Beautiful Imperfections

I’m only two steps in and the cold, foreboding chemistry room has already swallowed me whole. Soft as a whisper I slide onto a lonely bar stool, hoping to go unnoticed by the buzzing group of students. My notebook has a better idea and slides off my slick binder, pushed along by fates malevolent hand, and lands in a splatter of white notebook paper. My frantic mind starts to work overtime as it tries to subdue my intuition’s scheme to run while nineteen suntanned bodies contort towards mine like white blood cells twisting towards an alien entity. Nineteen pairs of crystal, blue eyes stare with piercing curiosity, scanning every minute detail of my unconventional form with distant wonderment.
Whispers begin to flutter through the heavy silence like chaotic butterflies. Their wings haggard and frantic beat against each other, wrinkling the static atmosphere with each murmured word. A fresh burst of anxiety explodes inside of me, bursting through my core and radiating into my limbs with the elegant fervor of a firework infecting the sky. My hands start to shake and in an act of calming myself I begin to rub my arms, folding them in on each other. I realize that this has drawn the whispers’ attention to my delicate size and ivory white complexion. Quickly I look up and out the first window I see, fixating my ebony eyes on a weather worn tree and begin to nervously play with my hair, causing my mane of chocolate curls to jump into life. The faint flutter of wings bursts into an excited frenzy of bees. As they start to swarm closer, threatening to rupture my comfort level, a lofty, robust woman erupts into the humming classroom.
“Good morning my pupils, what is all of this ruckus about then, hmm? Take your seats, take your seats and allow us to get on our way! We have much, much to discover and only so little time allotted to do so!” The bees retreat, drawn by another source of honey, and take their seats with a new sense of vigor no doubt drawn from the teacher’s thrilling ambiance. I let out a soft sigh of relief; it seems I have been pushed to the back of their minds, all except for one; a girl at the side of the room. I try to avoid her prying stare and slump forward until I’m veiled behind the head of another student. “Chemistry is not hard to understand, if you are willing to give it your all and try, try, try! If I give you my very best then I expect nothing less out of all of you…” the teacher’s sweeping hand motions are stopped short when a slender arm is jutted into the air. “Aveila, could the questions possibly wait until after I’ve started teaching?” hands on her powerful hips, the teacher looks expectantly at the girl with the prying stare.
“Mrs. Coleridge, you haven’t taken attendance yet, I was just reminding you.” Her smile oozes sugar and is directed at the teacher, but her stare lingers on me and drips with curiosity.
“Ah, of course, of course, always the one to keep me in check, thank you Aveila.” Mrs. Coleridge bounces over to the wooden desk that consumes the right corner of the room and begins to pluck away at the keys on a small blue laptop. “Delia Amber?” she calls out. “Maxwell Carpe`? Roasa Carpe`?” Mrs. Coleridge recites the names from memory only looking at the computer screen to mark a boy, Vincent Delphic, absent. “Gregory Hilston?” she calls out, scanning the room.
“Mrs. Coleridge, I think you’ve left someone out.” Aveila is still staring at me with her crystal blue eyes.
“Aveila, this is the same class I had last semester; I think I would remember the names of my students.” Mrs. Coleridge says with an irritated sigh. Aveila’s smile flickers like a light bulb about to go out but comes back on just as bright as before.
“Mrs. Coleridge,” she says, her voice fluttering with irritated charm, “we have a new student, she is obviously new.” Aveila has pinned her wintry eyes on Mrs. Coleridge but the teacher’s eyes have found mine instantly; she knew I was there the entire time but for some reason chose to ignore my presence. I try to conceal myself behind the other student again, but to no avail, all heads in the room are directed at me now and I have nowhere to hide, terrific.
“Ah yes,” she says searching the computer screen with squinted eyes, “Adionna Fescoe.” Mrs. Coleridge’s face contorts in disbelief at the same time that Aveila manages to utter a hushed gasp. In fact all of the students look as if someone had walked in the room with a blue glow emitting from their skin.
“Fescoe? You’re kidding right? There is no way you’re related to the Fescoe family. Are you sure that is her last name, I mean just look at her.” Aveila’s stare has turned from curiosity to fascinated disbelief.
“Why would they plan you so differently from Fayne and Percy?” a girl sitting next to Aveila asks, twisting her golden hair around her slim index finger.
“She obviously wasn’t a planned baby Roasa; no one would plan a baby to look like her. She is so, different.” Aveila replies. I have always known I was different, how could I not? But never have I had someone so bluntly point out that I was unusual. My older brother and sister, Fayne and Persephone, as well as my parents and basically everybody else in Pebble Beach, California, are all designer babies. Human beings with manipulated genes, drawn out on a piece of paper, created in a lab and brought to life in a Petri dish before being placed into the womb of the ecstatic mother.
In the beginning of this fad, families all had their own view of their perfect child, but as time pressed on society formed a certain “criteria” that was deemed as the “immaculate human being”. My family, the Fescoe family, is known as the first family to bring about this standard appearance and have ceaselessly brought forth flawlessly beautiful children. Until me, that is.
