A BOX FULL OF COOKIES
A Oneshot by A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
April has begun and I still haven't made any friends.
My mother promised me that finding friends in high school would be much easier that it has been for me previously. I think I'm doing something wrong, taking a faulty approach to the problem. Or maybe it's something I inherently contain. I don't really understand why people hate me, but surely I offended them in some way or other. My classmates seem to be fun-loving, talented and kind people, and one day I would love to be a part of their world.
I was going to try something different today.
I baked chocolate chip cookies yesterday, with minimal help from my mother. My plan was to distribute them to the people in my class, and then we'd have something to bond over. Everyone loves cookies don't they? I even used a special non-dairy chocolate for one of my lactose-intolerant soon-to-be-friends. I was sure she would appreciate that.
Getting ready for school this morning would be a little different than usual, and I looked forward to the change. I would be placing a box of cookies in my bag! The rest of the routine would be the same as usual however; brushing teeth, shower, packing lunch…and staring into the mirror.
The time of morning I dreaded the most. Mirror Time.
That sadistic piece of glass finds it fun to gloat and mock me every morning. It constantly reminds me of the reason I'm hated by the world.
I'm as ugly as a curse.
On the days I force myself to look I see curly unkempt red hair that could be replaced by carrots. My freckles are indistinguishable from my pimples. My nose takes up all my face's space, leaving hardly any room for my poor eyes that are disgustingly clear and small. My ears stick out like Dumbo's. Don't even get me started on my braces and glasses.
My mother always tells me that I'm the best thing that ever happened to her, but she is only being polite. I haven't done a single thing to make my beloved parent proud. And to top off my general uselessness I'm hideous. What mother would be proud?
I took my seat in the classroom and greeted everyone around me brightly. They didn't seem to spot me though, because if they had, they would have smiled back. They are mostly good-mannered people. Except for this one boy, the school's reputed prankster. They call him Trev the Trickster, and he happens to be in my class. He is always extremely funny and exciting to watch, especially when teachers are around. People place bets on when he will be sent to detention. I'd like to get in on the action sometime.
I carefully positioned the homemade cookies box on my desk, wondering if anyone would notice and wander by. There were still twenty minutes to the next class. The students were chatting among themselves and laughing raucously. I wondered if they knew that I could laugh like that too? A small part of me wondered if they thought of me at all…
I decided to open the lid. Perhaps the wafting smell of freshly baked goods would entice my future friends.
The guy who was sitting next to me got up and walked towards my desk. My heart beat as I anticipated my first visitor. How would I offer them to Sean? Should I show him the box, or place the cookie in his mouth, or what?!
"You're the perfect target!" Sean said gleefully.
I felt honoured at being praised. I didn't even care that there was no reason.
" PINCH, PUNCH, FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH! No returns…" he took my arm and used it as a punching bag. It was great that he was so lively in the mornings. I laughed politely.
"Would you like a cookie in return instead?" I asked, giving a wide smile.
He recoiled. Perhaps my braces scared him a little. He would not be the first person. Still, one would have thought that with all those piercings and tattoos he would be less fazed by braces.
"Urgh, no way…you can't fool me" he mumbled. He most likely didn't have a sweet tooth, which was understandable.
I needed to be a little more aggressive in my approach. The best thing to do was to go up to the group of girls chatting and offer them my delicious home-made products.
When I reached their domain I hesitantly broke their conversation.
"G-good morning girls!"
They stared at me silently. But in what was obviously a friendly stare. Still, there seemed to be no smiles for me. They looked much prettier when they laughed, I decided. Sour expressions did not suit them at all.
"I baked some cookies for all my friends," I clarified.
"Oh? Where are they?" asked one of the girls, Liza, rather genuinely. The others stifled giggles. They should just laugh out loud. LOL. I felt like telling them that hiding their emotions would do no good to anyone.
"These ones are especially for you, Liza. The chocolate is made from Soy milk," I persisted, although my voice was getting weaker. It was April already and I was determined to make at least one friend. If not an acquaintance at least.
"Aw, that's sweet carrot-top! Unfortunately it's still morning and I don't feel like cookies just yet," Liza explained.
"No problem! They'll be on my desk, drop by anytime!" I added quickly and hopefully.
"…Have you tried wearing make-up? We all do it," she continued, changing the topic rather abruptly.
