The Girl Next Door
by Tessy Fuller
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I’m not sure when it usually happens in the life of others, but for me it started when I was quite young, the allurement of being anyone other then who I was. The traps lay waiting, carefully concealed by tainted truths. How easy a prey is a young heart and an unsure mind.
I still remember the first time I saw her. I was lying on my bed with my nose in a book as usual. I glanced up when I heard the bang of a closing door. There she was, the girl next door. Her perfectly straight chestnut hair glinted in the sun. She reached down to pick up something she had dropped and when returning upright flipped her hair over her shoulder revealing a slender heart shaped face. I quickly judged that she must be several years older then I was which is why I had never seen her at school. My book all but forgotten I watched her drive off with her mom. At that moment I did not feel the pain, but the steel jaws had been triggered.
I sauntered over to my vanity mirror. I woefully took in my tangle of blonde curls that took forever and a day to comb out in the morning. I encircled a ringlet between my thumb and pointer finger and pushed downward until not a trace of curl could be seen. My eyes then traveled to my cheeks. Taking in the chubbiness of them I exaggerated their fatness by filling them with puffs of air until I resembled a chipmunk. Being very unhappy with the results I followed with a series of attempts to reconstruct my bone structure by sucking in my cheeks as far as they would go. I wistfully glanced back to the now empty porch and not once realized the Pandora box I had opened.
My infatuation grew as the weeks went by. I would see her off and on playing in her back yard or going to and from school. She was always dressed in trendy clothes and in my mind was always happy and smiling. I daydreamed of what it would be like to be the girl next door.
After a few months had passed I finally gained up enough courage to attempt a plan to talk to her. One afternoon I saw her playing in her backyard. I grabbed a ball out of my toy box and headed outside. After bouncing it around for a while I started tossing it high into the air. In fact one time I tossed it so high it went over the fence that divided her yard from mine. You can imagine my sheer delight when she engaged me in conversation asking my name as she returned my ball. My plan had worked.
Over the days that followed we had many more through the fence conversations. There was an occasional time or two when she wasn’t doing all the things that perfect girls like her do and she invited me over to play. I think she enjoyed all the attention I gave her, and I couldn’t believe that a girl like her would ever want to be friends with someone like me.
Then one day I met her at the fence, my heart was completely crushed. I chocked back tears as I told her we were moving. We talked for a while and she reassured me we would always be friends. Suddenly her eyes lit up and she had me lean close to the fence to whisper something in my ear. My chubby cheeks embraced a smile as big as Texas because she told me that we were going to become “blood” sisters. I had heard friends at school talk about this and I knew my mom thought it was a stupid, dangerous thing to do. I did not care what my mom said, I just knew this would make us sisters. A secret ceremony followed. “Ow!” I exclaimed as she pricked my finger. I noticed she barely flinched when she pricked hers. Then we each squeezed until a droplet of blood appeared. Through the chain link fence we pressed our fingers together uniting us in sisterhood.
I think I may have seen her a few times after that before we moved. Today I could not even tell you her name, but I can tell you she is my “blood sister”. Reflecting back she is also the first memory I have of being unhappy with who I was. I could not escape once I was caught and it was only the first “Ow!” of many more to come.
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