“U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi…”

I looked at her face, making sure she heard me, and I slowly, making sure it was clear, finished the childhood tune, “…you’re uuuuugggghhhhly.”  The tears fell again.  The tears clouded her vision, so I had to scream for her to hear, “you’re uuuuuuuugggghhhhly!”

“Julie!?” my mom inquired from the other room.  I said nothing.  Mom looked tired as she walked into my haven.  Mom was trying so hard since I got back from the hospital to make things O.K.  Things would never be the same.  The burns I received on my face were healing, but the process was leaving scars.  I saw her sit on the foot of my bed through the reflection in the mirror, but I could not leave my face to look at her directly.

“Let’s go, your friends are waiting.”  Mom said.  “And Bill called.  Call him back later.”  The tears fell again.

Bill visited while I was in the hospital.  He said the I love yous and the I miss yous to the bandages on my face.  We had been dating for two years, but he was a fool.  He wouldn’t be able to love me like this, he would only convince himself he should.  In the hospital I said little to him and savored his touches, preparing for post-hospital era when I would not see him, but I could close my eyes and pretend he was still here.

I left the girl in the mirror and went to my mom who held me.  I needed to get out of this hell I was creating for myself, but I kept going back to the ugly girl in the mirror. The scars became more distorted when I left my solitary haven.

I wore my cutest dress that day and my hair on my face as much as possible, still everyone was disgusted by what they saw as I walked toward Dori’s apartment a few blocks away.  My face was twice the size of my twig body.

The sun was out.  I was struck by how beautiful it made the outside world, and wondered if it was going to make my scar worse.  Should I have brought a hat to protect my face from the sun?  I slowly opened the entrance door to Dori’s apartment.  The entrance door was heavier than I remembered, and as the door opened, I heard Jenny’s contagious laughter.  The tears started again, I started trembling, and stood at the doorway listening to my friends.  They were so young, so happy, so energetic.  I wanted to go home to my haven, my face, to my scarred reality.

Jenny’s laughter teased again, and footsteps were moving toward the door.  I was frozen with fear.  Then there he was staring at my face, surprised to see me frozen there.

“Happy birthday, love.”  He leaned over to gently kiss the grotesque creature, and I moved gently back to save him the torture.  His beautiful green eyes searched for my gaze, and I turned toward the noises to avoid the trap.

“Hi,” I whispered, but it was too late.  The “core score crazies” had heard me and came running out with their infectious squeals and laughter.  The tears came again, I painfully smiled; my reflection was the same.

“Cute dress!” shouted Susan.

“Nice to see you away from the hospital…too bad you had to leave those cute doctors behind,” smirked Erica.

“Who’s behind were you looking at?” chimed Melissa.

I smiled.

My face followed me into the dining room followed by a pack of the most lovable girls/women one could find.  The decorations were nice, balloons floating high in the air, and a sign:

“Happy Birthday to our beautiful Julie, the Craziest of them all.”

It rang in my head, “beautiful Julie.”

The tears fell again.  I smiled.

They moved quickly, out came the cake, candles burning…”Happy birthday to you.” sang the untrained chorus.  I smiled.  They were bad singers.  Highlights of karaoke at the Korean bar came back to me, and I smiled again.

“O.K., close your eyes and make a wish…”


Dina Dhadaboy, Class of 2000