I was a loser.
Everything you could possibly associate with the most unpopular person at any high school. It was true though, I was. I mean, look at me! I’m a wreck! I’m fat, ugly and gross. Everything anyone said about me was true; I was the most disgusting human being on the face of the planet.
I’ve been picked on since I was born, by my older brothers, even my parents. When I was a kid my brothers, Kalle and Makar, used to tease me about how ugly I was. Everyday, same thing: “Eww! Aryll, stop eating it’s making me nauseous!” and “Maybe if you were a little prettier then you would have a date to the dance.”
My parents meant well but you could always see it in their eyes they were disappointed to have a daughter like me. My brothers were adorable as babies, even now. Kalle is 19 and the younger of the two boys, he’s the middle child. He’s devilishly handsome, with naturally bleach blonde hair and bright green eyes, he looks pretty much identical to my dad, took dad’s height too, at almost 6”2. He has this jawbone thing; it drives the girls wild, very square, with high cheekbones and a perfectly symmetrical face. He’s the mischievous party animal of the family, always out with a different girl, always going to parties and getting drunk and having great stories to tell to his friends on Monday. Mom caught him sneaking in at 6 in the morning one time, and gave him hell for it, my dad just grins and says how much Kalle reminds him of himself at that age, then my mom giggles. He’s normally the most mean to me, because we’re so close in age all his friends know who I am, he’s too embarrassed to drive me to school anymore because they say stuff to him, laugh at him.
Makar is 22 and the oldest sibling in the Riley family. He looks like my mom, with piercing yellow and green eyes, kids are actually afraid of him. Makar was the most popular kid at my high school, he wore the leather jacket, and the baggy jeans, drove the nice car, and always had the most gorgeous and popular girlfriend. Younger kids respected him, and his friends envied him, every girl wanted him. He had this mysterious glow about him, not as loud as Kalle but just enough so that you knew when you saw him that you wouldn’t want to mess with him. He has blonde hair like my dad, but it has darker hues in it, like a reflection in a pond, like my mom. My mom always tells everyone about Makar, boasts about his football scholarships, and hockey trophies. How he always could outrun even the fastest kids, out jump, outplay and outlast everyone in his track team. He was a coach’s dream come true; built like a brick wall - the most muscular and strongest out of everyone he knew, he also took after my dad height wise and staggers in at 6”3. He has a pretty big ego and a smart mouth on him when he feels like it. Whenever Kalle makes fun of me he normally just laughs along not saying anything himself. But when he does, it normally cuts to the bone, unlike Kalle’s endless immature ridicules.
Both my parents have generally blonde hair. My dad’s is naturally bleach blonde, and my mom’s has darker areas, so every time she runs her fingers through it you see a thousand different shades of blonde. Both my brothers have had this trait embedded in their DNA, unlike myself. My dad is very muscular and strong, like Makar, but has Kalle’s lady-killer looks. My mom is about the most gorgeous woman on the planet. She was a perfect example of a Barbie doll, and that’s what she looked like. Very pretty face, a natural beauty, with long layered hair, and a thin frame holding her wide hips and big chest. She’s tall, about 5”9 and perfect height for my dad who towers in at 6”4.
Now, I stopped complaining years ago about how I look, but only recently when stopped growing and changing, I knew I was doomed. I’m about 5”4 and kind of squat. Ok, I’m not kind of squat; I’m pretty fat. I have cellulite marks imprinted on my thighs, arms and stomach, and I resemble a ball. Whenever I stand beside my dad, a foot of difference resides in us. Whenever we go out as a family, they always ask if I want to stay in the car and I usually do, so I don’t look like the family pet trailing after them. I don’t take after my parents at all when it comes to hair; my hair colour is a mousy, stringy, sick looking brown that fades in and out with shades of gray. I’m only 18 and I’m balding, my hair is actually thinning out more and more everyday I will be bald before the men in my family, mostly because my dad possesses a thick silky head of hair, and so does my mom. Sometimes I think I’m adopted, and I would consider that a reality if it wasn’t for the pregnant pictures of my mom and tapes of me being born at the hospital.
