Beautiful Ugly

Claire Greyson has been scarred for life after a house fire. One side of her face has third degree burns. That will not heal. After she is proved right that nobody will ever treat her the same ever again after she is turned down for her school production, she is pushed over the edge. And wakes up in hospital after overdosing on pills.
She is convinced that one one will ever be able to see past her ugly scars.


1. Remembering the reasons

I stare at myself in the mirror, and feel my skin crawl. My stomach feels like it's pressing up against my ribs, that feeling of complete horror that I get when I'm shooting down off the summit on a rollarcoaster. This is the first time in weeks I've plucked up the courage to look in a mirror, and now I really wish I hadn't bothered. The doctors and my mum and brother had tried to prepare me for this, but nothing whatsoever could have prepared me for the feeling that gripped me when I came face to face with realisation.

"Claire, you must understand, you have been extreamely lucky. We expected it to be worse than this. But your skin has gotten a lot better, and it will continue to improve." Dr Weaterfield says, smiling at me. I can't even look at her. I am transfixed by the ugly creature that is staring back at me in the mirror, it's mouth set in a stiff line. I can't bring myself to attempt a smile at the kindly doctor that has tried to make me as comforatable as she can. She waits for me to speak. But all hope has drained out of me, and I simply nod.

"Darling, this isn't the will look much better..." mum's voice trails off.

"But it won't make a full recovery." I say, voicing what everyone in this room is thinking. I bite my lip hard. And then I throw the mirror onto the ground, wanting to get the truth, my reflection as far away from me as I can.

"No. But in six months time your skin will look so much different to what it does now." Dr Weaterfield's voice is calm, reassuring. False. I know she does not like this. No doctors like the part of their job where they have to deliver the bad news to the patients.

"So you mean in six months time my skin will look as good as it can ever be?" I feel like shouting at all of them, even though it's not their fault. It's not their fault, but they're not the ones who has to live with a scar that detroys half of their face for the rest of their lives. My mum and brother made a full recovery. Some time in hospital to rest. Medication to treat the simple burns. But not me. I was trapped in my room while the fire burned right through my door. The flames licking at my face...

I hear a wimper, and know my mum is about to cry. I feel angry at her for being so pathetic, when it's me who has to live with this! How could she cry, when I've not been able to squeeze out a tear? I've so wanted to cry, but can't.

"Of course there are options...." Dr Weaterfield starts..

I don't even bother to say anything to that. Of course she's talking about plastic surgery. But anyone who knows us knows we couldn't possibly afford it. I have to bite my lip to stop myself snapping at Dr weaterfield. I know she doesn't mean it to sound patronising. But it still makes me cringe, and only Lex can see. He comes over and puts a hand on my shoulder. "It will get better, Claire" he says. I know my brother is only trying to help, but how can he? He can't understand what it's like. I'm not in their world anymore, the world of normal people, where people will get to know them before they are so quick to judge. A world where people even try to get to know them at all, not a world where people take one look at you andand can't see below the surface, below the skin. The thought that maybe no one will ever bother to get to know me makes me want to cry.

I look at Lex, and see that he looks so sad. Poor Lex, he must be worrying his brave, don't care what people think of me sister is gone. I feel guilty for not even trying to conceal my agony. Maybe I should act as if I'm okay, as if I'm still the same Claire who made him practise my lines with me for all the school productions...

But the truth is, I don't know if anyone is ever gonna treat me like the same Claire. Will the teachers, the kids at school ever be the same around me again? Thoughts swirl around my head, and as I try to put a lid on them, to calm myself, I remember the summer production the school is putting on. I'd seen the posters, and my drama teacher had said she was looking forward to seeing me in it. She was sure I'd get a part, and an important one. But that was before. I had no idea what the hell would happen with the production now. Despite what I'd just seen, I still thought there was a teeny chance I would still get a part in the production. Ok not the lead part, but a part. The school production was Bugsy Malone, and while I would have loved to get the part of Blousey, even I knew there was no chance of that ever happening. But maybe Tallulah? I decided to audition, no matter how embarrasing it would be. I needed something to do after all. Anything to distract me from the situation. And if I did get a part, well maybe there was hope for me after all. I was determined not to give up. Acting was my life, and I had worked so hard to come to this point.

I wasn't popular at school, in fact I was the 'loner'. I hung around with Lucy and Vicky, only because they let me tag along with them. They were best friends and they were always closer to the other. I was the odd one out, but I stuck with them because at least then I had someone to go round with. I always felt alone, at school and at home. Mum was busy, with her job, and Lex always seemed to be out, performing at some gig. He was in a band with three other guys at his college and the times when he wasn't out he was in his room, practising songs or something. The closeness we had when we were little vanished when we grew into our teens.

The only thing that I liked was acting. I'd tried so hard at the beggining of secondary school, auditioning for school plays, and that, but maybe because I was so shy, and quiet, I never got picked for any parts. I worked hard on my voice and also my confidence. Lucy and Vicky were very supportive, and sometimes when we were hanging out together I would practise my lines with them. Then halfway through the second year, I managed to get a small part in the christmas production. I was so happy, it was only a tiny part, but it felt like the start of a long journey into the acting world, and I put my all into it.

And you know what? As the school years went on, I auditioned for every school show, and each time I got bigger and bigger parts. It was a distraction, I guess. Life was still hard, but now I had a hobby something I loved, it was bearable, just about...And the last production, of Annie, I'd got the lead part. It felt like I was finally on my way. Because for the first time in my life, I could see a future. It wasn't just a huge stretch of suffering and emptiness and lonliness. I was going to go to acting college, and then maybe I would go into stage school or something. I had something to feel excited about, that was the main thing.

But now, this changed things. Could my dream still happen? I needed to know that no matter how small, I still had a chance.

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