by John Yeo
Everyone else was laughing, except for me, I was embarrassed for her and felt her pain. Children can be cruel to one another sometimes, especially when someone looks slightly different to the norm. Mandy was born with a birth defect to her mouth in the shape of a permanent smile, the other children called her names and she was continually bullied.
I became her friend, we went everywhere together.
I arranged to meet her after our classes that day. She came into view wearing green and pink wellington boots, the rain hadn't stopped for two whole weeks and muddy puddles were everywhere.
'Hi Mandy! Would you like to come for a coffee? I am having trouble with the homework project and I want your help.'
There was no response and Mandy avoided eye-contact, I looked at her closely and I could see tears in her eyes. I had been taken in at first by the painted smile that hid poor Mandy's tears. She stamped her foot into a large muddy rainwater puddle and sobbed.
'Why won't they leave me alone, I hate it when they laugh at my face, I wish I was normal.'
'Oh Mandy, I am so sorry you are feeling down, I think you are pretty, that smile is infectious, you always cheer me up whenever I see you.'
Mandy stamped very hard into another puddle making a large splash.
'I want to look normal and angry when people tease me so I can stop them from hurting me.' Mandy said, kicking the water again with her boots splashing water everywhere.
I then had an idea, what if we covered her mouth with very heavy makeup that would hide her false smile and see how she got on in class with a natural scowl.
'Mandy I have an idea, let's go and visit my Grandma who was a makeup artist, I am sure we will get some help from her.'
'Oh thank you!' Mandy said with a smile that I am sure was a real smile this time.
My Gran worked wonders and hid the permanent smile with some special makeup. Mandy was delighted with the result and wearing her new scowl she went back to school.
A different Mandy emerged, more confident, she began to single out the abusive bullies but instead of seeking revenge she befriended the girls and became very popular.
Then she asked my Gran to remove the makeup.
When the rain came down again Mandy was dancing through the puddles in her green and pink wellies, singing in the rain with her natural smile on her face again.
Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.