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She looks me in the eye, it's not strange though. We're friends. Good friends. I raise an eyebrow, playfully, making a sarcastic motion to beckon her speech.

"You're pretty."

It takes me by surprise. I've never looked in a mirror and thought "pretty." I've thought everything but "pretty." Because I'm not.

Not even a little bit.

I laugh it off, making a joke about her being a filthy liar. And it's okay for a moment, a very brief moment. Because I know which one of us is a filthy liar.

"I'm serious," she insists, nudging me.

She's frowning now, like a little kid. It's almost cute. But she's too pretty for cute and part of me hates her just a little for that.

"Seriously a liar," I tease, free to giggle because no one else is around.

She shakes her head, sighing a little. I roll my eyes because I'm not pretty. Not even a little bit.

"Why don't you believe me?" It's a genuine question. And it does nothing to help the bile rising in my throat or the nails digging into my palms.

I'm not pretty.

I know I'm not and I just wish she would drop it. Besides, she's only saying it because we're friends and I told her about what Grundy said on Valentine's Day. It's not that I like him, I don't, it's just that he's a guy and I've never thought I'm pretty. Then he said it. Flat out said it. It hurt, it stung, but I already knew it so I kept my mouth shut and called her a stupid b**** for rejecting him after he did that sweet, clichéd, adorable thing for her because he's my friend too.

And now she's telling me I'm pretty.

"Because I'm not," I tell her. It's blunt, almost cruel sounding out in the open. But it's true and the truth hurts, right?

I realize much too late that my voice is too dry and dangerously low. My voice isn't supposed to get that low. I'm a damn soprano for crap's sake. And it makes me sound like one of those overly insecure, pretty bullied girls. But I'm not pretty. I'm not.

"Yes, you are, Alison," she's frustrated now, I can hear it in her voice, "why can't you take a compliment? Or the truth?"

A small voice in the back of my head whispers something about me being a liar. I tell it to shut up.

"Whatever you say, Sofie," I shrug, just wanting her to leave it alone.

She sighs and finally lets it go. I almost slump against the tree in relief. But I swear I hear her whisper, "you are."

No, Sofie, I'm not.



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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Kisses-A said...
Feb. 26 at 4:09 am
How dare you not know how pretty you are! Everyone is always calling you pretty and boys (and the occasional girl) write poems about how pretty you are! We're identical and you call me pretty occasionally yet you don't know you're pretty? For crap's sake, Ali, you're just a little bit prettier than me! Anyways, great job characterizting Sofie, you really do her justice. The inner turmoil (while incredibly stupid of you to think which is weird bec... (more »)
 
Greekfreak347 said...
Feb. 17 at 6:58 am
I hope this is not as nonfiction as you say it is because it's CRAZY when a girl doesn't know if there pretty.I I may not be pretty on the outside but   “Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.”  that actually came from I am messenger, but my mom told me that when I felt like i wasn't cute enough for any girl to date . Hope this helped you to see you're inter beauty,         ... (more »)
 
LucyD. replied...
Feb. 17 at 2:22 pm
Unfortunately, Ali really doesn't know she's pretty — pretty doesn't even really begin to cover it, by the way — because even if she is smart and book smart and gets straight A's, she's stupid. Part of it's because somehow, we ended up being friends with girls who look like they belong in an Abercrombie and Fitch ad. Spencer, Madison, and I are always trying to remind her that she's flipping gorgeous but the girl is stubborn as a mule.
 
LucyD. said...
Feb. 15 at 11:09 pm
love your characterization of Sofie. I hate that you don't know you're pretty though, Ali, you are. Anyways, I should keep on focus as a critic. The structuring is solid and the inner turmoil (as sad and terrible as it is) really portrays the anger and despair at not thinking (even though you are) you're pretty when she's trying to tell you are.  You did a great job and I want Sofia to see this.
 
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