for what she was, but for being something she wasn't, i.e. some sex-less creature with the family position of an old "auntie" from the age of 13 and they still did now that she was 23.
- Dumb, Sarah told herself, very dumb people - and right she was, they were dumb, except for one person, her aunt Beatrice. She had always loved Kristin the most, but when she died they found that her will left Sarah the beneficiary of a substantial sum of money. There also was a cryptic message for her which nobody, Sarah included, could decipher. It read: "Sarah, keep faith, don't overlook the possibilites in life." Neither Beatrice nor Sarah were religious people so there was no real explanation of that "faith" which surprised everybody in the family.
"Perhaps Beatrice wanted you to join some church that she herself liked?" cousin John said. He knew that there also had been a clipping in an envelope with the Will and was dying to know what it said, but Sarah pretended not to understand all the hints from him and her other relatives. The only one she told was Kristin, but not until she swore never to tell anybody about it.
"It's strange," she said, "Beatrice never really liked me and now she gives me a large sum of money with a clipping about plastic surgery. I should be offended, but I'm not because the money is mine to do with what I want to do."
Kristin sat without talking for some minutes then she said: "Well, I'm going to have something done ..."
"What! Why? You have always been the pretty one."
"My breasts are sagging, the nipples look downwards instead of upwards ..."
"And so what, you have a magnificient figure? I'm very surprised at you, Kristin."
"Also my nose ..."
"Your nose is perfect. It always was," Sarah said, not believing her own ears. How could this beautiful creature have misgivings about her looks? Ridiculous!
Kristin didn't answer and only a few weeks later she had her nose job. Sarah had to admit that it looked good and for the very first time she thought of the clipping about plastic surgery, but pushed any ideas about it to the farthest corner of her mind.
- I can never be a beauty so why bother, she thought, shrugging it off.
However, the money made her independent so she bought a small, but nice condominium and set up an internet-based business of nice, Italian accessories. At first it didn't bring in much, but why bother about that when she had a nice, well-stuffed banking account? She even had enough to lend Kristin some without any worries should she not get it back. So Beatrice's money paid for her pretty niece's new bosom. Again Sarah had to admit that it looked good and the nipples now really did look upwards. Not that they hadn't before, but now they looked positively ambitious, staring at the sky.
Her only reservation was the scars around them, but Kristin reassured her: "They will be gone very soon," she said, looking happy by the thought of her new profile: Nose and bosom, that sure was an asset, but she also thought of having something done to her chin so she focused on her new plans and didn't talk about them yet. Actually she hoped that her new boyfriend, Sonny, would help her out financially so that she didn't have to ask Sarah for another loan even though she knew she would give it to her without any protests.
As to Sarah then she had noticed this new asset to the family, especially because Sonny came very close to her ideal in men. Tall and charming, with auburn hair and beautiful, dark eyes - yes, absolutely her ideal in a man. Not that she would try to lure him away because she knew that was impossible. Men like him always went for the perfect, the status symbol in girls and that she would never be. As to his own social status then he was in the PR-business, but she didn't quite know what his job was so she used her lack of knowledge to approach Kristin with questions about him.
Had he been married? No - and he had no kids.
Where did she meet him? At some of her friends'.  
What was he doing? He is the managing director in a PR-firm.
etc., etc., etc..
Whenever Sarah met him she found him more charming than the time before, but he didn't seem to notice her much. After some time he came to not resent her as he had the first time they met and then he accepted her as his beautiful girlfriend's less pretty sister. No asset, but all right and definitely someone whom he had to be polite to as Kristin liked and protected her.