"Yes," I replied hesitantly, "It doesn't change much for me though," I said plaintively, and gave a little wan smile.
"Believe, any make-up would be an improvement on the current face!" she snorted out, and the other girls followed suit.
Well, they were only telling the truth. I'm as ugly as hell itself. The Ugly Duckling would feel embarrassed next to me. That's what I admire in those girls. They tell it like it is. They're truth tellers. And they are much more pleasant-looking than disgusting old carrot-top me.
So it was back to my desk with my full cookie box. I started eating one myself, but stopped half-way through. They didn't have enough sugar, or chocolate. They weren't even the right texture. No wonder nobody was accepting them. But I knew one thing for sure: These would have tasted a lot better with friends sharing them over funny stories.
A few more guys punched me hard claiming it was the first day of the month. None of them wanted my cookies either.
"Hey, why are you looking so depressed?"
I sat up straight. It was Trev the Trickster.
"Trev!" I said happily. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this boy. There is always non-stop excitement around him as he swindles and tricks everyone around him. I remember once he played the classic trick of placing tacks on the teacher's chair, and everyone anticipated her reaction. Except, I think he got confused between her chair and mine, so I ended up at the brunt of the prank. Trev is so adorable. He has everything I want and need. I wish I could just siphon off his looks and pass them to me. Or his gregariousness. Or his brains. Pity he hardly knew who I was.
"Would you like a cookie?" I tried one last time.
"Would I ever! And if you made them they are bound to be good," he winked. That positive reaction made me want to hide and open myself at the same time. He took one and started eating, nodding all the while. I couldn't help my brace-filled smile.
"Can I have more?" I merely nodded.
"Have them all!" I added joyously. I couldn't believe that Trev was talking to me, let alone eating my food. If I could befriend him, the rest of the class would follow easily.
"Your cooking is truly special, carrot-top…no…Garnet. Just like you, actually," Trev lowered his voice.
Haha. He was definitely pulling my leg. Trev is the school renowned prankster after all. He's essentially a good chap, but sometimes takes his jokes a little too far. I said I didn't believe him.
"Garnet, that really hurt. You honestly think I would joke about something this serious? I thought you of all people would know me best. Oh yes, I've seen you looking at me – no, don't blush – but you haven't noticed that I too have been looking your way," he said to me in a perfectly even and serious tone.
My heart beat faster than a kid reciting the alphabet (whatever that means).
"But, but, but, there's no way! I'm so ugly…and you're, you're - "
"You are not ugly. You lack what most girls lack – self-esteem. I think you're very sweet, bringing in cookies like this. You're always thinking about people who don't deserve your second thoughts," he continued.
How had he noticed all that…?
"When I catch myself staring at you, I always lose myself in your…braces…"
"Braces?" I asked
"I said eyes! How did you hear braces? See, I told you; You have no confidence in yourself."
This was the first time I have ever been so touched by a single person's words. If I had known his feelings before I would have talked to him much earlier! I need not have waited until April for this fated conversation. My mother had been right all along about making friends. And maybe there was the slight possibility that we could be something more…
"Do you…fancy me?" I queried shyly.
"Do I ever!" he said pursing his lips hard, which I thought was a strange gesture.
"Really?!" I asked, sitting at the edge of my seat. I had to make sure. This answer could change the course of my entire life. It would transform how I thought of myself and others, it would boost my confidence, and it would definitely make me friends without resorting to homemade cookies. It felt like my entire universe was balanced on the edge of a cliff.
"Really," he assured me. I could have kissed him.
"Tell me yourself!" I beamed. I wanted the whole world to hear what was happening. "Tell everyone!" I could feel myself going crazy from happiness.
"…Are you sure? This is normally something said private," he asked. I shook my head emphatically.
"Alright, here goes…" Trev inched closer to me as though to whisper something in my ear. My heart beat as I anticipated those fated words.
"APRIL FOOLS DAY, Loser!" Trev bellowed into my right ear.
"Don't tell me you actually believed all that crap! Dammit, you're the kind of girl I wouldn't look at twice! No self-respecting guy would. You are so gullible, stupid. That hoax goes at the top of my 'best pranks' list, no question. Thanks for the cookies!"
And just like that he made off with the entire boxful, leaving me to dust off the crumbs on my empty, lonely desk.
April the 1st eh? No wonder no-one ate my cookies…
Please let me know what you thought!