I knew the feeling. Yes. I knew too well. The feeling of defeat, disappointment and deep and utter guilt. Was it my fault? Was it me who predestined the way I would be born into this world? No! For if it had been up to me, I would not be in this state. My parents. Ah, my parents. They never ridiculed my stature or lack of it thereof. They never belittled my lack of wit and intelligence and they never pushed me aside because I did not inherit the genetic perfection that ran in my family. no. they never did any of those, I was family and they loved me. But alas, one thing they did do, and do they did quite often was the ever present comparison that was drawn between me and the beautiful Clara Ann.
Clara Leticia Ann. Clara Ann. Ever poised, always graceful, generous with that winning smile, and never cranky. Head held high, words carefully measured, pouring out from those full, upturned lips like water, she was the apple of everyone's eye. She was my sister, Clara Ann. I wonder if she ever loved me or if it was more of pity that drove her to do the things she did for me. “oh, Betsie darling, you left your books at home. I'll bring them to you” or “oh Darling! You look absolutely stunning in pink” when I knew for a fact that I looked like a giant jellybean while she would have carried it off perfectly. Yes, come to think of it, she must have done it all out of hatred laced with pity. After all, what had she to lose?
I knew my parents were upset that I turned out this way. It was a nasty card that fate and Catherine Destiny had dealt us. Something that was completely out of the control of both my parents. It was ironically funny,though, that out of all the people in this world, I had to be one of those that turned out like this. Short limbs, slanting eyes, thinning hair at the young age of 18. I knew my parents looked at each other helplessly whenever I knocked a glass of water over for the hundredth time in a same day. I knew my parents stayed up until the wee hours of the morning poring over what would become of me should anything happen to me once they were gone or incapable of taking care of me.
My mother was in the third trimester of her pregnancy. I was the child she was bearing. It was around twilight when the phone rang and someone broke the news to her about the freak accident that Clara Ann and my dad had gotten into. At that point in time, the condition and stability of both my sister and my father were undisclosed and this drove my mother into an uncontrollable state of panic and prenatal frenzy. She passed out immediately and fell face first onto the ground with a loud, unhindered crash. Dealing a direct blow to her uterus. Dealing a direct blow to me.
The doctors said she was too far along into the pregnancy to terminate it. Apparently I was bleeding as a fetus. Profusely at that. Apparently, they thought I was going to be a still born baby. Coincidentally, they considered the vacuum suction technique to remove me when my mother had completed the full term. Ironically, I was born-alive. Strangely enough, I was not grossly retarded or deformed beyond human imagination. Sadly, I was born autistic. And that was the way I stayed for the rest of my miserable life.
In stark contrast to my Clara Ann, I was never a high achiever in school and I definitely wasn't a hit with the boys either. Nobody called for me at home. The phone would be ringing off the hook but it would always be for Clara Ann. Ah, Clara Ann. How can there be so much of beauty and perfection packaged into a single being? Was it a trick the Gods were playing on me?
I remember sitting at the lavish graduation ceremony of Clara Ann's when she graduated from the Harvard Law School. Smiling brightly and waving at everyone she knew in the crowd. Dressed immaculately in a beige silk gown with her dark brown hair hanging loosely down her back. She was the epitome of perfection that day. Her certificate in her hands proved her academic capacity...
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