I’ve been called many things from mistake to accident and even the polite word “unplanned”. I can’t deny the evident; my parents didn’t plan on tagging on a fifth member to the family. My mother had always wanted one boy and one girl and my dad was good to go as long as he had a son, so there really was no need to have a third baby. But about a year and two months after Persephone’s birth, October 28, 2064, I happened.
My father was outraged at the idea of having an unplanned baby, “It’ll be so incredibly different, Gabriella!” he had pointed out to my mother, “The world will see her as nothing, nothing more than a blemish on a faultless family name”. After my mother had insisted upon keeping me my father curled into a corner in his mind and shut me out. He loves me all the same, I hope, but as I grow older and become more shockingly different, my father grows farther away often leaving a room once I’ve entered. His budding resentment towards me is emphasized immensely by the lack of family photographs after October 28th.
My father, Donnie Fescoe, is propelled to a soaring height of 6 ft, 4 inches by powerful, masculine legs. His pale, straight, blonde hair exudes a light of its own and seems to deepen the shade of his rusty, tan skin. My father’s eyes burn with the ardor of a white-blue flame flickering behind thick eyelashes. His smile, although near extinction and never seen before by my eyes, is rumored to emanate charm so staggeringly he could mesmerize a room of cynics. It is no wonder as to how he managed to captivate a girl like my mother, Gabriella.
As a child my mother was the dictionary definition of a princess, her beauty gossiped about among the mothers’ of her friends. Her loveliness flourished as she grew older. By the time she was 18 years old, her shoulder-length, blonde locks could have put gold to shame and her skin was bronzed to perfection. My mother’s smile could brighten any situation and reaches all the way up her flawless complexion to light up her glittering green eyes. Her happy ambiance is one that draws many people to her and absolutely nothing can penetrate the flawlessly crafted bubble of bliss she resides in. Everyone and everything meets her jovial eyes with an added layer of sugar; her world is perpetually shaded rose.
My brother, Fayne, is created with the genes to make any comic-book superhero look mediocre. Like my parents he has sunny-gold hair and sun baked skin. Fayne’s eyes were chosen to mirror our grandfather’s, calm and watery blue but full of power and drive. In fact Fayne could be considered our grandfather’s twin, with a strong, lean build and a height that excels 6’5”. His face is made up of the same hard chiseled jaw and strong cheekbones with a complexion mottled only by the stubborn shadow of facial hair. At the age of twenty-one, my brother is well on his way to the top of the business ladder, pushed along by the drive only seen in the generations of Fescoe men.
Where Fayne excels in power and success, Persephone makes up for with beauty and charm. I’m convinced that Percy, as she is known by everyone, is the only eighteen year old girl who could seduce a god. Not many people would disagree with me either. She is designed to epitomize our grandmamma. Everything from her shocking sea foam green eyes to her long muscular legs is designed to recreate our grandmother. Her lengthy, white blonde hair cascades down and around her heart shaped face, ending in the middle of her well-built back. Nothing and no one compares to Persephone. She commands every room she walks in, her personality outshining the sun.
Then we get to me, the blemish on the family. My skin is as pale as white frosting, sprinkled with freckles. I have curls the color of a paper bag that refuse to keep their shape, always bordering on a thick mane of frizz. My eyes, lurking behind thick black lashes, mirror night in every way and display no emotion, keeping everyone at bay. I am dwarfed by the world around me rising to a height of five feet flat. Small and delicate, I most resemble a porcelain figurine of a ballerina but without the grace and beauty. My uncommon genes coupled with my shy and timid personality make it almost impossible to ignore the unmistakable; I was not created by the minds of this world.
“Now, class, let’s settle down and get back to the subject at hand.” The teacher has resumed her arching hand motions and now stands at the front of the room with a large plastic tub in her hands, calling her students’ attention back to her. The silence following the termination of whispering is deafening. “Now, in this tub I have collected several types of rock. Each other you will receive one, keeping in mind they are all different and there is none more special than the other…” she gives Aveila a hard glance while walking the rows of tables “…Your assignment is to research your rock, its origin, what type of rock it is, description, anything that you think I would care to learn about. A report is obviously required as well as a presentation to the class.” Mrs. Coleridge has reached my table, the last table and waits patiently for me to retrieve the remaining rock, her green eyes driving into mine. “This one is yours, Adionna.” She says handing me the hardened sediment when I fail to remove it myself, and then marches back to the front of the room. Mrs. Coleridge begins to lecture on different types of rocks, turning her back to write on the white board. Her words soon cling together and fade into a faint mumbling as I anxiously wait for the bell to ring.
“So Adi, how was it!? How was everyone??” my mother is eagerly waiting for me in my room, perched elatedly on the edge of my bed. The rest of school went exactly the same as first hour Biology; nothing but endless stares filled with curiosity and disbelief, my every move followed by whispers uttered by flawless mouths.
“School was, amazing. The kids were so wonderful and friendly. I can’t wait to go back!” Although my voice is crammed with sarcasm and my eyes are surging with melancholy, my mother’s smile and happy aura remain unclouded.
“That is so wonderful, Adi! I told you it wouldn’t be so bad. Did you make any friends?” she is practically itching up my walls, her excitement heightened by my lies.
