Baby Face

Bonnie Hemingway was burned in a fire very early in life, causing her face to be contorted and "ugly". Over her 15 years on this Earth, she has gone through countless failed correctional opperations, driven her family apart and suffered bullying from her peers.
However, one day she meets Harvey. Not gorgeous, hunky or desperately heroic. No. Harvey is kind and funny and human. Which is just what Bonnie needs.

Is it, though?

This is a story that just highlights how the effects of bullying can linger long after the mental gunfire. I hope you enjoy.


2. Baby Face

"Tip the Second": The more friends you have, the more likely it is you'll be shot at.


10 minutes left. In 10 minutes time, I will be looking back up at my classroom with the tinted windows in the smouldering warmth, ready to make my way home where Mum will be waiting on the couch for me, dragging on a fag, with the noxious smell of tar lingering around the room. But for now, in Geography, I have been highlighting the countries of Northern Asia, in a preparation for an essay on comparing terrains and what this has to do with an economical crisis. Kazakstan is purple, Russia is an electric blue and Mongolia is a deep red. Now, I need a yellow for China. Janet is sitting next to me. She's got effulgent strawberry blonde hair, that she wears in plaits. It's kind of like a mask, her thick layers of make-up and hairstyle covering up the snide cow beneath, with the pickled, pinched heart. But as well as all that, she has a pencil case chock-a-block with posh colouring pens. "Janet", I say tapping her on the shoulder, "Could I borrow your yellow pen?" She writhes in disgust and moves her chair and work away from me. "Jesus Christ," She eyes me up and down in a squirmy kind of disgust. "Don't touch me with your nasty skin. God, what is your problem?" She throws the yellow pen at me. "Just use it, ok?" Her eyes pierce through me and the entire table erupt in stifled sniggers. "No, no it's ok. Forget it. I'm... I'm sorry." I answer, through gritted teeth and pass it back. But it's not fine. And I'm not sorry. I want bang my head down on the desk, and drum them out of my skull, I want to cry and make them feel... alone. I want to take their normality and hide it away in the deepest, darkest cave. But I don't and I won't. Ever.

China will have to stay blank, because the bell is about to ring. Aisha, a podgy girl with a blue headscarf, grabs my backpack and swings it over her meaty shoudlers. She snubs her nose with her hand and stretches the side of her eye. I've seen this act before. "Jaaaanet..." She whines, in a crude attempt at mimicking me. "I like your pen, Janet, can I borrow it to pick my nasty little nooooose?" She gurgles and cackles and searches through my bag. She pulls out my pink scientific calculator.

"Come on, Aisha" I sigh in attempt at reasoning with her, extending my palm towards her. "Can I have it back?"

"Excuse me? I'm not finished. Wow, Bonnie, I always knew you were ugly and now you're rude too!" She guffaws, cliking her stumpy little digits infront of my face which is now derelict of any emotion. "Dick-head" I mumble, inaudibly, as I shove my book and pencil tin into the bag that I have regained. "What was that?" Three words. Not snide or piercing. No. Soft, with a tang of acusational poingnancy. I turn around and Mr. Beechum is staring at me, quite cooly and reserved. "I think that was rather innapropriate and rude, Bonnie." God, that voice like curdled milk, trickling down the nape of my neck. What does he know about it? Was he there?"Can you apologise to Aisha for that apalling remark?" The class has grown silent, right on cue. They're after the most embarressing climax.

"I'm sorry, Aisha." I throw her an empty apology. She tastes it and is still hungry for more. The bell goes.

"Ok, Bonnie. To make up for it, I'll be taking your calculator home to help me with my maths homework. I'll give it back on Friday." She won't give it back on Friday. Because according to hierarchial rule, it's her's now. Her cousin, Imran, pushes me on the way out.

"You think that's nice, Baby Face?" He snarls, his nostrils flaring in agitation, an agitation that he tries to match with failed intimidation. "Don't get rude, yeah? Ugly bitch." For good measure, Imran bashes me against the coat pegs which dig into my back. My navy cardigan offers no protection and the pain is a crushing, blunt sort. My eyes water and my cheeks flush and stupidly, I let him acknowledge this. I run from the classroom, my bag beating against my bruised back rhythmically, out into the blinding sunshine. I don't look back up at my classroom, two stories up with the tinted windows. I rifle through the swelling crowd and speed walk home. Mum opens the door and I walk past her and up into my bedroom in a storm of hot tears. "Bad day?" She croons through the door, letting in a single shard of light.

"Y-yeah." I reply qiuetly.

"Bonnie, talk to me. What's happened?" Mum perches herself on the edge of my bed. I notice that she has changed the sheets. Infact, she's tidied up most of the room. "You've cleaned my room," I sniff, brushing away a streak of salty tears from my cheek. "Bonnie," she persists, "Bonnie, for God's sake, tell me what's happened!" Mum kneels before me, her face etched with angst. "N-nothing, Mum, It doesn't matter. It's just... nothing."

"For Christ's sake, Bonnie! You're upset, tell me what's wrong? Is it that Aisha girl again? What's she done?" I avoid her off-putting gaze and fiddle with my nails.  "It's the whole class, it's... it's everyone, Mum." I cough. She looks at me again, in that same awkward, gawking way. "They look at me, Mum, like... like... they... God, Mum, they think I'm disgusting." Mum is still looking at me. She maintains that position for a few moments and then slumps into an arch, cradling her mind and thoughts. I hear her body vibrate in sobs. She looks up at me, and her eyeliner is running a smooth course down her face. "I don't know what to say anymore, Bonnie." She gurgles. "You come home like this and... it's breaking me, Bonnie. I love you, but I don't know what to say anymore. I've said everything I can." She stands up and backs away. Not in fear or loathing. She is in pain, she is broken. "I'm sorry." I whisper. My response is limp and meaningless.

"Don't, darling. Just. Don't." She leaves.


I'm not in a homework mood, infact I'm pretty moodless. Neutral.  So I turn on my laptop. I've got an email  from Dad, asking me how I am and how school is going. I ignore it. Instead, I pick a song from my I-tunes and plug in my new headphones that Mum bought me last week. It's "Tree Hugger" by Kimya Dawson and I shut my eyes and listen meticulously to the acoustics and each lyric.

The flower said "I wish I was a tree",

The tree said I wish I coud be

A different kind of tree,

The cat wished that it was a bee,

The turtle wished that it could fly

Really high into the sky,

Over roof tops and then dive

Deep into the sea.


The lyrics are sweet and harmless but thought-provoking nonetheless. It got me thinking about my wishes. I rumage through my drawer and find a piece of scrap line paper, that has a doodle of a cow in a top hat on the back. I find a biro and begin to write.


Bonnie's 5 Wishes:

1. I wish I could shove Janets colouring pens down the toilet.

2. I wish Imran could be spiked with coat pegs on a daily basis.

3. I wish that my calculator could explode when Aisha uses it.

4. I wish that people would quit looking at me in that awkward way.


And then I think.


5. I wish I could have a friend.


I crumple the paper up into a ball and throw it in the bin.







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