We were in the newly moved house and my two brothers were sitting on the floor of my room, putting together my bed. I was sixteen, that haphazard age between womanhood and childhood. I was leaning up against the wall, trying to look as lean as possible- something which was difficult for me as I had recently become perfectly aware of the bodies of thin women and the imperfect body of my athletic build. One of the boys was my brother by birth, a terror of a person who tormented and made my entire childhood the least confident chapter of my life. The other was a brother by the adoption of our family practically, sleeping in our house,eating our food. He was my brother's best friend at one point and my closest relative at another. I admired him and wanted him to see of me what my brother didn't. Of course that was nothing too much considering my brother thought of me in the most terrible way possible, labeling me as "bitch," "cunt," and other words that I timidly carried with me every day, afraid to be assertive in any manner lest I evoke those words once again.
But no Kevin was different, mostly. He never came out and told my brother off but he would often subtly divert the discussion so I wasn't the target. He made up a joke and looked up at me and smiled. He was kind of cute, I thought. Maybe. And only two years older. While I sat there, my head pressed against the wall, shamefully trying to look sophisticated, I began to realize that I might kind of like Jordan. I was just forgetting a boy who had more or less jilted me a few weeks prior- a senior to my sophmore. I didn't quite understand what he didn't see in me but maybe Jordan would find it. I bit the corner of my lip and tried to look mysterious.
Of course I didn't know I was standing on a board. Tim came over and shoved me out of the way, taking it out from under my feet. My pride was hurt but I rebounded. I told Tim not to be an ass and he made some comment about a "douche bag" or something of the sort. I don't really remember. What I do remember is that an argument ensued and Tim muttered something again.
Then Kevin made a comment, a supposed harmless joke I suppose. He thumped his hammer against the floor and said "You know some of the guys were talking about you today." I straightened up, curious. It was bad. It was probably bad. What was it? Maybe it was that Jordan liked me. Maybe he was going to say it. "Yeah and I told them you weren't because you've always been nice to me. Like a sister. They said you were a butterface." He chuckled.
I sat there dismayed for a minute. It wasn't what I wanted to hear but I didn't know what it was. "What's that?" I said slowly, lest I sound like a stupid sixteen year old.
"It's an unattractive face on an otherwise attractive girl with a good body. A butterface." He said the last watching my face, searching inquisitively for a reaction. I felt pinned against the wall. I had always suspected. I had always thought that maybe I was ugly, that maybe the ugly duckling from the story did exist and I was the ugly duckling. I looked back at him and said nothing, then forced a smile and an inconsequential "whatever."
I'll never forget that moment, the moment a few teenage boys robbed me of whatever womanhood I would ever possess, showed me that every song I would ever hear about a beautiful woman would not be about me, reminded me that all of us had flaws and my appearance was mine. It was then, in the budding of my youth, that my flower was crushed before it ever got a chance to bloom. All because of a a few syllables that would haunt every kiss I would ever have, detract the grace from every perfect dress I would ever wear. Butterface. I was a butterface and that was all there was to it.