Brad was a hardcore teenager with great self confidence. In fact, it was so great it was almost overbearing. Brad wore tribal gages that enlarged his earlobes, and black hair covered up with an army hat. He was not afraid to wear clothes that didn't match. Brad's friends admired him for his crazy, spontaneous outlook on life, and his swagger shone like the sun, but there was just one thing he lacked.
It was a bright and balmy day at the park. Melinda, his homely girlfriend, had a problem with his eyebrows. She sat on the lawn staring at Brad idly.
"I packed just the perfect thing for our picnic date!"
Brad raised a fury brow. "It better not be that orange-fudgesicle-jasmine-perfume you spray." As his voice cracked, Melinda's eyes flitted awkwardly.
"No, I believe it's time for a makeover!" She pulled out eyebrow tweezers—but worst of all—these scary mechanical claws from the picnic basket. "Eyelash curlers," she explained.
After Brad refused, Melinda had no choice but to wrestle him to the ground. He wished he could escape and run more laps. This was becoming too suspicious. If he knew this was going to be where his life ends, or if he gets kidnapped or beaten up by his skinny girlfriend, Brad would not be able to show his face at school either way.
Melinda took out a flask from the picnic basket and forced the thrashing boy to drink something that tasted like lemonade.
"I thought you were my girlfriend!"
"I am. I still am waiting to give you that makeover."
"This is not funny!"
"Oh yes it is, and there's something you don't know about me."
"That you're not my girlfriend."
"I am our fairy godmother." Brad was astonished and didn't know what to believe of the Catholic schoolgirl.
If she was my fairy godmother, where has she been all my life?
Brad walked up to his friends at the Paw Park.
"Guys, have you seen my girlfriend?"
"Uh...no." Arik stared at Brad, distracted.
"What-what? Why are you looking at me?"
"So, how was your picnic date?"
"Date, what date? Now, tell me the truth, does my makeover look okay?"
He could tell his best friends were trying really hard not to laugh and that made him even sweatier than after he ran laps.
"Dude, that girl is weird."
"I know, but I love her mysterious smile when she looks at me from the pews of Holy Mother of Mary Church." There was a brief silence, and then his friends burst out in chorkles.
"I heard she was gonna be your cousin!" Arik shouted.
Once Brad got home, he let out a piercing, girly scream. He was right—he wouldn't be able to show his face at school.
"That little demon cast a spell on me! Aye."
It seemed the more he exercised the plumper he became, and the more he tried to fix his hair, the puffier it became. Soon his eyebrows became thick like the North American wooly worm. When girls passed it confuddled him to here them gasp. Brad's confidence meter sank. After he broke out in boils, he gave up. All his features, it seemed, were accentuated.
"Okay crazy lady, how do I break the spell?"
"Well," said Melinda, "It's not that simple; you haven't done what I asked you."
"If you really loved me, you would care how I looked. Second, don't be keeping any more secrets from me. Arik told me my uncle adopted you."
"I do not need relationship counseling, I need a home."
Even if Bradly stopped caring what people thought about him, it still didn't reverse the spell. He didn't think twice about his looks and the friends who were truly his friends were still with him.
Eventually, his nose grew long. Students would yell, "Pinocchio!"
"Be more original!" he snapped. Suddenly, he started wearing darker clothes. Then, things became serious. The boy started cutting his wrists either out of spite for his girlfriend or spite for himself. He didn't know whether to hate his girlfriend for making him hate himself or hate his classmates. That macabre night, Melinda snuck up to Brad's window sill. Like a nocturnal creature, Melinda's wings came out only at night when no one was in sight. Her jet black hair and translucent wings caught the moonlight.
Brad finally decided to talk to Melinda after the final straw. "We need to talk and before you say 'oh this can't be good', I can't believe you decided to change me! For every ounce of weird my friends owe to your name I never tried to change you! And spells are against your religion so stop pretending!"
I wanted to mold him into the perfect boyfriend, she thought. I made more of a mistake of myself.
"I'm truly sorry, Bradly. Before you break up with me, which I understand if you do, there is one more thing: I know what your friends were saying about me and it hurts." She started gasping for breath but it was too late--the tears drained from her grasp. "I admit: then it was either them or me but this is a new school, a new family, and so I wanted a new you." Melinda lifted her wand, which lifted the curtains but Brad did not feel a thing except the caress of wind.
Once he turned around looking toward the mirror, then he knew that finally, the spell was lifted.
Brad later thanked her, so instead of his pride shining for his girlfriend, it was his heart. It was true, he almost broke up with her since she was no longer the genie fit to impress but she was much more human than he expected and now sought deeper connections than from those of mere admirers. The wood at the park was quiet except for the sound of the creek. Inch by inch, Brad's nose shrunk. Inch by inch, his sleeves shrunk while the scars of the past faded. He no longer concealed his hair with an army hat, and his complexion cleared. When he ran the plumpness evaporated off his figure.
After that moment, they spent many happy memories together as adoptive cousins, or something more than that. Until, one day, it was strangely silent. His friends didn't speak at lunch. It was as if all the month's events drained the entire school. Then, Brad discovered the missing piece that everyone, but mostly him, lost.
"I just realized something," Brad wasn't afraid to stir up the silence. "My girlfriend was talking about going to another foster home. It may have seemed bumpy in our relationship, but I actually miss her. Never have I been so close to a girl."
A redneck friend looked up from the Nascar tournament on his Blackberry and replied, "I know man, she just up an' leaves like Mary Poppins."
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