I mean it’s not my parent’s fault I turned out like this, the first two kids turned out well. But when I was born my parent’s friend’s just looked and said things like “Oh, well, she’s really not as cute as Kalle was,” and “Maybe she’ll loose some weight if you stop feeding her so much milk.” At school teachers would hand out papers to take home to the youngest and only of the family, and Kalle always got them because my teachers would not believe I was their sister. On parent teacher night my parents would never come in, because my marks were so low, and they knew what they were going to hear: Aryll needs to be put into a special education class. So finally they did that, and my life of hell got worse and worse each day. I was called a retard for the rest of elementary school.
I was teased every day; I was tormented, actually. Kids would make fun of my potato nose, my uneven and pothole-textured skin, my stringy hair, my fat, round body, and my short stubby legs. In gym class I was obviously the last to be picked, the first to get out, and the only one to be laughed at when we were running the track.
I remember one time in grade 6 at the mandatory track and field days, I would cry and cry and pretend I was sick and my parents never let me stay home. They didn’t know what it was like; they were the popular kids always. I always went though, beaten, driven to school with Kalle who was participating in track and field day too; grade 7’s and 8’s could be excused if their marks were high. And Kalle’s were, he just loved going. We got to the school and he bounced out of the car and slapped his friends a hi-five and ran excitedly to the washroom to change into his track clothes. Meanwhile my parents had to literally pull me out of the car and walk me up to the desk to register I was there.
Like I said, my parents didn’t mean to be lackluster with me, I just didn’t make things easy for them. On Halloween in grade 9, two kids that were in Makar’s grade egged my house, and wrote “Home of the Beast” on our garage door with spray paint. Well that night my parents had a talk with Makar and the next day at school two boys had black eyes and one had his arm in a sling. Needless to say other people didn’t screw around with my family anymore, just me.
Makar didn’t really stick up for me a lot, only once or twice when my parents were around, like on orientation day, where the grade 11’s put on a play and perform to welcome the new grade 9’s to the high school. I was Ishmael from Moby Dick, and at intermission I was talking with my teacher when two guys came up to me and said I certainly was male, and how I’d be better off to play Moby Dick, the big fat whale. Makar must have noticed it, or my parents said something because he came right up to them and said that if they ever talked to me like that again, he’d kick their ass so hard his foot would come out their ‘other end’ like a kidney stone. I was pretty pleased and stuck my tongue out at them but Makar just told me to quit it, and walked off.
So I bet now you believe me, that I’m a loser, and the biggest nerd in my school. Or maybe you’re thinking that I was adopted after all, and that there was no way those people are related to me. But, alas, they are my real family and I am doomed to be with them forever, and make them embarrassed to be around me. Anyway, that brings us up to present time, at home.
I’m on the couch, (surprise) Eating, (surprise, again) and trying to grab the remote control with my foot off the coffee table when Kalle clomped in.
“What the hell are you doing? Get your skanky feet off the table! That’s so gross, just get up and get the remote with your hands you fat blob.” He gave me a disgusted look, which turned into a trademark smirk as he scooped up the remote effortlessly off the table and sat on it, right in front of me.
“Um hello?” I tried my best imitation of his girlfriend, Sarah, and her ditzy voice.
“What?” He never looked up from channel surfing, still sitting on the table.
“You’re stupid self is in the way of my TV watching.” I said.
“So get off your ass and move, blob.” He laughed at his nickname for me, Blob.
“NO!” I sat there in spite for another 5 minutes and when I realized he was only going to stay there as long as I was still there I gave an exaggerated sigh and rolled onto my stomach, so it was easier to get on my knees and off the couch. I was right, as soon as I got off Kalle let a gush of air out his lungs like he’d been holding his breath the whole time. I rolled my eyes and started to trudge up the stairs.
“Aryll?” My mom cried, she loved to call me when I was half way up the stairs. “Aryll will you come down here and make dinner and set the table please? Your father will be home any minute and I forgot all about dinner, and I have an appointment at the country club…” She rambled on, stepping out from the kitchen, while fastening an earring and kicking off her slippers at the same time.
“We do not live in the 50’s mom,” I rolled my eyes, “dad can make his own dinner.”
