“My father runs Palucci Brother’s Construction with his brother,” began Sandro Palucci from the front of my 10th grade Careers class. The night before, we had had to interview our parents about their jobs and create a short presentation from those interviews. So far there’d been three construction company owners and one bakery owner’s offspring in the class.
I glanced over my notes quickly for my impending presentation. Mine wouldn’t be like any previous presentation. I’d interviewed my mom. She was much more unique. She’s officially a “Skin Care Specialist,” which I thought was a cool title, because it kind of makes it sound like she’s a dermatologist. Of course, she’s not. She works retail. She sells super fancy cream at a super fancy department store. With an official sounding job position.
From the centre of my forehead, a juicy, bulging red pimple snickered at my notes as it throbbed. It taunted me, “if your mom’s a Skin Care Specialist, how come you have so many of us on your face?!”
“Leave her alone!” Squealed the gang of tiny blackheads splattered across my nose. “Acne is a medical condition! It happens to many 15 year olds!”
“But if she had half a brain,” the scab from the pimple I’d popped that morning piped in from my chin, “then she’d actually use her mom’s cream and take her mom’s advice about how to kill me humanely!”
I sighed. I wished my face would shut up. But they were right. All of them. That’s what my classmates would think, too. That I was a fraud. Maybe they’d even call me out. They’d think my mom was the worst Skin Care Specialist ever. Before I could even explain what it meant! Just by looking at my face, they would judge us. All of us.
“Alexis, you’re next,” announced my teacher.
Well, there was no way this was happening now. It’d be too humiliating. Doing a presentation on skin care would just highlight the disgusting state of my face. So I lied, “I didn’t do it.”
“Really?” The teacher glanced sceptically at the paper on my desk that was clearly organized in interview format. I quickly stuffed it in my binder and avoided eye contact. “Yeah, no. I didn’t do it.”
“That means you get a zero on this assignment.”
“I know,” I shrugged indifferently. But there was nothing I could do.