The Duff

A young girl who just wanted to be beautiful... It was Monday morning which meant another miserable day to laugh at ridiculous taunts made at her, said to be harmless, though they piled heaps of damage on her.

Adenike had cried herself to sleep last night after sitting in front of the mirror, praying in tears to God that she woke up with a new prettier face, maybe with smaller eyes that tilted like almonds or a less flat nose or even plump lips. Just something different. She walked to the mirror with her eyes closed, really hoping that when she opened them, she oozed beauty. Opening them, she saw the same face she hated, exactly the way they’ve always been. She felt her heart breaking. Clutching them, she started to sob. ‘Didn’t God answer prayers?’ she mused.

Wiping her tears, she wore her uniform. She turned back to the mirror. She was still chubby but not in the attractive way that boys loved. She was taller than most boys her age, and her breasts were so big for her age. She looked way older than her age. Some jokingly called her grandma. Of course, she just smiled it off. They said she looked older than her age, like a mother of three. She was only fourteen. That thought almost made her cry. Her shoulders and back were almost deformed as she bent her back always as if it would hide the fact that she had huge breasts. The sexual comments from older perverted men certainly didn’t help.

Adenike got to school quite early. A few of her mates were already around. ‘Grandma!’ some of them greeted. At this point, she didn’t even care anymore. It seemed like that ugly nickname she earned trumped the name her parents christened her. She should have been used to it by now, but it still stung every time she was called that. No one even thought her beautiful. It did not help matters that she had a group of friends though she never felt she belonged as more than a glue holding them down and trying to please them all. She did not mind, though, if that meant they kept her around and loved her.

They were six in number, all beautiful in different breathtaking ways. Dark like shining cocoa, brown like caramel, light and spotless. Then talk about the body figure: tall and leggy, curvaceous, average height and fit, super tiny waist. She, on the other hand, was just too tall and fat. She looked huge, like a giant. Once they had all taken a picture, her rude mates, with no sense of boundaries, took a photograph and started to grade them openly. For her, they had reserved the last position. One had politely said, ‘Adenike is looking okay too.’ I sighed in exasperation.

It was just suffocating. She could not look into the mirror. Someone once told her, ‘Don’t worry. You’ll find the one who would love you for you. Some guys like busty women.’ As if that was an assurance. Another had said at least whoever fell in love with her would fall in love with her personality and not her looks. She walked to a more private place. Making sure it was not dirty, she sat on a chair, staring into empty space. Why couldn’t she just love herself? Why couldn’t she tell them to shut the hell up whenever they started taunting her? They called them jokes, but they chipped away at her person. The one thing she had complained, they had called her too sensitive, so she smiled and accepted the insult gracefully the next time. She just wanted it all to end.

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