Friday, November 12, 2021

Microstory 1755: A Man Named Monoceros

Yes, Monoceros is my real name. Yes, it’s—more or less—the same as a unicorn, which is why that’s my twin sister’s name. No, my parents were not on drugs when they had us. No, I’ve never thought about changing it, and neither has my sister. It’s not even the most interesting thing about us, but it is related. Something went wrong while we were developing in the womb, which made both of us come out with slight protrusions on our heads, reminiscent of a one-horned animal. This protrusion lessened in my sister over time, which is kind of a ripoff, because hers is already a pretty name that people don’t make fun of very much. Mine is still here. In fact, I would say it’s larger, but my parents disagree, and say that my whole head is obviously just larger than it was when I was a baby. I’ve tried to wear an afro to cover it up, but that doesn’t look great on me, and kids would just make fun of that instead. The teasing and bullying got to be so bad that we left the area completely. The same people who gave us these unusual names actually packed everything up, and moved us across state lines just so I could start over with a new strategy. I can’t figure them out either. Perhaps they secretly regret giving us such insensitive names, and have since tried to become better people. This time, they spoke with the principal before the start of my sophomore year, and told her what my situation was. Not only did she have the advantage of being able to get ahead of the bullying before it ever happened, she proved herself to be kinder, and better equipped to handle someone like me. My sister was a little in love with her because of how good she was to me, but don’t worry. This isn’t a sad or disturbing story. I might even call it uplifting.

So what did I do to keep anyone from finding out what my head looked like? I wore a hat, and I claimed it was for religious purposes. My sister wore a variation of the same design to sell the lie. All of the faculty and staff were told this as well so that only the principal knew the whole truth. People get really skittish about religion, so they didn’t question me. Occasionally, a substitute teacher would take their opportunity to yell at me for it, but there was always at least one student in the class who defended me, and called them a bigot. That usually shut them down right quick. Even with those heroes, the kids at my new high school were generally about as mean to each other as they are anywhere. Some of them teased me anyway, because my name was still Monoceros, but a lot of them thought it sounded badass, so it evened out. One girl in particular said she liked it. On my first day, before everyone had learned about my fake religious hat, she called out a group of boys who were mocking me. She didn’t know anything about me, but she instantly showed compassion, and I think I fell in love in that very moment. She was so popular, but for all the right reasons, because she was nice, so people left me alone if they were worried about displeasing her. I know, this story sounds familiar. The awkward kid falls for the hottest girl in school, and they end up together, because they end up having a lot in common. Well, that’s not what happened. We went out on what turned out to be a platonic date, and I professed my feelings. She let me down easy, and told me that she just wanted to be friends. As you can see, we’ve stayed close all these years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s married now, and so am I. She was the one who convinced me to take off my hat forever, and be confident in myself—to be confident as myself. So what about you? How do you two know each other?

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