Read Beauty Online

Authors: Patria L. Dunn (Patria Dunn-Rowe)


BOOK: Beauty
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Copyright © 2012 Patria L. Dunn (Patria Dunn-Rowe)

All rights reserved


My life has been in a free fall ever since I can remem
ber. I was not that happy child
smiling for every picture taken,
that girl that blossomed from a scrawny gangl
y tween into a drop dead beauty.
was I
that college bound young woman with the hopes and dreams of the world strapped firmly on her shoulders. I was just me: Evelyn


On the outside, I always seemed happy. Why shouldn’t I be? That was the question my parents always asked when I complained. But I never complained anymore. I’d st
opped long before experiencing the evilness of high school, and even before the bullying that started in middle school.
At home, my mother’s constant nagging about my weight only made things ten times worse. When birthday and Christmas presents started turning into diet pills, weight loss books and work out videos, I knew t
hat they were embarrassed by me -embarrassed to be seen with me; p
robably even embarrassed that I was their daughter. By the time I graduated
high school
I was at the heaviest I’d ever been.

Six feet under kind of screams is
what college introduced me to.

Those first
few months

t was then
that I laughe
d and I smiled and seldom cried. I
t was as if life had finally paid me a favor.
’d found who I was meant to be, or so I thought.
I was no longer friendless. My
spoke to me. They included me. T
hey didn’t comment on my weight
or what I ate. I was just Evelyn, th
e sweet, kind girl that lived on
floor six.
For once I began to let myself think that it was finally over.
But it never really goes away:
It was little things that brought it back at
first: whispers behind my back, b
eing good enough to be a study partner, but never good enou
gh to be invited to the latest party
… Their indiscretio
ns we
limitless when pooled with all the other
grievances I’ve suffered over my lifetime
. For them I continued to smile, continued to be the
I was forced to be
: sweet, kind Evelyn. But on the inside…

Perhaps I should just start from the beginning so you can really see what brought me to this p
oint: suicidal by default.

Chapter 1*

Those six feet under kind of screams I spoke of…
hey’re silent today. Well almost… Muffled is more like it considering the day I’
had alread
y. The last day of final exams
and I’d been awaken by i
ncessant banging on my door at 4
am. June, one of my other suite mates had pulled an all nighter, cramming for Economics without success. She needed me, and I needed sleep. I also had
last two exams today, but I never said that. I saw the way her red rimmed eyes slid over my rumpled plus sized night dress when I opened the door, a flicker of disgust i
n her features as her gaze moved
over my bulging rolls and up to my tired face.
She was still beautiful, and of course skinny.
I suddenly wanted to make
feel better about
appearance. Silly right?

No, not when her opinion as well as the
two other girls in our suite, mattered the most to me. Me ushering her into my bedroom at this insane hour was my way of asking for forgiveness for not being as rail thin or as pretty as she was. It didn’t matter that they’d skipped out on me last Friday night, going to a party while I stayed and watched a movie alone. I wasn’t invited. It also didn’t matter that they’d labeled all the sweets and junk food in the kitchen with post-its baring my name. None of that stuff was mine, but they couldn’t risk anyone else knowing that they binged almost daily, throwing up a whole stomach full every night before bed. I kept their secrets, and they…
use to tolerate me. Now
I was a door mat
, only called upon when
they needed something, like this morning. Bleary eyed, and desperate to hurry up and get back to bed, I typed up an answer key for June. It would be easy enough to email it to her phone. She’d get an A, and I would hopefully
get a few more hours of sleep
before I had to be across campus.

So that
was my morning. Two exams later
and I avoided going back to the dorm. Most of the students would be leaving tomorrow. Summer break had officially started, and I’d opted to stay on campus until fall semester. There was nothing back at home waiting for me. I could be depressed anywhere.

While most everyone else was getting ready for one of the many parties happening on campus that night, I was parking my car at the Sunnyview Residental Nursing Facility. I’d fulfilled all of my required volunteer hours months ago, but I kept coming back anyway. I would never admit it to anyone else, but it made me feel better seeing peo
ple who were worse off than I was
. At Sunnyview,
I was considered young and pretty. Pitiful that the old perverted geezers living here were the only ones checking out my ample body.
I came for the compliments.

