So here I am the new heiress of the Meringue family. What that means I don’t know exactly… Who am I? I’m right there.
No, not tall girl with a smile that could light up the room, so not me.
The surfer guy next to her with a body that looks like it was pulled straight from a magazine, nope not me. See me yet?
Nope, not the peppy little cheerleader with the highest grade point average in our class but you are getting close since she is my twin sister.
That’s me, right there sitting under a tree with a notebook away from everyone else like always. The girl in the tattered jeans with drawings all over them descretely hidden with a plaid skirt and baggy shapeless hoodie with the hair artfully (or so I like to tell myself) pushed in front of her face. See me now? You’d probably be the first to.
Growing up I was always in my twin’s shadow for everything. She had it all brains, beauty, the ability to talk confidently to just about anyone, anywhere. People just radiated to her while I on the other hand would always be overlooked. No matter how hard I tried to make friends it always seemed like I was doing everything all wrong. I spent most of my childhood looking on and wondering why she was able to do everything so perfectly and receive the amounts of praise she did yet when I could do the same thing and not even be noticed.
Oh how I tried to break free of her shadow that felt at times like it was smothering me and try to make a few friends but every year it was the same thing. I tried my hardest to impress everyone but in the end all I would get was blank stares or weird looks until they just went back about their businesses.
The only one that ever noticed anything was ironically my sister. I would be lying if I said that she was mean to me and treated me like the outcast that I was but truthfully she was the only person in our class that was nice to me. She would try to include me in her and her friend’s activities but somehow even that didn’t work and everyone would pair off or so leaving me by myself again.
It would have been so much easier to dislike her and pass her off as another one of those kids we went to school with. You know the kind popular, pretty, and everything you are not. But none of this was her fault and everything she got, she had rightfully deserved. It was kind of hard to hate someone who was just so genuinely nice to everyone. Even though she did have the tendency to talk about herself too much sometimes but she would do it in an innocent way as if she really believed that she thought you wanted to hear about her, sadly most of the time it was.
She got perfect grades, would go on to be the head cheerleader of the Jr. Varsity squad when we reached High School, was always surrounded by friends, dating cutest guy in school who just happened to be on the football team while every other guy tripping over themselves to get her to notice them, never had to spend Friday or Saturday night home alone. Her life was a life of perfect existence that you only read out of books or see in movies, something someone like me could never achieve.
By the time high school came around I had completely given up and developed a sort of loner’s attitude. Friends? I didn’t need them, I could do just fine on my own. After all life doesn’t start until after school ends so I would just have to make the best of the years here until it was all over with. I knew that I would never become the prom queen or class president but I was fine with that. Or so I told myself many times but I knew deep down that I would have been thrilled to be either if given the chance. Was I bitter? Probably, but who wouldn’t be?
My mother acted like if I just changed my looks a bit that it would change everything, not that she was superficial or anything. More than likely I always thought she was just using it as an excuse for me to cut my hair instead of leaving it the way it was, my shield from the rest of the world. “Sweetie you’re a beautiful girl. If you maybe just stopped hiding behind your hair other berries could see that.”
“Mom don’t, just don’t. My life isn’t some after school drama that if I magically cut my hair or wore it in a different style and dressed differently that I will suddenly become more accepted by my peers and classmates, beloved by all admired by many.” I said to her sarcastically as I continued to draw on my jeans with my pen. “Starry we are not going to keep buying you new pairs of pants if you end up drawing on every pair.” She said with a sigh not even raising her voice to reprimand me. My whole life I never heard her yell once or raise her voice, everything was done calmly. “I wouldn’t always draw on them if I had paper or something else to draw on.” I mumbled under my breath while I stopped drawing and smoothed my skirt over my pants to hide them.
“What about your allowance? Why don’t you use to it go into town and get some more art supplies.” She suggested trying to be helpful but it didn’t help at all when I in fact already had spent my allowance on said art supplies and used them up. “I spent it all.” I said quietly while I sat on my bed tucking my legs up close to me. “Starry you just got that allowance two days ago…” My mother began to go into a speech about better money management but wasn’t able to finish before I spoke up “But I got inspired the past two days and I just had to get it all out of my head before it was lost for good and I would spend the rest of my days regretting it if I hadn’t.” I said dramatically with the back of my hand to my forehead for an added effect but it was lost on my mother. “You could do more chores or get a job in town you know…” my mother said as she ignored me and my dramatics as she left my room with a few pairs of my doodle filled pants from my hamper.
My father on the other hand treated me differently like I was made of glass that could easily be shattered. Memories of days long ago would flicker through my mind of a time when I had come home crying with Indigo practically dragging me off the school bus and into the house. From my tear stained cheeks to Indigo’s worried face he assumed the worst that I had been bullied, made fun of or something along those lines. At once he demanded to know what was wrong and Indigo stammered as she did her best to explain even though she didn’t know or really understand at that age what I was upset about.