“Young Lady! We do not roll our eyes in this house!” She put her delicate hands on her hips in an authoritative manner.
“Yeah, we roll our feet to the treadmill. Maybe you should try it sometime, blob!” Kalle laughed hysterically from the TV room. Mom just shot him a glance and he stopped on sight.
“Aryll, please.” She looked at me displeasingly as I let out an annoyed groan and threw my hands up in the air, almost loosing my balance, I glanced around but no one noticed.
“Watch out, its King Kong!” Kalle appeared at the bottom of the stairs mocking me by throwing up his hands in the air and pretending they were claws. “GRrrrr! Roaaaarrr!” He stomped around slowly at the bottom, then looked at me and started kicking the ground like a bull ready to charge.
“No Kalle! Don’t!” I screamed as he charged up the stairs after me knocking me down so hard I fell the three steps and landed on my back on the tile. He just laughed like a hyena and made growling noises while shutting his bedroom door.
“Uhhh…” I moaned, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, my legs twitching like I was having a seizure.
“ARYLL! Get up and go make dinner! Don’t be such a lazy girl! Honestly!” My mom stood over me “tsk-ing” as I got up and headed to the kitchen.
After my dad got home around 7:30pm, Makar got home, and he brought his girlfriend over too. Great. Kalle’s Girlfriend is one thing but Makar’s is a whole other. While Sarah is a huge ditz, Makar’s girlfriend, Dana, is a bit of a health nut. She goes to the gym everyday, she runs with Makar on weekends, and they went rock climbing last year, and she’s totally into healthy food. Protein shakes, and low carb diet bars and no Trans fats… It’s exhausting listening to her talk about that. And now I have to listen to her gripe to me about my diet and about how I shouldn’t eat potato chips or red meat. Figures; I made Sloppy Joe’s for dinner. I heard her make a disgusted sound as she noticed what was on the pan. Makar just laughed and teased her a little, to which she said something shrill and I heard him apologize. I laughed a little to myself and buried my face in the pillow while watching Much Music.
“God I hate Christina Aguilera!” I found myself sputtering out, when one of her raunchy videos started playing on the countdown. Its not that I hated her, it’s that I hated her body, and her face and her attitude. They were all so perfect. Tight little body, pretty face, and killer attitude, she knew how to control a crowd I bet. I glanced down at my own body, which was pretty much all rolls from me lounging on the couch. I poked at them, tried to stretch my stomach so they went away. But they didn’t, they were still there, so I tried flexing, it hurt too much so I stopped. I looked up at the TV; a new video came on, a rap one. Scantily clad women shaking their ass at the camera appeared instantly, and the men groped them and watched them like they were pieces of meat. They all had nice bodies though, tight thighs, round butts, and flat tummies.
“Hey loser, what ARE you watching? Hoping to be called up by Jay-Z for the next video he’s doing?” Makar was standing in the doorway eating a Sloppy Joe over a plate, and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand; it still managed to look cute. Dana joined him at the door nibbling on a piece of celery and a glass of her own mixed protein shake, judging the TV then looking over at me, then Makar. She said something and he laughed and they left the doorway. ‘Good’ I thought. I hate them all. I noticed I was being pretty disgruntled about this music video thing so I turned it to a different channel.
“I weighed 480lbs!” An audience gasps. “But I lost all the fat with Richard Simmons’ new training program, ‘Dance the Fat Away!’ and look at me now!” Audience claps and cheers.
“The African lion is slowly becoming hunted to extinction, a full grown male African Lion can weigh up to almost 600lbs!”
“Oh, Archie!” Audience laughs. “This ‘Meatball’ is your new son in law! But don’t worry, he doesn’t think your that fat!”
“Mmmm, Harvey’s new Angus steak burger is more delicious then ever! With seasoned steak, and mouthwatering peppers, onions, tomato, lettuce, and our secret spicy ranch sauce—“
The TV goes off. Sickening. All that’s on TV is Food and weight. I’m depressed now, and I really want to rip open my dad’s chunky monkey ice cream that he hid in the freezer more then anything. I know it’s there, I saw him hide it. I open the freezer and search around for the Ben and Jerry’s container, its underneath some bread and leftover lasagna we had a few nights ago. I close the door, grab a spoon and start digging in the ice cream. It’s been in there forever so it has all this protective ice on it and its rock hard. I glance around for help, all I saw was a huge wooden spoon sitting in the cupboard so I grabbed it and started flicking the ice out of the ice cream while shoveling great spoonfuls into my mouth. As I was stuffing my face my Dad appeared behind me and was just staring at me, with a look of absolute disgust on his face.