“Oh, no, not really,” the smile in her eyes falters a bit at this so I add hurriedly, “W-w-well, there was this one girl who welcomed me more than the rest. So I suppose…”
“Oh, how great! Just simply great!” she interrupts me, her enthusiasm coming at me full force, “What is her name? You must have her over as soon as possible. Of course after your homework is done, that is.”
“Aveila Summerdream,” I say, every syllable drenched with annoyance. She couldn’t leave my room fast enough, but judging by her excited tone and the way that she is rooted to my bed, I know she won’t be exiting anytime in the near future. Dumping my book bag off onto my bedroom floor, I walk over to the vanity mirror that commands one corner of my room and sit down on the plush stool, irritation exuding from my every move…
“Oh, I know her parents! What a wonderful family they have. You know it is funny that you should meet their daughter…”
“You know, mom, I really should be getting on my homework. I have a lot to do and it’s getting late,” I interrupt her before she goes into one of her long winded stories full of people with exaggerated personalities. Her delicate hand flutters to her chest.
“Oh, of course sugar, I didn’t even think of that. Don’t mind me, I’ll just be in the kitchen,” she says as she slides off my bed and sways out of my door, turning around for just a moment to smile before she disappears into the hall. I look at my book bag lying on the floor, knowing that it is honestly vacant, and feel a pang of guilt for lying to my mom. Getting up off of the stool, I walk over, flick off the lights and fall onto my bed, flipping onto my side before I shut my eyes and tumble into a restless sleep haunted by images of the day before.
The week passes with just as much unpleasant activity as my first day. First hour is filled with the same uncomfortable gossiping as well as the relentless staring from Aveila Summerdream. Every day I am greeted with the same sparkling smile from my mother who has the same questions about the possibility of my social life taking flight. After she leaves my room and I lie down, I’m immediately filled with the same anxiety about the day to come. My dreams always intruded with the same unhappy memories of the day gone by.
The weekend is like a sigh of relief but is short and bittersweet, and soon I am saying goodnight to the Sunday moon and good morning to the Monday sun. The Biology room surrounds me with its icy fingers and pulls me through the bulky doorway. I slide onto my usual lonely stool and begin to unpack my things when the bell rings and Mrs. Coleridge sweeps into the room followed by Aveila who is prattling along about how her rock has turned out to be fool’s gold. I take a look around now at all of the other students’ rocks and notice that they all sparkle in some way; none of the dull or colorless. I’ve somehow managed to get stuck with the gray, bland rock. How ironic.
“Now students, today we are going to have a bit of a study day. You can prod around on the internet, poke around in these dusty things on the shelves called books, or just examine your rock. Find out any final information you need for your report. The time is yours, use it well.” Mrs. Coleridge says as she plops down behind her desk. As she turns her attention to her laptop I turn mine to the gray lump of hardened sediment that sits patiently in front of me. Its rough and bumpy exterior does nothing to subside the fact that once again, I’m subpar to the rest of the class. Picking up the scalpel that lays next to my hand, I start to saw back and forth on the rock in a vain attempt to crack open the stubborn surface. “You’ll never get through it with that,” Mrs. Coleridge has come up behind me, her eyes chuckling at my fruitless endeavor.
“I wasn’t thinking it would be this hard; plus this is the only tool I’ve got,” I say, setting the useless scalpel down with an irritated sigh. Looking up I realize Mrs. Coleridge has manifested herself at the front of the room and is rummaging around in a drawer at her desk, she retrieves two items and makes her way back towards me.
“Try this.” She hands me a hammer and a chisel. With a sigh I take them and look helplessly down at the lump of rock still patiently sitting before me. I place the chisel in the middle of its rough surface and then hit the end of it with the hammer. Nothing happens and I look up at Mrs. Coleridge but she is intently looking at the rock, her silence telling me to keep going. The second whack of the hammer produces just the same as the first but with the third thump I hear the surface of the rock groan as it cracks. A fourth strike with the hammer and the rock falls open. I look up at Mrs. Coleridge, her eyes glint with surprise and excitement.
Inside of the two halves of the rock, clustered together like berries on a twig, are dozens of glittering purple crystals, the florescent light dancing in their violet facets. I look up at Mrs. Coleridge, wonder and disbelief no doubt playing in my eyes; she just smiles and begins to walk away, towards the front of the room muttering something to herself that I can only catch a fragment of before she is out of earshot. “We cannot be so quick to deem what we see as a flaw; nature is beautiful in its own ways…”
Turning over one half of the rock, I feel the bumpy surface, staring at its dull, gray exterior before turning it back over to reveal the beauty that was hidden inside. It was at that moment that everything clicked, from what I had said a week ago about the irony of the rock ending up with me to what Mrs. Coleridge had just said.
Everyone else in this room, and in this world, was designed by their parents according to the “criteria” of society to look the way that they do. But I, I was designed by something else entirely. My genes were picked out by nature’s graceful hand; my features were designed by something beyond our control, without our say. I was born with flaws but, just like this rock, there is beauty within my imperfections.





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