TOSOM: The Other Side of Me-Freshman

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Chapter 5: A Different View

“You just don’t get it,” Amarea said.

“It looks beautiful,” the sales woman said. Mrs. Dustin nodded in agreement.

“It’s not me,” Amarea replied, tossing the wig onto the counter. “Everyone knows I’m bald, so what’s the point?”

“I thought,” her mom began, “You might want to try something different, that’s all.”

“Whatever,” Amarea said, “It’s not like a wig will improve my looks any.”

“Not true,” the sales woman said, bringing out a shoulder length chestnut brown wig and placing it on Amarea. “Look, dear.”

Amarea turned and stared at the reflection in the mirror. She pushed her hair behind her ears, a reflex that felt normal, though she hadn’t been able to do that for several years.

“Beautiful,” the sales woman said

Tears glistened in her mother’s eyes, “Beautiful,” she whispered.

Amarea blushed, “Ok, I’ll try it.”

Monday, Amarea wondered if anyone would notice. Her mom took her to eat breakfast before school. When she arrived at school, Amarea was still blushing at the way the waiter flirted with her.

“Hello,” a senior said as she walked in the front door. He flashed a grin before walking out the door.

A group of sophomores stopped talking and stared at her as she walked by.

Joey had seen her walk in. She looked familiar, but he couldn’t figure out where he knew her from. He followed her down the hallway, through the alcove, and to the lockers. He stopped, dumbfounded, when the girl began opening Amarea’s locker.

Mar? Joey asked.

Huh? The girl turned towards Joey, grinning.

What? I mean, wow! You look different, Joey blurted out.

Different? Is that good or bad? She walked over and poked him playfully in his chest.

Yes, I mean no, Joey stammered.

Amarea laughed, Thanks Joseph.

The day flew by! Amarea was having one of the best days of her life, until she ran into Jimmy.

“Nice rug, freak,” he said. “How many rats did you have to kill to make that thing?”

By itself, it was a stupid comment. The laughs of those around her, however, were more than she could handle. She ran to her place of refuge.

She was crying, and Joey knew it. He took the hall pass and headed to the girl’s bathroom by the field.

Mar? Joey called out.

When she didn’t reply, Joey opened the door, “Anyone in here?” he called.

Go away, Amarea snapped.

Not today. What’s wrong? Joey asked.

Go away, Amarea sniffled.

No. Come out here, Joey commanded.

Amarea opened the stall door, her wig in her hands.

What’s wrong? Joey asked.

It itches, she lied.

“You’re crying because your wig itches?” Joey asked.

“Yes,” she replied, fresh tears falling.

“Let’s go swing,” Joey said. He took Amarea’s hand and led her out of the stall.

Was I that ugly before? Amarea asked as she sunk onto the floor.

You were never ugly, Mar, Joey said.

I had such a good day today, she began, people treated me differently; they were nice to me.

People are always nice to you, Joey said.

Not guys, not like that, Amarea said weakly.

Oh, Joey blushed.

It’s not me, Amarea said, turning the wig around in her hands.

It’s just like a hat, Joey said, but hairier.

Amarea laughed, Thanks for stating the obvious.

A wig doesn’t make you who you are, Joey said, you’re a great person, regardless of what’s on your head. Joey took her hand and led her out of the bathroom and to the swing set.

They sat on the swings for several minutes. “I’d better get back to class,” he said. “Are you going to be alright?”

“Yes,” she smiled, an idea forming, “I’ve got an appointment.”

When the final bell rang, Joey walked past the cafeteria. He stopped in to see what was causing such a stir.

“Leave me alone, freak!” someone said.

“Leave me alone, freak!” someone else replied.

“Get away from me!” someone yelled.

“Get away from me!” someone else yelled back.

Joey pushed past the crowd to see Jimmy being followed by what looked like his twin.

“Freak!” Jimmy yelled.

“Freak!” the person replied.

Joey gasped when he got close enough to realize the twin was Amarea. Her brown wig was cut exactly like Jimmy’s hair. She was wearing baggy jeans and a flannel shirt, just like Jimmy.

“Stop following me!” Jimmy yelled.

“Stop following me!” Amarea replied. The crowd was laughing hysterically.

Jimmy turned and pushed Amarea down. He ran out of the cafeteria. Amarea fell to the floor, laughing.

You ok? Joey asked.

“Great,” she said as Joey helped her up, “Never better.” She tossed her wig into the trash as she headed out of the cafeteria. Never better.

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