Sophie This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 2, 2010
I was four years old and I had a friend named Sophie. Like many kindergarten aged children we shared as many fights as we did smiles. We were polar opposites; she had blond, almost white hair and a SweeTart personality. She had a special way of nestling up to you like a cat when it hears a tin opener, until she realized that there was spinach in the tin instead of the salty fish.

We were very competitive and decided to have a drawing competition. Whoever could draw the better picture would receive a candy prize. I had a rush of inspiration from spending the weekend at my friend Rose’s house. She lived on the River Thames and her bedroom overlooked “Mermaid Rock”. I scribbled furiously on the tan construction paper to create a castle made of shells and a doorway of peal.

I proudly presented my picture to our mothers who had reluctantly agreed to be the judges. They held a very impressive false concentration before coming to the decision that they were equally as beautiful. Without realizing their bias, I ran through our garden to pin up my castle to the walls of my playhouse.

When Sophie’s brother returned with her mother to pick her up, he commented that he liked my picture. I filled with pride as I broke out of my usually quiet persona to explain the picture to him.

“And mermaids live there, and when you sleepover at her house, you can hear them singing to you in your sleep. One of them has beautiful golden curls, and another is mean and has dark messy hair. They are sister and this is their house.” He listened attentively and when I finally came to the end of my half made up spiel, Sophie burst into a rage that I didn’t know was possible for a small child.

She ripped up my paper with more precision than an industrial paper shredder and threw it the floor. I could feel my eyes watering up and tried to blink away the tears. I flinched with every infuriated tear to my castle. After she had sufficed her need to jump on my paper, she looked at me very calmly, with a teacher-like glare and said,

“You are ugly and your picture is ugly.”

I looked her confidently in the eye and walked away as calmly as I could manage. Halfway up the garden I broke into a run, and didn’t stop until I was in my mother’s arms. My face turned every shade of red, from embarrassment to the most intense anger a four year old could manage.

Later my mother helped me tape up my picture and we stuck it to the fridge using alphabet magnets, the kind that Sophie snacked on. That night I decided, in elementary thoughts, that anger was a waste, especially on someone who was fueled by reaction. Giving Sophie what she wanted was a bad as rewarding a scratching cat with tuna.

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