The Nose on One's Face
[Note: It's definitely been a while since I wrote some pure fiction pulled straight out of the air. Critiques invited by all.]
Big nose. Actually, enormous nose. Big enough to store farm equipment in. The kind of disfigurement that makes you realize why some plastic surgery should not be considered "elective." Sure, God gave it to him, but couldn't one argue that God also gave us rhinoplasty?
Rhinoplasty. Now there's a word that doesn't exactly feel good spilling out the mouth. Rhinoplasty, he thought. "Rhinoplasty," he said aloud, and as he did, he felt heads in the waiting room turn toward him. He didn't need to look around to know that he'd slipped. He didn't need to see their faces to know that his voice had invited them finally take a good look at the monstrosity that had brought him to this place. He had felt their eyes on him when he had first walked in, but they were more discreet then, peeking over opened People magazines, pretending to stretch so they could twist their necks and hide their faces behind their raised arms, dropping things accidentally-on-purpose so they could stare up at him from the floor.
Pathetic, he thought. They are pathetic in their unsneakiness. They think I don't see them. Puh-leeze.
Pathetic, he thought. I am pathetic in my patheticness. I see them. I see them wishing they could get a really good look at me and burn the image of my supernaturally unnatural face in their brains so they will have an interesting story to tell to their spouses at dinner or to their coworkers at happy hour or to their neighbors at the block party about the circus freak they saw at the office where beautiful people go to be made more beautiful. Quidnuncs, he thought. I see them in their smugness, in their silent gratitude that they are, however imperfect, not as hideous as I am.
I see them. I see them see me. I wish I were unseeable, he thought.
He pulled the rim of his baseball cap down a bit. Checked to make sure his sunglasses were still on. Flipped the collar of his jacket up. Yanked his scarf into position so as to cover just a little more of his face. Pulled his iPhone out of his pocket, bent down over his lap, and pretended to be engrossed in whatever it is that keeps normal people attached to their portable technology. But I'm not normal, he whispered. I'm not normal now, but I will be. I will be.
He opened his email. Fourteen new messages since he had checked just an hour ago. All from women. Some he knew, some he didn't. Some old, some young. Some attractive, some super attractive. All of them out of his league. All of them asking him out, calling him sexy, making indecent proposals, describing what they would do to him if given the chance, professing crushes and infatuation and even love. But he knew they were all liars. The world is full of women who get off on mocking the ugly guy. Bitches, he decided.
When the nurse called his name, he didn't notice until the third time, and again, he felt the eyes of the room on him, silently piercing him with their pity, disgust, curiosity. For the last time, he thought. "For the last time," he said aloud, and he got up and followed the woman in scrubs from his old, pathetic life to the beginning of his new, normal life.
* * * * *
He never knew that when the door closed behind him, people in the waiting room shifted in their seats, uncomfortable with the thoughts and wonderings and imaginings that had started in their stomaches and been climbing into their chests and up their throats longing to burst from their individual and collective lips as they had stolen glances at the man in the baseball cap and sunglasses and flipped-up collar and bulky scarf. Everyone made subtle invitations for eye contact with someone across from them or next to them, eager to put words to the feelings they had been holding in silence out of courtesy and politeness.
A woman, unable to contain herself any longer, inhaled deeply, exhaled a sigh that was a curious combination of relief and arousal, then said it first and said it best and without the least bit of irony: "My God, isn't he positively gorgeous?"
* * * * Same Ending, Said Differently. * * * *
He never knew that when the door closed behind him, the waiting room filled with chatter. With the door closed behind him, those waiting in the waiting room finally turned--either to those they knew, or those they didn't--eager to speak the thoughts and words that were ready to burst from their mouths as they had been stealing glances at the man in the baseball cap and sunglasses and flipped-up collar and bulky scarf. With longing and arousal and not the least bit of irony, one woman said it first and said it best and the room agreed with nods and sighs and some licking of lips: "My God, isn't he positively gorgeous?"
* * * Logophiles, which do you like better? Help! Anonymous opinions count, too. * * *