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Marissa, my only sister, stood in the bathroom, brushing her long blond hair. She was lucky enough to get our mother’s long flowing blond hair, I got dad’s light brown curl hair. My hair was crazy curly. I always wore my hair in a bun at night, so it would be tamer in the morning. I wore lots of eyeliner, and lip gloss, the fruity flavored kind.
“Nicole, please! Brush your hair, there’s a freaking knot on the back of your head. Don’t sleep with your hair in a pony tail. Gosh, everyone knows that damages your hair terribly.” Marissa was at her suggestions again, always telling me what I should wear and should do, but all they did was make me want to do the opposite, what she obviously thought I was already doing.
“Thank you for the suggestions, Marissa, but no thank you.” I said continuing on my way to my room. In my room, I picked up my hair brush and gingerly brushed through my hair, careful not to make it frizzy. I was mostly straight, except for the noticeable crease from the ponytail. I grin at myself in the mirror, but quickly went back to my normal frown. My teeth looked awfully crooked.
“Nicole, did you actually finish your book report last night,” my best friend Carly nudged me as I collected my books from my locker.
I shrugged. “I had nothing else to do. I felt like getting it off my shoulders.” I shut my locker and turned the dial three quick times, then turned to face her. A wave of self-consciousness swept over me, like it always does when I talk to Carly. She had pretty green eyes that had perfect eyelashes and complimented with a perfect nose. I reached up and touched my own nose, and it felt big and abnormal. Carly never rubbed her beauty in on me, she was the nicest person I knew. She gave me makeovers, sometimes, but they always felt to girly.
“Your crazy,” she laughed and we walked along towards our social studies class. I knew Justin, her boyfriend, was in the class, so I would have to deal with him. He always sneered crude remarks at me. Him and his friends talked about me behind me and Carly’s back.
In the classroom, me and Carly were the last few to arrive. Justin waved at us, well Carly, and pointed to an empty seat next to him. Only one. I sighed inwardly and watched Carly hurry over to him and take the seat. I slid into a seat in the front row by the door. If there was a fire, at least I would survive.
The class dragged on and on, the 45 minutes stretched infinity. Maybe because Mrs. Seelan talked about what we would be “studying” and her personal grading plan that worked brilliantly. She bragged about how she was writing a book about how to be a great teacher like herself. I think we all disagreed. Maybe the class took forever because I could here Carly’s giggling behind me, and the whispering. I had a feeling it was me that they were talking about, but it was stupid because Carly was my friend, right? I kept thinking about how different me and Carly were. Her perfect eyes, nose, hair, which is strawberry blonde, and her perfect body. The bell made me jump, and my classmates were swarming past me, trying to get out the door.
“I’m sorry, Nicole! I wish Justin had saved an extra seat for you,” Carly apologized, like she always did, but this time it was different. I always could see she meant it, but this time, this year, her apologizes were short, common, and less and less sincere. She didn’t want me around.
I just shook my head and hurried away from Carly. A little test to see if she really meant what she said. Normal Carly would call for me to come back, run to catch up with me, and try to fix things. But this time, when I glanced over my shoulder, Carly was going the other way, Justin with his arm around her, laughing loudly to something he, or maybe she, said. I felt a lump grow in my throat, and I knew nothing in the world could make me go to last hour, who needed PE anyways.
I sat in the girls bathroom on the far side of the school, well farthest from the gym, where Carly was, probably enjoying herself without me. A window facing a parking lot, half blocked by over grown bushes, had a wide enough sill for me to sit on. 20 minutes and school would be out. As I sat here, I kept wiping a tear away, trying to swallow the giant pain in my throat.
The bathroom door swung open and a girl came in. It wasn’t a big school, or even a big town, but I had never in my life seen this girl before. She wore her hair in a wild, just-out-of-bed look and her face had sharp eyes, and a thin lipped mouth, but she still had beauty. She had on dark jeans and a football jersey with the number 4 on the front. She looked at me and I shifted nervously. Her eyes seemed to be studying my insides.
“I’m Ethel. Weird name I know.” She walked towards me and her left leg lurched oddly forward. She hopped up on the window sill beside me. She noticed me glancing at her leg.
“You noticed right away, did ya?” She tapped her left leg and sighed. “It’s fake.” She lifted her jeans to show me a black metal leg instead of flesh. I held my breath.
“How did, uhh, that happen?” I asked trying to let my breath out slowly so I wouldn’t look like a dork in front of her.
She shrugged her shoulders. “Tell ya later,” she pulled her legs up to her and sat cross legged on the ledge.
“What’s your name,” she asked glancing at me and I noticed her eyes were electric blue. Stunned I answered slowly like an idiot.
“My aunt’s name is Nicole,” Ethel grinned at me, and I noticed her front right tooth was a little crooked, but it was cute in an odd way. I just nodded.
The last bell rang, making me jump, which made Ethel start laughing and snorting. She stopped suddenly and grinned at me.
“I’ll see you around Nicole,” she fake punched my arm, but not to hard, then left the bathroom. And maybe if Ethel’s fake leg hadn’t been faulty, she would have made it all the way across the high way to her house, and maybe we could have been best friends.