Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Beauty of Being Ugly

Melanie was rushing to get out the door before she ran into the table and felt the pain surging through her leg. She clutched her leg in pain and hopped on one foot while she grabbed her phone to call her mother. What would be her excuse for missing her birthday? She flipped open her phone and dialed her parent’s home number.

“Hello, mum?”

“Mel, where are you?” Her father had picked up the phone.

“I’m going to wave down a taxi right now.” Melanie replied as she slammed the old wooden apartment door behind her.

“Well alright, but hurry up, because we’re going to start the party soon.” Her father replied before he hung up.

Soon enough, a taxi with a middle aged man stopped, and she hopped in.

“To the Plaza, please.” Melanie mumbled as she stuffed the wrapped Roy Orbison CD into her purse and took her sunglasses and wallet out. Life is good, she thought.

The New York Taxi started with a jump, and jerked Melanie forward. She quickly brushed it off and patted her frizzy auburn hair down. The middle aged man, who appeared to be middle eastern, hadn’t said a single word to her. The taxi made a sharp turn, and then another. Nothing’s wrong, everything’s okay. He’s a new driver, Melanie reassured herself. Soon enough, the man started to moan as if he was sick with the stomach flu.

“Excuse me sir, are you alright?” She leaned forward to speak to him.

He glared at her with bloodshot eyes for what seemed like hours while they his foot was still on the peddle.

“What are you doing? Where are you going? We just passed the Plaza! Please let me out of the cab.” Melanie cried, her words running together, trying to grab the steering wheel out of his hand.

He continued to look at her, all while a smile was slowly creeping upon his face. It was the kind of smile you’d see in a horror film. It was at that point where he grabbed the bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag and took a hearty gulp from it. He slammed down the bottle and let out a roar of a laugh. He turned towards the wheel and sped forward with all of the energy he had.

Melanie jerked back into her seat in shock, her eyes locked upon him. The seatbelt smacked against her chest and restricted her, like seat belts always do when kids are rambunctious. The taxi slid out upon the intersection as if there were a thin sheet of ice on the late spring street. Melanie could feel her heart pounding out of her chest, and she shut her eyes closed as she always did when she watched a scary movie. Except this time, she was the one goign to die in the movie. From the right, closest to Melanie, the green light signaled a texting teenage girl to go straight ahead as soon as the taxi came into play, breaking the rules and running the red light.

From that point on, everything seemed to slow down as well and rush with blur. As soon as Melanie finally opened her eyes to look out of the window closest to her on the right, she could see the silver Camry impact the yellow, black, and white cab. Her eyes were focused on the car demolishing the side of the car where she sat, she thought to herself, This is where I die, I will die on my mother’s birthday. Her daughter died on her birthday. I’m a terrible daughter. I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die. I die today, and I die on the street.

“When will she wake up?” A distant voice sounded.

“She’ll wake up soon enough, she just needs some rest.”

Mel could hear everything that was going on, but couldn’t bring her eyes to open. She let out a moan and took a deep breath, her back popped and a deep pain from her ribs emerged. As she let out the breath, she found the strength the open her eyes.

The light hurt her farsighted pale eyes, while she tried to focus her eyes like a camera lens upon the people surrounding her bed. When she was finally able to see past the fluorescent lights, she noticed that her father, mother, and a doctor where there, around her bed in an ER room.

“How are you feeling hon?” Her gaze turned towards her mother.

“I’m ok.” Melanie answered, rather confused, “could I have a glass of water?”

Her fathered nervously picked up the paper cup and filled it with water, “why don’t I help you drink it?” He asked nervously.

“No really, I’m fine. Why would I need-” She stopped, her right arm was amputated. How long had she been out?

They all kept their presence in an awkward silence so thick one could cut it with a knife.

The doctor broke the silence, “Mel, can I call you that?”


“Ok Mel, you’re scheduled to check in at Sunny-side Rehabilitation in center in 5 hours.”

“Today? Rehabilitation center? I’m not a drug addict.” Melanie retorted.

“It won’t be for long, and you’re in a rehabilitation center for injuries.”

“Old people injuries?”

“Well, not always-”

“I’ve heard enough, I’m not going.” Melanie dismissed the doctor.

“Mel, you’re going.” Her father’s deep voice stopped her, and she knew that she had to go no matter what.

Melanie neared Sunny-side in a cab, similar to her “near death” cab along with her weeping mother and silent father. Anger and retribution bubbled up inside of her, and she felt such hate for the cab driver. Was he dead?

“Mum. Before I go, do you know if he’s still alive?”

For a few moments, her mother patted her eyes down, “yes, he survived.”

“Any injuries?”

“No injuries.”