When Kristin had something done to her pretty chin and nice cheeks so that she became even more model-beautiful than before Sarah was ready to give plastic surgery a try. She took out the clipping from aunt Beatrice and went to see the surgeon og the clinic. He wasn't the same one who had been in on Kristin's case, but that she saw as an advantage as she wanted to keep all this secret. That's why she went on a holiday for two weeks to get her new nose. Not that it wasn't noticed when she came back home again because it was - and not for the good. Strangely enough, Kristin who hadn't needed her surgery was congratulated on it, but Sarah who really had obtained better looks by hers was derided by her family, except by Kristin who did what she could to console her.
"Don't listen," she said, "they are such idiots and so very envious of your money. You look fine, very pretty indeed."
Sarah knew that the new, much smaller nose had changed her looks for the better, but she also wasn't a fool who all of a sudden felt model-pretty. However, she already had planned next step: Fat suction and especially on her tummy and waist and these operations she had only some weeks later. When it had healed she invited the family to dinner and received them dressed in some smart, new clothes that Kristin had helped her to choose at the best shop in town. One look in the mirror convinced her that she looked quite good, but not model-good. Kristin, on the other hand, as always looked a fashion goddess, but then she always did no matter what she put on.
Cousin John didn't say anything, but he stared, and Sarah caught him ogling her when she had her back turned on him for a moment. That made her smile because she had had a crush on him some years ago and he hadn't noticed her. Now he did and even Sonny looked at her with appreciation. For once she enjoyed to be with her family because now she didn't feel like Cinderella and what's more: She felt sure that if they should try some of their little games to make her feel inferior she wouldn't care because she knew that she had taken fate on and combatted it. She had come out the victor thanks to aunt Beatrice and when she at some point that evening had a conversation with her aged sister-in-law, Hannah, she came to realize something more about the process she so unexpectedly had been part of.
"Didn't you know that she had a friend - a male friend for years?" Hannah said, obviously very surprised.
"No, everybody thought that she lived all by herself and never saw anybody."
"She almost never saw the family," Hannah said, "they weren't very kind to her as she was considered a failure of some sort."
"A failure?"
"Yes, this family always has its scapegoat, i.e. the woman who is less attractive, less succesfull than the others. In Beatrice's generation she was the one and she suffered terrible being mobbed like that. Especially because she had an accident that disfigured her face ..."
"She looked all right to me ..."
"Yes, after she scraped money to get plastic surgery."
"Oh - I see - then she ..."
"Yes, she had her operation and stopped bothering about the family. Instead she took care of Dr. Dearborn and they would have married if his wife hadn't been so very ill that he couldn't bring it over his heart to divorce her."
"Was Beatrice the mistress of a married doctor?!" Sarah found that hard to believe as she always had seen her aunt as the boring spinster, living by herself with a dog or two.
"Fiancée," Hannah corrected her. "She was his fiancée and when he died she inherited a lot of money - which I think you have now - and then she kept more and more to herself."
Sarah was very surprised. She tried to visualize her aunt's face, but failed. - What a drama, she thought, and how different everything is from what I thought. My family is awful, even worse than I thought. As to the wonderful Sonny then he is all glimmer and charm, but nothing more. Then she started to think about her own life which had been centered about her lacks in looks, envy and obsessions with those who mobbed her.
- Why, she thought, should I let myself be hampered in by all that nonsense. I'm fit as a fiddle and look all right although I'm not a beauty like Kristin. There must be better things to think about than that.
And so there was as she developed her concept for the online shop she had and also took part in an animal welfare program in a new society for abandoned pets. Here she met someone called Michael and after him a Peter followed by a Charles and another one called Nicholas, but she didn't settle down until the Vet, Mr. Smith-Jones came along. By then her family had changed their opinion on her from Cinderella to femme fatale and oh, how she enjoyed to shock and simply outrage them ...

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© EC

Submitted: March 03, 2010

© Copyright 2022 Else Cederborg. All rights reserved.

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Donna Cavanagh

I think that Sarah turned out to be the real beauty - a natural beauty. She is the one that is shining. I feel badly for Kristin. She has the physical beauty that others want and cannot even see it in herself. Great story. I like the ending. I like that Sarah has come into her own.

Wed, March 3rd, 2010 9:38pm


So do I, and I bet many Sarahs out there would be able to do the same if only they had more self-confidence.

Wed, March 3rd, 2010 1:41pm

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