“Maybe you should slow down, maybe get a smaller spoon…or a bowl.” My dad walked over to me and snatched the ice cream with one hand and grabbed my spoon with the other.
“Go upstairs. And don’t come back down until you learn to control yourself.” He threw the spoon into the sink so hard it skidded up the other side and cracked down on the floor, splitting it into 4 pieces. Mortified, I waited until I heard his door slam shut and I ran as best I could up the stairs and into my own room. I was so indulged in my chocolate ice cream, I never noticed I had a chocolate ring around my mouth, like a fat baby would have after eating.
“Why am I such a complete disgrace!” I shouted as I fell onto my bed and cried hot tears until I fell asleep while the springs in my mattress squeaked with pain.
“Shh! Don’t be so loud!”
“Oh you’re gonna get it now,”
“Oh shut up, she’ll hear us.”
I awoke to voices in my room. Excited voices, high pitch voices all aglow with each other. I raised my head just an inch so I could hear better.
“Oh now you did it!” Someone squealed. I froze in place. I raised my head up a little more so it was now fully above the pillow and slowly turned my head towards my desk, where the voices were coming from. Someone was in my room, I saw a leg and I screamed. I scurried to the head of my bed away from the people sitting on my desk, and I gathered up the covered around me and I screamed and screamed and screamed, to scared to run. The people who were sitting on my desk sat there calmly, one of them was standing up putting her finger to her lips trying to silence me while reaching out with her free hand spread out like she was trying to flag down a car. Some of the people were laughing at her, the others looked worried that my head might implode from screaming so much.
“It’s ok Lexus.” A tall man in a suit said, as he stood up from the desk. No one is home. He walked up to the woman trying to silence me and put his arm around her.
“No one can hear her scream…” A skinny guy wearing a hooded full zip sweater, jeans and sneakers was now standing over me, grinning evilly. He burst into laughter when he saw my eyes widen and tears leaking all over my face. “Just kiddin’, puddin’.” He winked at me and stepped back with the man in the suit and the woman.
“Yo, maybe we should tell her who we are? Probably kinda freaky deaky? Seeing a couple of ugly mugs like us in her room when she wakes up.” The guy smiled at me and put his hands into the pocket of his leather jacket after he popped the collar of it up, James Dean style. A smaller fellow with big glasses and a lab coat came up to the James Dean lookalike and rested his hand on the guy’s shoulder.
“Parker, I do believe that the only ugly mug in here is you.” He started laughing a high pitched, nasally laugh and that got the guy wearing the sweater laughing again. James Dean just scowled at the nerdy guy, pushing the nerds arm off his shoulder in one swift motion.
“Whatever.” He said as he sat back down on the desk, fixing his collar, and putting his hands in his pockets once again.
“Oh Jesus,” the woman said disgustingly, as she left the man in the suit and walked up to my bed and sat down. I was terrified beyond reason. Five weird people are in my room laughing and acting like they didn’t do anything wrong. Tears started forming again in my eyes. “No, no honey, no more crying.” The beautiful lady said sweetly as she dabbed my eyes with a tissue. And glared at the men who were goofing around with some plastic swords I had in my room. The lady, Lexus, was absolutely jaw dropping. A perfect runway model. About the same height as my mom, 5”10, long flowing blonde hair with perfect little streaks of difference shades of blonde, like my mother. It was silky and perfectly layered to about the middle of her back, with little pieces falling in her eyes. Her eyes. Identical to my fathers, a brilliant green with just a touch of yellow around the corneas. Her eyes were huge, long, soft lashes filed around her eyelids, and her even, glowing skin was just the perfect shade of creamy beige. Her hair fell in soft waves, framing her face, and her long arms extended to me while her soft hands with beautiful long fingernails held my face so gently. She was wearing a sundress, not tight but not baggy, and the lace by her chest showed off a curvy and svelte figure that I have never seen before, even on Much Music. Her legs were shown off by the dress’ cut, and they were toned and had perfect feet at the end of them, having beautifully painted toenails. It was clear that this woman, whoever she was, possessed the most sought after genes in the world, and it seemed my family got them all from her. She was like a collaborative pot of all my family members, and everything I always wanted to have, and she was sitting on my bed holding my disproportional and ugly face in her lovely hands.
