You should always take the time to scratch the surface and not just judge a book by its cover
He stood back from afar and just watched the girl at work.
She spoke in her baby voice – not the voice she used ever, not normally – but she seemed to think it made her endearing. It didn’t.
No man she knew found such a voice cute either but it’s amazing how many girls try it on like that.
He saw her speak loudly to try to appear confident.
She tried to block out all her insecurities but anyone with a trained eye could see clearly just where she fell short in her own mind.
He would’ve helped her but from what he’d seen of her he didn’t think she was worth it.
He watched the girl two rows over. Now she was interesting.
She didn’t lay everything out on the table you could see there were layers to this girl – layers that were worth knowing. She had a brick wall around her though that was for sure – he’d be interested to know why and when that got built but he’d bide his time about that one.
He looked back over to the first girl – nope nothing much of interest there.
Shame, he always thought a life was a bit wasted when you could work out everything by one look at someone.
He didn’t like how she worked though – he saw her purposely leave a few people out of conversation. It’s ok – you don’t have to like everyone but there was something about the way she did this and the people she did this too that didn’t quite add up. He’d watched and listened and realised it had to be jealousy. But they were long out of the playground – he couldn’t work out why she behaved like this.
It was the most un-endearing thing he’d ever seen. He wondered when she had changed? Maybe it was him that had changed?
He had loved this girl for so long but now he was seeing her in a new light. He didn’t know why he’d been sneaking into the work like this – one of his friends had said something about him being brave to spend the rest of his life with this woman – he never had been able to work out what he meant – his friend would only say she’s not all that she seems.
He’d pondered on it for some time and now – here he was with the opportunity – he’d taken some days off work to have a bit of peace and quiet. He’d actually wanted to buy her a surprise gift and had listened in to a phone conversation between her and a work friend to try to pick up on something he could buy for her that she would really want but would really surprise her at the same time. What he’d over heard had shocked him. She had become this bitter, jealous, gossipy girl that he had spent his life time avoiding. It had overwhelmed him to think she was like that. He’d written it off as just one of those things but then his friends words came back to haunt him. Was it really just one of those things? Was she normally like that when she wasn’t around him? Which was the act? It had concerned him enough that he’d followed her to work that day. He slunk around in the shadows and had almost got caught when he had to go to the toilet but the thought he’d gotten away with it.
Now here he was. Shocked by the girl he loved but did not, it would appear, know very well at all.
He looked at the girl two rows over and realised that he’d rather his girlfriend was like that. Yes, yes terrible judgemental again but she wasn’t partaking in the bitching and the gossiping. It seemed to make her stand out – in a good way to him but in a bad way to his girlfriend. When had it come to this? Where girls always this way? He had a respect for the other girl for refusing to bow down to it and join in.
He ended up following the other girl around for the day and was really starting to like what he saw. She knew herself and stood up for herself in a way that was subtle but left its mark.
She didn’t feel the need to leave anyone out or to single anyone out for abuse. She gave her opinion – not waiting to see what the majority were going to say. She had a mind of her own and that to him was beautiful.
It shocked him to find himself fantasising about what sort of person she was, about whether she had a boyfriend? Girlfriend? Why was he even thinking this at all.
He got a chance to see his girlfriend and this other girl together. He saw the heckles of the other girl go up as soon as his girlfriend appeared. But she was nice, she was polite, but she wasn’t fake. As for his girlfriend, well you guessed it – she wanted something so the baby voice came back out at full force.
When she left he saw the other girls energy shift. He knew that the way his girlfriend was hurt this girl – and he knew his girlfriend knew it.
What was there to like about bullying? Even something as subtle as that?
He knew now that he could not spend the rest of his life with his girlfriend. In fact he didn’t want to spend another minute with her.
He would get her a gift alright.
He managed to get out of the building with only this other girl seeing him – he pretended he was doing a delivery – he had seen something real in her eyes that almost made him lose his cool. She looked at him with suspicion but said goodbye and got back to her work.
He went home and took out a thank you card that they had a pack of in the kitchen cabinet.
He started to write:
‘Thank you for opening my eyes – for allowing me to grow and to see things in a way I don’t think you ever will. I thought for ages about the best gift I could buy you – the best gift I could find to give to you was this little pocket mirror and to set you free. You are now free to live your life in whatever way you see fit. Please use this mirror wisely and really see your reflection and all that you have become. Be free my love, be free.’ He put his engagement ring by the side of the envelope.
His gift to her would be freedom to work out where she had gone wrong and to hopefully put things right.
He picked up another card and began to write:
‘You don’t know me and I hope that you don’t find this weird but I saw you today and just wanted to thank you for opening my mind, to realising that you don’t have to be mean to fit in with this world, you can instead be kind and make your own world to fit into. You set me free and I thank you.’ He didn’t sign it, she didn’t need to know his name, those sorts of facts seemed immaterial now.
He looked around his home – now it just felt like a house. They had things to sort out but for now he was just going to get in a taxi to his friends house and raise a beer to his freedom and his future.
He would never judge a book by its cover again.
He would always take the time to scratch the surface of someone before writing them off.
He would never again be sucked in by someone trying so hard to fit in.
He would never regret the time with his girlfriend as she had taught him this very valuable lesson.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s the non-important kind that is only skin deep.
So I guess the moral of the story is – always be wary of the girl with the fog horn voice, the one so desperate to fit in – the one who will try to unite a group by gossiping, instead pay attention to the quiet one who is observing………..not perfect but at peace with the knowledge that she is not.