“Starry what happened?” He must have asked for the 5th time before I was calm enough to speak and it was hard to explain why I was crying in the first place. Nothing had happened at school that day, I spent the early part of the day as usual in class followed by lunch seated next to my Indigo as she always insisted every day up until I decided no more in the 6th grade even though no one would talk to me. Recess I sat under a tree watching the other kids play together as I tried unsuccessfully to read ahead in our studies book. “Daddy, why doesn’t anyone like me?” I remembered asking while I sat on the table my short legs far from the floor as I kicked them back and forth uneasily.
“Starry plenty of berries like and love you.” He assured me with a confident smile as if what he said was true. “Then why don’t I have any friends besides Indigo and Shadow Sea? Why doesn’t any of the other kids want to play with me or talk to me if they didn’t like me then?” I quickly peppered him with questions as he sighed and ran his hand through his hair as he always did when trying to think of a not so easy answer “I don’t know maybe there is something wrong with them because there is not a thing wrong with you and if they can’t see you for the nice little girl that you are then you don’t need them and they should fudge off then.” He replied as my mother entered the room from the backyard at the worst time just to hear the last five words he spoke. “Roux don’t curse in front of Starry!” She reprimanded him instantly while I just let his words sink in. "I'm tired of these kids that she goes to school with Aub. There is nothing wrong with her so it most be them." My father stubbornly insisted that day.
My older siblings had different points of view on me. In elementary school Wisteria was more forgiving but as soon as I became a teen her view changed. Now I was alienating myself from the rest of classmates with whatever I did. Whether it was drawing on my clothes, a habit that I picked up whenever I couldn’t find anything else to draw on or the way I did my hair to not wearing as much makeup as her and Indigo.
Porfirio thought it was amusing and always made me promise to tell him if anyone messed with me. But in order for that to happen, people would have to notice me first. Though most of the time he was busy hanging out at the beach with the other kids from school that surfed. There was always some sort of upcoming surf competition that was being held there that was in need of preparation for that would have him practicing up until the sun set when he would either come home or if was the weekend they would have a bonfire party on the beach.
A Typical Friday morning started with the sun rising while I was drawing away in a school notebook what I could remember from the previous night’s dreams, but this Friday came with an untypical request from my sister Indigo that day before school. “Come on come with me tonight Star.” Indi began to plead with me “I don’t want to Indi, besides why don’t you get one of your friends to go with you.” I replied without even looking up from my drawing. “Because I want you to go with me, you’re my twinnie Star and you haven’t even heard where we are going to yet.” Indi said as if the destination mattered at all but the look on her face made me know that she really wanted me to come since I had once again caught her concern. Usually when I had done so I would act in annoyed attitude but with Indy it was different she was my twin and I could never hide anything from her.
“Alright where are we going?” I asked playing into her plans wondering what could have her so excited that she could want me of all her friends to go with her instead. “There is this new teen club that’s opening up and I really think it would be good for you to get out once in a while and enjoy yourself or something for a bit you know?” She replied evidently still in convincing mode. “Plus I could do your hair and makeup before we go! It will be so fun, a night to remember for the rest of your life!”
“No and no if I am going Indi.” I immediately protested while I raised a protective hair to my hair to shield it as if my hair had ears that could hear what she had just said. “Oh come on Starry please!” She pleaded as she put her two hands together and jutted out her lower lip while attempting to give me some puppy dog eyes. Unfortunately for her the twin thing works both ways and I know her better than anyone else including all of her many friends. “Nope you got two choices you touch my hair or face and I stay home or you leave it alone and I go. The choice is yours sis.” I said before asking my one piece of leverage “By the way does dad know where we are going?”
“No, he would have a heart attack remember when it first opened and he said that we couldn’t go there because guys that go to clubs are only looking for one thing?” She replied with a smile as she obviously hoped and really wanted me to partake in a bit of teenage mischief with her. It was almost a very welcomed change from my average Friday night that consisted of me lounging around the house trying to find things to do while watching my siblings go about their very social lives. But tonight could be different I could be social able, I could be meet a guy on the dance floor and give him my number. Ok probably not but odder things have happened before so who knows. I thought to myself as I soon agreed to go with Indy to the club.
We agreed that Indy would go out like she normally did and return at curfew as not to rise and suspicions. For as pretty and popular as she was Indy had never snuck out before and me well yeah it went without saying that neither did I. So we put a lot of thought and planning into this as we sat on our bathroom floor the cool tiles could be felt through the thin flannel cloth of my pants as I hoped that our plan would not fail. When both our parents went upstairs to go to sleep we would wait an hour or so until they were hopefully asleep by then we would sneak out the back sliding door and be on our way to the club.
