Mary was your average teenager. She had average looks, average intelligence, and average personality. There was nothing about Mary that seemed to stand out to anyone other then her parents. Mary spent her childhood and now high school career under the radar. To many, Mary wasn’t even near the radar.
Mary was OK with her status, for the most part. In her school and community, to go unnoticed was a good thing. There seemed to be two classes: the perfect and the unwanted. There was the underground class of the invisibles. Mary, fortunately, was in that group. The perfects were the rich, talented, over-achievers who knew what they wanted, knew how to get it and nothing ever stopped them. The Unwanteds were often the poor, marginalized, under-achievers. They were often viewed as the dirt on the feet of the Perfects. Something they stepped on, on their way to success. It was rare that the two ever mixed and even more rare when they switched places. Being in the unclassifiable class wasn’t an issue for Mary and she planned to keep it that way. That was until her invisibleness became not so invisible.
It all started the day that Mark Everstein moved into their classified town. He was an instant Perfect but you’d never hear him call himself that. Mark’s dad had been a New York City Defense Attorney but after a high profile case ended badly, Mark’s dad decided it was time to move his family to a less “high profile” town. Little did he know that Lawrence, PA was a high profile community living in a low profile city.
Mark had an eye for the unnoticed. The obvious and the cliché were like bright colors to a colorblind man. He saw them but didn’t see what others saw. What Mark did see was the blacks and whites and especially the grays. He went out of his way to figure out what made them tick, what put them on the level they were at. He found Mary pretty quickly. To him, she was the brightest start.
The day they first met was forever stuck in Mary’s memory. It would take her a while to figure out if this had become a good memory or a bad one.
Payton Pepperpot has to be the prettiest girl in school. But the way she looks at the Unwanteds makes her look so ugly. Sometimes I think I see the scales appear on her face. Mary thought to herself, just as Payton “accidentally” bumped into Denise Dunder, the most reviled Unwanted in the whole school. Denise was the daughter of Douglas Dunder, the school janitor and Penelope Dunder, former beauty queen turned hotel maid. Mrs. Dunder had, in her day, been a Perfect but was dethroned the day she married Douglas.
“Oh excuse me,” said Payton in her best fake sympathetic voice. “I didn’t see you there.” Payton didn’t even bother looking Denise in the eyes as she stepped over her splayed books, barely missing her hand. As Payton walked away from the wreckage, she whispered “Loser” just loud enough so Denise could hear it.
Man, can anyone be more evil? Mary thought to herself
“Yes, they can be but I wouldn’t look for them if I were you,” someone said from behind Mary. Confused she turned around to see one of the nicest looking guys looking straight at her.
“Excuse me?” Mary said, confused and a little afraid. Surely I didn’t say that out loud.
Mark smiled at her. “Yes, some can be more evil then Payton Pepperpot.”
Shaking her head, Mary just stared at Mark, her confusion increasing.
“Oh I am sorry I didn’t realize I said that out loud. I am sorry if I offended you.” Mary said as she started to walk past Mark.
Stepping to the side, making it hard for Mary to escape, he whispered in her ear. “You didn’t say it out loud. And, I am far from offended. She’s truly awful.” Mark winked at her and began to walk away, leaving Mary there, staring at him. She didn’t realize how long she had been staring until another Perfect pointed out her flaw mistake.
“Really, like he’s going to notice you. You can stare all you want.” Patty Pendergraft said to Mary as she walked past. Mary realized then that she had been staring. Blushing, she ducked her head down and walked straight to her next class.
He couldn’t have heard me. That’s impossible. Maybe I am dreaming. Maybe I will wake up soon. WAKE UP! WAKE UP! “WAKE UP!” Mary realized this time her thoughts did turn into reality as she yelled down the hallway. Eyes turned on her. Some looking disgusted, other confused and the rest looked scared for her. Up until that moment she had been invisible. Becoming an unwanted was the last thing she wanted.