“Just tell her, Lexus, she’s been through enough already, as we all know.” The man in the suit stepped up and the rest of them followed so they were standing by my bed in a sort of line.
“Ok honey, this isn’t going to be easy for you to hear,” Lexus started,
“Especially now that you’ve met Parker,” The guy in the sweater laughed again.
“You just may be wondering who we are, what we are doing in your room, how we got in, and what we want.” The nerdy guy said, obviously.
“Uh… Yeah-” I managed to spit out.
“We were sent by the Kahuna. The big man, the main cheese. He sent us here, because there seemed to be a little… well, accident when you were born, Aryll.” Sweater guy said.
“Yo, just let her finish,” James Dean said, they called him, Parker.
“Sent by God? Are you crazy? You’re all dead? I’m dead? You’ve come to collect me? I haven’t died yet! I just turned 18! This cant be happening to me!” I bolted from my bed, causing the adults to turn and look at me backing into a corner of my room. The guy in the sweater laughed again, while Parker just smiled and shook his head. Lexus walked across the room to me and held my hand. She looked at me and smiled.
“You’re not dead sweetie pie.”
“Um, actually Aryll, we’re not dead either. Technically.” The nerd said, glancing nervously to the man in the suit.
“Aryll,” he started,
“Wait, how did you know my name?” I blurt out, still holding Lexus’ hand. He laughed along with the sweater guy and Parker.
“Artie told you, We were sent from the big man.” The man in the suit explained.
“Ha ha, no! God, psh, you think we’re just a couple of dead guys?” They all started laughing until Lexus cleared her throat. “Oh sorry, a couple of dead people.” He grinned at her. “We were sent by Orion.” He smiled broadly at me, expecting me to know who that was. When he realized I didn’t know, he looked around and started again. “Orion is the guy that runs the storks.” Again, big smile. Again, have no idea what the hell he’s talking about. “The storks… the guys that deliver babies? Oh common Aryll, you’ve heard of the stork story.” He frowned at me until I nodded then he smiled again. “Good!”
“I thought the storks were a wives tale to tell young children when they asked where babies come from.” I raised my eyebrow.
“Actually, Lyle is only half right,” The guy in the sweater said. “The storks retired about 1.3 million years ago after they figured a lot of people were wanting babies.” He winked again. “Lazy things, so they just used them ask spy devices to figure out who was having a baby, so that Orion had time to figure out their DNA before they were born.” He finished.
“Wait, I don’t get it, figure out their DNA? Isn’t that determined from their parents?” I questioned, not believing these people were for real. The guy in the sweater opened his mouth to answer but Artie, the nerd, spoke up.
“You better let me handle that one, Rob. Ok so DNA is taken from the parents, that’s how your looks and physical attributes are determined, you’re right. DNA isn’t always about looks though, it’s about personality as well. Sometimes in the rush of babies being born it’s hard to keep track of the different personalities you gave to what baby. And in this case when you were born it seemed to be you were completely missed by Orion storks.” Artie said,
“That’s why you feel you are struggling in every department. Because you are, you have no unique personality, you’re the default. The baby that was born with the standard options, only you never got upgraded.” Parker stepped in. “It’s Orion’s job to match up the DNA and personalities of the parents who bore the baby, only he just plain missed you by accident, so you have nothing of an uniqueness at all.”
“You’re the vanilla ice cream, baby. The plain Jane, the Mediocre Margaret, Bland Betty…” Rob was interrupted by Lexus.
“Honey, Orion just now realized his mistake and sent us packing right over here.” She smiled widely. Parker stepped up again,
“We’re your personalities!” he opened his arms invitingly. I fainted.
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