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A man attempts to make his childhood friend love him.

The Ugly Man

By Joseph Logsdon

John Watson was the ugliest man in the world. As a boy, John had to suffer the ignorant laughter of children and teachers. They could not bear to look at him, for he was the most hideous creature they had ever seen. John’s skin was pale, rough, and deformed. John’s mother could not bear to look at him, not even for a brief moment. She never wanted a deformed child, but she received one nonetheless.

John wanted to die, but could not bring himself to end his life. Janet Masterson was the love of his life and he wanted to be with her. However, she was a beautiful woman and could never be seen with a disfigured man. When Janet was younger, she would play with John in his backyard and was not afraid of him. John knew that Janet loved him, but could she defy the unwritten rules of society? John wanted to change his appearance and tragically had no money to do so. He cried, shouted, and panted every night that he was away from Janet. One night, John made the decision to declare his love for Janet. He hoped that she would not reject him, for his heart could not take it.

John was forty years old and had lived with his mother throughout his miserable life. No employer would hire him and no homeless shelter would accept him. Janet was his neighbor and he saw her every day on her way to work. Every afternoon, John would greet Janet at her front door and she would tell him about her day. John nearly cried every time she would kiss him on the cheek, for that kiss meant everything to him. He hoped that she would marry him someday, that she would finally see that her true love had been standing in front of her every day of her life.

One rainy afternoon, John waited for Janet to return from work. He planned to declare his love for her and he hoped that she would return his love. However, John knew that deep down Janet did not love him. Tears poured down his face as Janet pulled into the driveway. He feared rejection, but would have to ultimately face it. As she approached him, John attempted to appear confident and brave to the best of his ability.

“How have you been, John?” she asked.

“I’ve been just fine, Janet. How have you been?”

“I don’t want to talk about it."

“What’s wrong?” John asked.

“My boss is on my back all the time and I can’t seem to satisfy him. John, can I tell you something that I have never told anyone?”

“Of course you can.”

“I hate working and have always hated working. My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but I did not have the skills or patience for that. All my life, my parents have been telling me what to do and what to say. I’ve had enough of them, John. Sometimes, I just want to scream into a pillow. Do you know what I mean, John?”

“I know what you mean, at least I think I do. My whole life, people have judged me because of my appearance. Society expects everyone to be beautiful, but that expectation is impossible! It’s human nature to reject the unknown and the unexplored. Because of that fact, I’ve been without love, without warmth and comfort.”

“I love you, John.”

“Why do you love me?” John asked.

“You’re kind, considerate, and extremely generous. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.”

“Am I only considered a friend?”

“What do you mean?”

“I love you, but not like a friend. Ever since I was a boy, I have adored you, Janet. You’re my only reason for living. If I didn’t have you, I would be lost. Janet, will you marry me?”

Janet was shocked by her friend’s words and she did not know how to respond. Her eyes bulged and her heart raced as she struggled to speak.

“John, you’re a wonderful man, but we could never be together.”

John’s heart broke into a thousand pieces as Janet rejected him. Sadness ruled his expression and all happiness left his body.

“It’s because I’m ugly, isn’t it?”

“I never thought you were ugly, John.”

“Why are you rejecting me?” John asked.

“You have no money and a woman like me needs money to survive. You can understand that, can’t you?”

“You don’t think I’m ugly?”

“Looks aren’t important to me, but financial security is. Unlike most women, I can look past appearances. However, I need stability and you can’t provide that, John. I’m sorry, but that’s the way things have to be. I can’t marry a poor man, not even if I love him. I want an enriched life, a life that will give me peace and stability.”

John was relieved to know that he was not being rejected because of his appearance. However, he could see through Janet’s innocence and he knew that she was the most materialistic person he had ever met. John did not say another word to Janet as he politely left the house without explanation. She had disappointed him in an unexpected way. He cried as he entered his bedroom. John took a piece of rope and placed it around his neck. Surprisingly, no one cried when his body was found the next morning. Janet did not love John, for she was only out for herself. No one would remember John, nor would they remember any other lost and ugly soul.


Submitted: March 14, 2014

© Copyright 2022 JL reaper. All rights reserved.

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Comments

carolsue1ok

that is so sad but yet that could be so true

Sat, March 15th, 2014 3:35am

Joseph Mark

Nice story with a sad ending. I have a friend who is like John in many ways, except that he is employed. Through no fault of his own (he was attacked in junior high school and repeatedly hit in the face with a shovel) he has a very bad appearance. Throughout high school and work he was repeatedly picked on and had trouble finding girlfriends because of his looks. He is the strongest and bravest man I've ever known.

Sat, March 15th, 2014 5:06pm

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