Melanie’s head pounded and she felt something she had never felt before. She was vexed by,  she detested, she despised, she loathed the cab driver. She felt the bumpy, scarred remains of her arm as the cab rolled across the gravel as the front door was only a stone’s throw away. She reached over and pulled the door open, everything had become a struggle. For God’s sake, she could hardly use the bathroom. She said a quick farewell, and hugged both of her parents tightly before she pushed the wooden door with an ugly “welcome to paradise” sign open.

“Welcome to Sunny-side! The sunniest side in Jersey!” Exclaimed an optimistic young female with blonde hair and tan skin with a heavy Jersey accent.

“Hi.” It was as if Melanie lost her words, one by one.

They both stood there for a while, “well, I’ll show you to your room,” she said with less optimism.


Once they arrived at the room and Melanie was left alone, she could see that they tried too hard to make this place seem homey. Many people would appreciate it, in fact, Melanie probably would have appreciated it if she had been the happy, normal of herself. Instead she was angry, spiteful, and vindictive. She tossed her duffle onto the vacant bed, faced the mirror. She was ugly. Her hair looked like a birds nest, and she looked as if she hadn’t slept in days- even though she probably had slept for days. Not to mention the ugliest looking thing dangling from her right shoulder. No longer an arm, never had it even been half of an arm, it was a reminder of the distasteful abomination of a human being who had done this to her. She cringed at the thought of him.

“Thank God I’m not the only one in this room! I hate being alone!” A girl, who looked to be of 19 years, shouted after she knocked the door open.

“Hi.” Melanie tried to hide her arm from her.

She seemed not to notice, “I’m Lola from Colorado,” She smiled brightly at her.

Melanie said not a word, but tried to analyze; to figure out what was wrong with her.

Lola’s smile quickly faded at Melanie’s suspicion, “you’re wondering what’s wrong with me, aren’t you?”

Melanie did not respond.

“Drug Addict,” Lola continued, “I was a drug addict.” She twirled her black hair.

“I lost my arm.” Melanie pushed her self to say.

“No way! It’s right there, I can see it-” Lola stopped, “I see.”

They both stood there in silence until Lola broke it, “why don’t we go outside by the pool?”

“Ok.” It didn’t quite sound fun to her, but she figured that she needed some fresh air.

“How did that happen?” Lola pointed at it.

Melanie pushed open the glass double doors open to the pool open before answering, “Well,” she paused, “It was my mom’s birthday, and I was running late. So, instead of walking as I usually do, I took the cab for the first time.”

“You were in a car accident?”

“It wasn’t an accident,” Melanie stopped by the pool side and glared at Lola, “you can’t call a terrible thing like that an accident.”

“Ok, fine! I’m sorry.”

They sat down on the poolside chair. The temper had bubbled up in Melanie so much so, that it no longer seemed to me the same frivolous Melanie. She hated everything about this place and everything about the indecent being that put her here. Her throat scratched like sandpaper when she swallowed.

“I’m going to get some water.” Melanie told Lola.

“Okay, Mel.”

She then stood up, with an innocent smile on her face. Melanie did not realize that she followed after. As soon as they neared the end of the pool, Lola pushed Melanie into the water with a crash. She laughed, until Melanie grabbed her by the ankle and tugged her in with her weak left arm.

“This shouldn’t be my life!” Melanie cried while she held Lola’s head underwater.

A set of arms wrenched Melanie out of the water as Lola gasped for air.

“What’s your problem?” Mel came face to face with a rather hairy man.

She lunged towards him, and clamped her hands around his neck. If only for a moment, she saw the cab driver’s face engraved in his features.

“I hate you and everything you’ve done to me.” She whispered in ear with maliciousness.

“Ok. She’s psychotic.” He yanked her into the building and down some bright hallways. Finally, they arrived at the end of the walk, and he pulled out some keys. She stood there with the bags under her eyes pulling her down. He yanked her into a room with bare white walls.

Minutes, Hours, Days? She didn’t care how long she had been there. Her clothes had changed to the white rags that She banged on the walls and thought about what had her ruined life; the man who ruined her life. The door unlocked and was pushed open.

“Mel?” Her mother, “are you alright?”

“Mom.” She ran towards her mother and hugged her legs like she used to.

“I have someone here to see you.”

Melanie got up, and stood there in anticipation. That was, until she saw him.


“Listen, I’m sorry.” He took of his hat.

“I couldn’t care less if you are sorry,” she stepped closer, “you ruined my life.”

“Don’t be so frank, it was an accident.”

“There it is again with the accidents!”

“It was an accident.”

“Okay. I believe you.” Melanie smiled at him.

“Well, I presume you have made up,” Her mother smiled at the both of them, “I’ll leave you too alone.” She shut the door behind her.

“Like I said, I’m so incredibly sorry.” He put his hat back on and turned around.


“Are you alright?” He asked as he turned back around to face Melanie.

And the smile that nearly killed Melanie was on her face, directed towards him.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback