Beauty And The Beast

Thesna Aston
4 min readDec 2, 2023
Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

The time when anonymous calls were not creepy.

I hastily put down the receiver and berated myself for being unable to speak to him again.

Why would he notice someone like me?
He looked like one of those tall, dark, and handsome heroes I saw on the covers of the romance novels I poured over.

Sweat drenched my palms- my heart was racing, beating at my chest as if imprisoned and wanting to escape.

I was fourteen years old, and he was sixteen.
I knew this because he was two grades higher than me.
Every day, I poured over snippets of any information I could learn about him.

He had a deep voice that sent shivers down my spine.
He never spoke to me, but I overheard when he chatted with his friends.
Just thinking about his physique made my knees go weak.
Swoon?
Oh, I swooned.

After six months of seeing him daily on the bus home, I decided to be brave and call him.
Valentine’s was close, and I wanted him to be my Valentine.

Without the help of the internet, finding his number took some “smart” sleuth work. By chance, I saw his surname on his school bag when I walked behind him.
I rushed home and poured over the surnames in the telephone directory. I called many asking to speak to him, only to be told I had the wrong number.
Three weeks later, I found it!
First, I hurried to the phone and dialled, but when I heard his voice on the other side, no words came out, and I hastily dropped the receiver.

This time, I was determined to introduce myself and speak to him.
I read somewhere (can’t recall exactly where) that good looks didn’t matter. I had a sense of humour and was kind.
As I saw it, I was still in the process of becoming.
Transitionary phases are painful!
Remember The Ugly Duckling that transformed into a beautiful swan?

Hoping he would see beyond the big lips, skinny legs and wild mop of bushy hair, I lifted the receiver again and took a deep breath while waiting for it to connect.

“Hello!”

“Hello?”

Lord help me, but he sounds so beautiful.”

As I stood there frozen, I could picture him with his attractive, lop-sided smile and his hair that kept going into his face and him flicking it back.

“Speak!”
“Say something,” my mind berated my heart for its cowardice.

“Hi, there,” I croaked out.
Cringe!
Was that me?
I cleared the frog from my throat and smiled.

“Hi, Bobby,” I sounded much more confident now.

“Who is this?” he asked impatiently.

“Guess,” I replied.

Oh goodness, now I sounded like a child, not a mature fourteen-year-old.

I told him where and how often I saw him and which bus he took home.
Stalker much!
But, it was allowed in those years.

He laughed and tried to guess which girl I was that took the same bus he did.

I loved the anonymity but wanted to know if he was interested in me because, often, on the ride home, I saw him glance my way.

“Do you have a girlfriend,” I asked, hoping he would say no.

“No, I don’t, but there is someone I am interested in,” he replied.

Yes!

I nearly jumped for joy but asked casually, “Oh, who?”

“A girl I see on the bus everyday,” he responded.

No, this can’t be true!

Even in my wildest dreams, when I imagined “little Bobby’s” running around, I never thought he might feel like I did.

I was so happy that I never heard the words that followed.

“…Beast.” I caught the tail-end of his sentence and stopped my wayward brain.

“Sorry, what did you just say?”

I wanted him to repeat how he thought I was beautiful and would invite me to be his Valentine.

“I said,” he said slowly, “There are two girls on the bus home.
One girl is beautiful and wears her hair in a long ponytail, and the other, with the shorter, bushy hair, looks like the beast.

“Which one are you?” he asked.

Pain shot into my heart, and I wanted to cry.
I knew he described me as the “beast,” the ugly one!
My heart shattered, and tears rolled down my cheeks.

In my haste to declare my undying love for him, and while playing guessing games on the phone, I forgot that my friend and I travelled together.

I dropped the receiver, flung myself on the bed and sobbed.

For months after that call, I took slow steps to the bus stop so I wouldn’t get on the same bus as him.

I was “crushed” that my crush turned out to be so cruel and didn’t feel the same way about me.

I picked up the pieces of my broken heart and decided to remain in my fantasy world with romance novels.
Life was less hurtful when you dreamed about being adored.

Anyway, life turns things around, and Karma never sleeps.

Years later, I saw him drunk outside a club.
Life did not seem to have been kind to him.
By then, I was singing and way more confident, and he chatted me up and tried flirting with me, not knowing I was the girl he had once rejected so horribly.

I had the pleasure of turning him down, saying, “Sorry, I was not interested.”

Although I was not as cruel as he was, I walked away with my head held high, inwardly smiling, while he stared and stared.

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Thesna Aston

Writer-The complexities of life are simplified through my Writing. Wellness Coach, Human Rights Activist. Grateful for my life and family. Writing is healing