51: Glasses Geek

51: Glasses Geek

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

Glasses Geek

It took me a long time not to judge myself
through someone else’s eyes.

~Sally Field

I was in love. Just saying his name made my heart flutter. Scott Sumsion... Mrs. Sumsion... Mrs. Scott Sumsion. It was a dream, and he was mine. I wrote his name all over my notebooks. His dimpled smile and bright blue eyes made my knees buckle. He was by far the cutest guy on our middle school campus.

Scott and I met in sixth grade and our romance heated up during seventh grade when we had the same homeroom teacher. We’d smile and snicker at each other, trying to catch each other’s eye during class—out of view of the teacher, of course. We weren’t about to get caught and have the whole class know our heart’s desires. Ours was true love to last forever, or at least until the next cute boy walked by.

It was during that same year that I noticed a blurry Scott sitting far away. His blond hair wasn’t glowing as it had at the beginning of the year. I figured it was just the lighting in the room, but then I realized I couldn’t see the writing on the blackboard either. Even the trees were getting fuzzy. Was the world in chaos? The straight poles I could see all over town weren’t just straight poles. As I got closer to them I realized they had lights on the ends.

Then my world collapsed. The two most dreaded words in the English language came out of my mother’s mouth: “EYE DOCTOR.”

“NO!” I yelled. This could not be happening to my perfect world

And just as predicted after my eye exam I heard the word I feared the most: “GLASSES.”

My life was ruined. I was going to end up a wallflower at all the dances and be passed up like a freak of nature. There went my dreams of prom night and moonlight smooching. Now I was going to be known as the dateless chick, the four-eyed freaky one, the less-than-zero girl. I was turning into a nerd, and not by choice. How could my parents do this to me? And as if my life couldn’t get any worse, my parents insisted I get the type of frames that would hold up in gym class, in case I got hit by a ball or something. Come on, give me a break! I wasn’t the kind of rough girl who beat up boys. Well, except for the time I gave Scott Mitchell a bloody nose. And who cared about that?

Why couldn’t I get some cute little wire frames and look like a girl instead of looking like my dad? Come to think of it, my dad and Drew Carey looked an awful lot alike. I cried when I looked in the mirror. I hated my new glasses. I knew Scott would hate them. I was officially a glasses geek.

I took off my new glasses the second I walked through the doors at school and I would hide them in my pocket or leave them in my locker. Things went smoothly until Mrs. Johnson asked me to read something on the board. How could she humiliate me in front of everyone? I was horrified because I couldn’t see. I slowly slid my glasses from my pocket and stuck them on my face. I read the sentence and threw my glasses back in my pocket. I was found out. I was going to have to live in a mole cave for the rest of my life. Mrs. Johnson insisted I wear my glasses throughout her class so I could read when called upon. Scott had seen me in full glasses geek glory.

“You don’t look that bad,” he told me.

I had a hard time adjusting to wearing them all day at first, but soon realized that I actually enjoyed seeing things clearly and crisply across the room.

Scott played the drums for Swing Choir and he and I ogled each other from across the room. He was awesome as he jammed and occasionally threw a drumstick in the air, almost hitting our teacher. My heart would race when he’d glance up and catch my eye before I quickly looked away. I knew he was watching the gleam in my eye; or more like the reflection of the lights in my glasses. I was hopeless.

Then, one day, I was hit square in the face with the ball in P.E. My glasses flew into the air and the left arm shattered into three pieces as they hit the floor.

Now I could get a new pair of glasses, I thought.

My mother didn’t agree. I left geek-ville and I entered a new phase of triple-decker-nerdville. My mom had the audacity to make me tape them together. Not just tape—masking tape.

“I can’t and I won’t,” I cried.

“It’ll build character,” She announced.

I had heard those words my whole life. At this point, I should have had enough character to sustain an entire village of nerds. How could I face everyone at school? I was humiliated beyond words as I walked down the halls.

“Cindy, you have a new look today,” chimed Mr. Higginson, our choir teacher as he snickered and laughed with all the other kids.

“Yeah, it’s called ‘broken’ by Calvin Klein. I think it might really catch on.” I smugly replied, and put my head down behind the piano so no one could see me. I’m sure he didn’t know he was scarring me for life. I looked over at Scott and saw him snickering. Even he couldn’t help but laugh at the princess of Nerdville.

I lasted another three weeks of school, then summer hit. What a relief! I could have the summer off from being the class nerd. I begged my parents for a new pair of glasses and not just a repaired version of the broken ones. They finally relented and let me actually pick a fashionable pair. I didn’t have to hide any longer.

On the first day of eighth grade, I showed up with my new glasses. Scott walked up to me and grabbed my hands.

“You look great,” he said.

Oh yeah, I thought, where were you when I needed you? Where were you when others were laughing at me, when I was ugly?

I felt weird inside when he talked to me. I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach and my knees stayed strong underneath me. His smile had lost some of its appeal as I noticed that my heart wasn’t doing the pitter-patter dance it used to. I must have changed over the summer months.

I looked at Scott and slowly slid my hand away from his.

“Yes, I do look great, don’t I?”

I walked down the hall, leaving him to gawk at my new “character.”

~Cindy Ovard

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