Secret Envy

May 17, 2010
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She walks into the classroom. I watch her unashamedly. Her wavy, sleek black hair clings to her back and flows down her shoulders. I remember how dull my straight, shoulder-length hair looked in the mirror this morning, and subconsciously twirling a piece of hair around my finger, trying to discreetly look at it to make sure it doesn’t look disgusting compared to hers. Suddenly my hair feels heavy and think. I start to sweat a bit behind my neck, and I flip my hair with my hand a little. Bugs crawl across my scalp. My scalp starts to itch. Dandruff is scattered among my roots. I imagine all this while she settles down in her desk, her perfect hair swishing and reflecting the harsh florescent light.

I continue to study her other features, like I’ve done almost every single day. The envy creeps up, like I know it will when I look at her. Her face is round and heart-shaped, with an array of freckles on her cheeks. She has no acne. Her mouth is full and glossy, and her eyes are a large, dark chocolate brown. Her short, slim figure shows through her tight clothes, and when she walks her hips sway back and forth. It’s mesmerizing.

My thoughts wander to my own plain face, irritated from harsh acne treatments but persistently oily. I remember the red blemishes screeching on my forehead, broadcasting how hideous I must look. But I refuse to wear make-up. I suddenly become aware of my bulky purple glasses perching on my nose, and my saggy jeans that are two sizes too big for me but was the smallest size they had at TJ Maxx. My shirt suddenly has a food stain on the back where I can’t see it, and everybody is snickering behind their hands. My butt suddenly has a water stain on it but I can’t check, and I glue my behind to the seat even more tightly, if possible.

She’s wearing sandals that sparkle. The foot sporting the sandal bobs up and down in boredom and impatience. I sneak a peek at my own shoes and see my clunky white sneakers. My toes curl up in their prison and I suddenly become aware that my feet are sweating in the stifling shoe. I shift my position and uncurl my toes, but my sock feels wet and sticky. My big toe and its neighbor rub against each other, over and over again, slick with hot sweat. I glance at her again. She must have the perfect life. She’s so pretty. She has so many friends. Two boys have already asked her to the dance, and she turned down both. Nobody has asked me. I want to convince myself that I don’t care, but in reality I do. I start to hate myself. But it happens every day and this is my routine. Wishing I was somebody else more perfect than myself.

* * * *

The lesson is boring. My glittery sandaled foot bobs up and down, but I slow it to a stop, setting my foot down to the floor. My feet are dying in the torturous shoes. I turn and look at her, and she’s looking at me. She looks quickly away, down at her paper, writing something down. Her face starts to redden. I continue to look at her. She’s taller than me. I’ve always wanted to be tall, so that I wouldn’t be dwarfed by the guys.

I look at her some more. She has acne, like me, but she’s confident enough not to cover it up with heavy makeup, unlike me. I’ve always been judged by my appearance. I can’t let anything look imperfect, or I’m out. Her hair is shiny and tousled, giving it a voluminous look. I wish my hair could look like that. Naturally perfect. Not messed up with hair products, or practically burnt with curling irons. Her face is oval and tan, a pretty flush in her cheeks. She has no freckles. I hate my freckles. They’re so ugly but they won’t go away. Her mouth is so tiny, like a little cherry. It’s a light brown color that has a tint of red in it. I put the back of my hand to my mouth, feeling my large, protruding lips. I stare at hers again, and then look at the lip gloss stain on my hand.

When she gets up to get a tissue, her jeans sag a little. She turns from the wall so I can’t see her backside. Suddenly I feel my clothes suffocating me, wishing that I could wear those comfortable jeans and not force a second skin on my body. She has pretty, wide curves that beat my gym rat, supermodel ones. And she’s so smart. Everybody knows her as ‘the smart girl’. She’s always acing the tests that everyone fails in. I look at her shoes and see white sneakers. I bet she’s athletic. I bet she’s great at sports. I’m not. I’m good at watching them, though. And dating captains. She’s so happily single, and I know a lot of shy guys secretly like her. When I see her with her friends she seems to be having a genuinely good time, unlike the fake smiles and titters that I give my ‘friends’ as we gossip mindlessly. I wish I could be like her. I take one last look at her when she glances at me. Our eyes meet, and she breaks the gaze first. She must have the perfect life.

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Sarah said...
May 24, 2010 at 3:21 pm
Wow that was really good! I liked how you wrote it in two different points of view..It made me more aware of what goes on beyond my own head =) Keep writing!
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