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Potato Nose, Chicken Legs

Potato nose, chicken legs. That’s what the kids used to call me. I pretended not to care, of course, always chanting mom’s words in my head: Don’t listen to them, Gracy. They don’t really mean it. But there was only one problem—these kids were right. My big fat nose did look like a potato and my ridiculously disproportional skinny legs did seem like they belong on a chicken. God, how I hated my potato nose; how I hated my chicken legs. I must have been eleven or so. Even before the Internet, even before Facebook, Photoshop, and envy-inducing selfies, I felt ugly. But I never told anybody about it. I was afraid that if I say it out loud, it would somehow be true. As I grew up, something happened to me—people around me started to tell me how pretty I was. But no matter how many times I’d hear it, I never quite believed it. Because whenever I looked in the mirror, all I could see was the same old potato nose, chicken legs.

“How much longer?” Jonathan asks me, his voice bringing me back to the present. He’s sitting on the bed now, wearing his green blazer and his best smile, all ready to go.

“I don’t know, JJ. Thirty minutes?” I say. “I want to make myself pretty for you tonight,” I add matter of factly and wink at my reflection.

“You’re already pretty, babe,” he says. “Just as you are now.” I giggle, half delighted, half embarrassed.

“So, should I go to that fancy restaurant in my MacGyver-printed bathrobe? With my hair, like this?” I gesture at my untamed wet curls and laugh.

“Actually, that would be really cool,” he says from behind. “I’ll give you fifty bucks if you leave the house wearing your awesome MacGyver bathrobe. Imagine their faces when we walk into the restaurant!”

In the mirror, I see Jonathan’s reflection. He’s swiping through pictures on his Galaxy. “Only fifty bucks? You know, when you want to, you can be so romantic,” I tease but enjoy every minute.

“Think about it, babe. We could reinvent the three-year-anniversary thingy here. It’s gonna be a huge social media trend once we upload it to YouTube.” Jonathan shakes his head, seeming amused by the thought. His endearing dimples appear deeper than usual.

I dry my hair and struggle to make it look half decent as I attempt to imitate the technique the Curls Guru from Facebook had taught us all in her videos. It’s not working, though. I pull my hair up and hope for the best. I catch Jonathan glancing at me as I apply mascara. I love how he looks at me so lovingly, so admiringly. He’s the only person who had managed to make potato nose, chicken legs’ reflection leave my mirror forever. That’s how I knew he should be mine when we had first met three years ago. I smile at my reflection and put on my black evening dress.

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