School dragged by that day as if it knew that for once I plans on a Friday night. The teachers droned on and on about things that I knew that I wasn’t going to ever use in the real world, especially since I was going to apply to that Art School in Briocheporte next year. Next year couldn’t come soon enough, it would be my last year in this school, the year before my life officially started. I wished that I was Wisteria’s and Porfirio’s age since they would be graduating this year at the end of Spring while I had to wait another year. By the time the bell rung I was quickly hurrying towards the door so I could throw everything in my locker and not miss the bus home again.
As always Indy wasn’t on the bus, she had friends that drove so she didn’t have to ride it like I had to. Seated in the back of the bus I tucked my legs up close to me as I looked out the window watching the houses go by, quickly and then slower as they became further and further apart the closer we got to the section of Sweet Valley that I lived in. Both of my parent’s cars were in the drive way signaling that they were both home as usual. Mother was in the garden taking care of her plants that grew plentiful under her care, while my father was in his office grading papers from the college writing courses he taught in the morning.
Going up stairs I headed a routine that was almost never deviated from as I sat at my computer to check if Shadow Sea wrote me an email back. We were planning on having me visit for the weekend so he could show me around Briocheporte and where the Art School was. It had been a few years since I had last been there since my dad hated going there, too many bad memories I guess since he never really liked to talk about it. The last time I was there Shadow Sea, Indy and I were still in grade school and his parents took us to some place that had a lot of butterflies and we ate food that came from a truck to my parents’ dismay when they found out. But now we were old enough to look around the city without any parental supervision so there was much too look forward as we planned my trip there.
Lounged around my room for a while until I was bored out of my mind and wits I made the decision to go downstairs and watch some TV, an all too typical of a weekend evening for me. How many times had I been through this before I thought to myself as I saw Wisteria and her boyfriend by the front door as my dad hampered them getting their date started. The way he treated Midnight like it was their first date instead of their probably hundredth was almost endearing. “Yes and what time is Wisteria’s curfew?” My father asked again unconvinced of Midnight who stood next my sister by the front door inches away from being able to leave and get on with their date but so far away from being finished with my father. “10 pm and respectfully Mr. Meringue you’ve known me my whole life, I would never do anything to compromise Wisteria’s umm honor.” Midnight replied uncomfortably but notably not irritatedly while he was being put through my dad’s third degree as he always was every time he took Wisteria out. You could almost recite every exchange word for word if you’ve seen this as many times as I have. Yes, well she is my first born as you know. My father would say as once again Midnight would reply with something along the lines of being assuring before Wisteria would get annoyed and announce that they had to leave right then and there because they were on the verge of being late. “Yes, well she is my first born as you know.” My father said predictably and I almost wished that there was someone around that could have taken a bet because I would have won it as I watched it all play out.
Surprisingly though Wisteria came home around an hour before her curfew looking like she had been crying and would start again at any moment. “Midnight and I have broken up.” She announced dramatically as if this hadn’t happened before. It seemed like almost every month they were on the outs for one reason or another for a few days before getting back together. “What happened dear?” my mother asked her as she sat at the table. “I don’t even know. One moment we were arguing about one thing, then it was another and by the time I told him that maybe we should take another break it was about something totally different.” Wisteria answered dejectedly as you could almost see her going over the evening in her mind trying to figure out how they once again got to the place they been so many times before.
“Do you think that it’s final this time?” My mother lightly questioned as Wisteria glanced at her and vehemently shook her head while saying “No, Midnight and I love each other. It’s just another bump in the road between us. We’ll be back together by 5th period on Tuesday you’ll see.” You’re probably right down to the date and time I thought while I tried to say something helpful as our mother assured her but instead I found myself saying the wrong thing. “Maybe you should take a longer break ‘cause you guys do break up on almost a monthly basis, just saying…”
“What do you know about love Starry? You haven’t even had a boyfriend yet let alone been kissed by any one. No one wants to kiss or date you because you’re you.” She spat out as her face flushed quite red in anger. “Yeah but I haven’t been dumped a hundred times by the same guy that I dumped a hundred times more. Maybe, just follow me on this you are not right for each other and it’s never going to work out.” I retorted back with a comment that I knew would anger her even more. So what I was hedging on being 17 without ever having a boyfriend? Most of the guys at our school weren’t as special as the girls that I went to school with made them out to be. Besides while she would be at home alone sad because of their one of many break ups tonight Indy and I were going to be sneaking out to a club, so who was on top now Wisteria? I thought to myself as I smiled smugly before retreating to my room not listening to a word she said.