18 is the age of beauty. My birthday, April 8, is the day I’ve been waiting for my whole life. On that very day and beyond, I get to become pretty. I get to wear makeup, pretty dresses, elegant shoes, all the things the pretty girls do. My whole life I’ve been called ugly. Of course, I take no offence to it. Everyone is called ugly until 18.
Today we are going to The Place. The Place is where it all happens, where introduction to a gorgeous life happens. We walk in; everywhere there are beautiful people, girls my age coming out of their surgery room carrying a mirror and admiring their beautiful faces. Soon I will be like them. A pretty lady approached my mother and I, smiling widely with pearly white teeth. But when she looked at me, she smiled sympathetically.
“Right this way then,” she said softly, giving me a small piece of paper with nothing but a number. “Continue walking down the hall. You’ll find the room number. Enter it,” she instructed. I looked at the paper. Room 57.
My mother and I walked down the hall silently. She didn't say anything to me. She didn't even look at me. She held my hand tightly and the eerie sound of her red high heels clicking against the ground began to haunt me. Suddenly, I heard crying. My mother and I stopped walking and stared at the door the crying was coming from. Room 32. Then, there was a long, painful scream that left my ears ringing. And then there was silence.
I looked at my mother, but she didn't make eye contact with me. Her eyes looked strangely glossy as she stared at the room. Seconds later, the door to room 32 was unlocked and out walked a nurse with ruby red lips and a woman crying silently as the nurse held her in a hug sympathetically. The nurse glanced at me and sent me a sad look.
I pulled my mother along, faster now, eager to be beautiful. Half of me wondered why that woman was crying and where her daughter was, but my mind was overcome with the thought that very soon I would be pretty.
We reached the door. Room 57. I opened the door, my mother let go of my hand. We walked in. Inside was a nurse who looked very similar to the other nurse, ruby lips and bright blue eyes, she was very pretty. She smiled largely at us, almost as if she were being forced to. But when she looked at me, her smile faltered like the other nurses had.
“Oh, dear,” she said, seeming to try her best to smile. Her voice sounded high in the small room.
I furrowed my brows. “What?” I asked.
“Oh, dear,” she repeated, smiling painfully.
“What? What is it?” I asked, glancing at the nurse and then to my mother who still refused to make eye contact with me.
The nurse handed me a handheld mirror. I stared at my own reflection, worry starting to arise in my mind. My chestnut hair was curled loosely, my green eyes looked glassy, I didn't look happy, I wasn't smiling. I was ugly.
“Oh, dear,” the pretty nurse repeated for the third time. “We can't fix you.” My heart sank.
“W-what?” I muttered.
The nurse studied my face, now frowning, not trying to conceal anything with her fake smile. I looked at my mother who was staring at the floor, tears silently dripping from her eyes.
“We simply cannot fix you. You're far beyond repair. I'm so sorry.”