Plain Jane: Part 4
Written by Valerie Cotnoir
Previous: Anyway, Dad would just say, “Ignore ’em, that’s what I did,” and Mom would nod.
The next day as I walked to school and kids from my middle school or my neighborhood called me “Plain Jane”, I thought about all the mean things Vanessa and her group had done to me the past two years. There was the time when they put glue on my chair, they poured paint in my shoes, tripped me in the hall, made my locker stuck, stole my clothes during gym, lied to me, cheated off my papers, gave me mean notes, shouted out rude remarks; even when they discussed a way to torture me at the lockers seemed like a way to bully me.
I sighed and pressed onward for another day. When would the torture end? I just hoped Vanessa’s group didn’t go to Smiths High School, because that was where I was going for 9th through 12th grade. Even if they did, surely we wouldn’t all go to the same college, right? Maybe I would skip college…
“Hey! Look over there, Madi, it’s Plain Jane!” I heard Annette say. I was nearing the entrance of the building. The whole group was there in front of the doors.
“You’re right, Ann, it is,” Madeleine said before giggling.
“Would you look at her shoes!” Brittany almost shrieked.
“Can they be called shoes?” Courtney asked, wrinkling her nose. I stopped in front of the girls, not taking one glance at the white sneakers I was wearing. I liked them.
Only Jeanette stayed silent.
“What do you think, Nessie?” Annette said. Vanessa emerged from the back of the group.
“I think her whole attire needs fixing, Ann,” Vanessa said with a sort of air about her as if she were the Queen of Fashion and had authority in something.
“Oh, Nessie, she is not wearing a single piece of jewelry,” Madeleine said disgusted, admiring her new necklace.
“No make-up whatsoever,” Brittany observed.
“Certainly needs some,” Courtney said.
I was not hurt by any of the girls’ insults, I never had and I never would. I had never been jealous of the girls, though they may have thought that I might a little. But it did make me mad knowing that they thought they could talk to me that way as if I weren’t there, as if I were a doll on clearance.
Finally I forced myself to speak.
“It is almost class time, may I go through?” The girls blocked the doors.
“After you go home, take a shower and change those ugly clothes,” Annette said, crossing her arms.
“Yes,” the others agreed. Vanessa just stood, smirking.
“No,” I finally managed to say. “Besides, I’d be late to class.”
“Did she say no to you, Nessie?” Madeleine asked.
“She dared!” Brittany said. Annette and Courtney just shook their heads.
“What does it matter?” Vanessa asked. The girls stood and looked at their leader in shock. None of them dared move or speak.
“What does it matter?” Vanessa repeated. She looked at me and said, “No matter what she does, she could never be pretty, never be acceptable into our society. Never be worth anything.” I stood still, my eyes widening. This the was the worst thing Vanessa or any of the other girls had ever said to me, ever done to me. As I stood looking at towering Vanessa, ugly Vanessa inside and out, I did feel as if I could never be pretty, I did feel worthless.
To Be Continued…