“Evelyn…” Nurse Mars greeted me
with a wide smile
as I stepped into the foyer.

I gave
a half
hearted wave towards the reception desk before heading down the hall to the rec room.
She’d always been nice to me, but I wasn’t in the mood to chat it up today. The last thing I needed was someone else asking me for a favor.

My nose curled at the smell that seemed to be imbedded in the walls here. It was more than just the stench old age seemed to wrap around its victims. It was shit and piss and mushy food all combined into one
god awful smell
that gave the air a scent
you couldn’t forget
or get off of you for hours afterwards
. It made me feel good to pity someone else instead of myself. For a few hours I could relax here and f
orget about how pathetic
my life

George, the war veteran with no legs and only one arm saw me first, nodding his
head in my direction as I halted just inside the
rec room door. The warm afternoon
had brought more residents from their rooms than usual, most of the tables already occupied and covered with board games. But that wasn’t what caused my belly to flip flop on the inside, my palms suddenly sweaty as I threw a weak smile in George’s direction.

Beside George sat Brice, June’s
of exactly one week and four days. I knew he volunteered here, but he hadn’t been back since fulfilling his own required volunteer hours. I’d listened to her cry and moan over him for three full days before she’d gotten over it and met someone else. Brice and I had never really spoken. He was too hot to even be friends with a girl like me. When he came to our suite I either retreated to my bedroom, or left all together. The way he looked at me was unnerving…
ind of the way he was looking at me now.

“George… Brice…?” I murmured as I took the chair George pulled out, beside him and directly across from Brice.

“Evelyn…” Brice murmured, his brow rising in question as my eyes lowered to the monopoly board spread on the table.

“You look lovely today Ms. Evelyn,” George complimented me, his
features warming with a wide smile he directed at me and then at Brice.

God I suddenly felt horrendously fat.
Normally a comment like that from George would have made my week, but not with Brice sitting just inches away.
The ivory peasant skirt
I wore billowed around my waist like a circus tent, hiding none of the jiggle
in my belly
and thighs when I walked. I’d been too tired to work my way into a ‘skinny’ outfit this morning, and so I’
d paired it with
the first
tank top my hands landed on, going for comfort rather than style.

“I agree…” Brice nodded
, moving the tiny metal shoe on the board four more slots up before meeting my narrowed eyed stare.


flooded my cheeks as I caught the twinkle in George’s eyes, his hand smacking down on the board in excitement.

“See Evelyn…
t’s like I was telling you last time…”

“I know! George…” I snapped, interrupting him befor
e he could embarrass me further, the tone in my voice a warning that he should shut up now.

George was always trying to give me advice on love, except he didn’t know I’d never experienced being in love. He’d almost died in the Vietnam war, losing most of his limbs, only to come home and discover that his wife had cancer. She’d died a year after his return, and he’d been at Sunnyview ever since. “Live life to the fullest Evelyn; fall in love; meet someone…
ou’re beautiful,” is what he was always telling me. He usually made me feel good about myself,
but now, here in front of Brice,
I felt like a wart covered toad.

At least I’d thought to put on a little eye makeup this morning. Sunshades weren’t allowed in the classroom, and that was the only other option to cover the dark circles I’d woken up with after June’s 4 am visit.
It was
like I was interested in Brice; he was way out of my league. All guys were.

Awkward silence settled between the three of us, me watching them as they resumed their game of monopoly. George started muttering something about being in the trenches, and I blanch
ed cold when Brice snickered. George
did that sometimes,
wandered off in his mind.
wanted to laugh at someone, laugh at me! At least I was used
to it. I would have said as much had I been braver, skinnier, prettier…

“So what are you kids doing at a place like this on a Friday afternoon? Shoul
dn’t you be out at your parties
getting drunk and laid?” George laughed, the trenches suddenly forgotten for the moment.

That’s one thing about the old. They said what they wanted when they wanted and George was no exception. In his hay
day I imagined that he was quite
the ladies

man. I’d seen pictures of him before he lost his legs and arm in the war: tall, lean and muscular up top. Ebony skin and straight even w
hite teeth… I could only imagine…

BOOK: Beauty
7.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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