U Is For Ugly

“Oh no!” I cried out. “What is it now?!” Claire’s demanded. “My zipper broke.” “Change your dress,” she placed a hand on her hip and rolled her eyes. “But it’s my last picture day,” my voice was a small squeak. “I wanted to wear this dress.” “Well, if you hurry up, I’ll wait while you fix it,” Claire plopped onto the window seat. I removed the dress and began quickly tacking the zipper tape to the folded opening. “It’s in back.” I took a locking stitch and sealed the first side. “My hair will cover most of it and I can do a better job later.” “What are you two doing here!” the man’s voice roared. He wore pajamas. His eyes were red. Claire and I exchanged Why isn’t he at work? glances. “I broke my zipper,” “I’m just waiting to walk out with her,” our voices jumbled together. “Get out of here!” The man grabbed the broom from the hall closet. Crack! He brought the handle down on Claire’s arm. “No! Daddy!” she jumped up and ran down the stairs. The front door slammed. “And you!” I raised an arm and turned away from him. The broom handle descended, Crack! Crack! “Get!” Crack! Out! Crack! Of! Crack! This! Crack! House! Crack! The man grabbed my arm and pushed me out the door. I pulled a coat from the downstairs closet and stumbled to school. “I hate him!” I told my Friend aloud. “I hate him!”

The face of the girl in the photograph was puffy. The eyes were swollen and red. Pain was etched in every furrow of her forehead; the mouth did not smile. It’s ugly! I mutely told my Friend. I hate it! I ripped it into tiny shreds. “What are you doing?!” the vice-principal demanded. “Give me that.” She held the tiny bits in the palm of her hand. “You were supposed to put each photo in the right file! I didn’t give you permission to destroy any of them!” shock filled her voice but her eyes narrowed. I knew she was planning my punishment. “What’s wrong?” Mr. E.’s voice asked quietly. “My “helper” destroyed one of the school photos!” the vice-principal held up her hand. “I’d never imagine you’d do such a thing,” Mr. E looked at me, his eyes wide. I dropped my head. “It’s of me,” tears smarted in my eyes. Please don’t let them fall, I begged my Friend. “It was ugly.” My voice became a tiny whisper, “I’d been crying.” Mr. E. placed one hand on my shoulder, “I think you can take the rest of the hour off. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

Tell me what you think. Thanks.

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