Hey guys :) Just before we start, I want you all to know that face-blindness is in fact, a real thing. I got the idea for this from a PBS 60-Minute program. The scientific term for this disorder is prosopagnosia, and if you want to learn more about it, feel free to look it up.
Song I think you will enjoy: i hate u, i love u by gnash ft. Olivia O'Brien (as you can tell by the title lol)
There isn't a single freckle on your straight nose.
You have eyes the color of emeralds and hair as bronzy as copper.
You have broad shoulders and a lean figure, but you hunch your shoulders whenever you're around someone that's vertically challenged. You dress in clothes that probably sum up to the amount of money I have stashed away for college. You're social, you're liked. You're sporty, you're funny. You're the perfect representation of the high-school-jock stereotype.
You don't know I exist, but that doesn't matter, does it? It's okay, I understand. You're the entire world to one person, but that one person is no one to you. That's perfectly logical. I get it. I'm not complaining, I hate you anyways. You make me want to vomit in my mouth – not because of your weirdass lopsided grin, not because of those sleek blue sneakers that probably cost more than my entire outfit – because of what you've done. What you've done to the people around me, what you'll probably do to me.
Do you know the worst part, though? Actually, that's a dumb question; you probably don't even know my name. The thing is, you're the only face I remember. You're the only person who has a face to their name. You see, that's my problem – I know people's names, but not their faces.
Crazy. So ludicrous, it's funny.
Go on, laugh all you want. I can't even physically remember the face of my own mother, but I can tell her apart from the others because she's been forced to braid her hair intricately and wear blue every single day … for the rest of her years. But that's life. If she wants me to know who she is, that's what she must do.
You have it easy. You don't have to keep your hair the same every day or wear the same color for me to know who you are. With one glance, I have a name for your face. You have an identity. Lucky, lucky you.
Poor, poor, me.
Out of all people, why you? Why must I only know the face of you? It's not like we grew up around each other – the day we first met, in seventh grade, we hated each other's guts. Actually, I hated your guts. I don't think you even knew I had guts, because you probably didn't know that I existed.
Want to hear something even worse? Yes, you do. I don't care if you don't know who I am, I don't care if we're strangers. Here's the thing:
Our lives are going to change forever.
. . .
It's hard making friends in Forks, Washington, when you have a 'mental disorder'.
I'm not completely sure if it's 'mental' or if it's a 'disorder', but that's what the kids around me seem to think. And I guess that's what I'm supposed to think, too.
Jessica Stanley is my best friend, and my Only Friend. She says we have many memories together, and I remember the memories, but not her in them. Usually, if she's having one of her déjà vu moments, she'll have to recount every single detail of the time we had together in order for me to know it was her that I was with – it was her that I ice skated with first, it was her who I celebrated my fifth birthday with. I don't even know why I bother questioning if it was someone else, because she's the only peer I have. I've had others, but they've come and gone. I'm not surprised – being acquainted with me is a hassle. I will walk past you in the hallways, because you're face does not click to a name in my brain. I will try to turn you away when you're on my doorstep, because I'll forget who you are. I won't even go to your house, because even though I know where you live, I don't completely trust that it's you inside.
Jessica has been with me through the thick and thin. She's the only one who's stuck by my side, even though it puts her social status in jeopardy. It bothers her, I can see it – the way she nervously bats her eyes around me, sneaking glances to see if anyone's watching us; the way she sometimes cuts our conversations short and runs off if she catches someone staring. But it's okay. She is my Only Friend, and if this is how Only Friends usually act … then so be it; I can suck it up.
Sometimes I wish you had that problem. No, not the whole forgetting-faces-thing, but the Friend Problem. The problem where you're not always surrounded by a group of people, the problem where you're not practically worshipped in this school. It'll never happen, but hey – a girl can dream.
I see you sometimes when I walk down the hall – leaning against the lockers, laughing, always laughing. Or smiling that weird, crooked smile of yours. To be honest, under that façade of confidence and charisma, I think you're wimpy. I think you're insecure, and I think you're clumsy. I wish I could see my suspicions in live action, but that, like the Friend Problem, will probably never happen – because you're Edward Cullen.
Edward Masen Cullen, heartthrob of probably every single girl in this school – except for me and Jessica. Actually, Jessica might still be a teensy-weensy bit in love with you, even after The Incident. But she is my Only Friend, and if that's the way how Only Friends act … then so be it; I can suck it up.
I can pretend to ignore the glances she always sneaks at you, the hasty reapply of lip gloss whenever you're in a ten-foot radius. I can pretend to not see her bat her eyes in your direction – even if your back is towards her – and I can even pretend to not see her stare at pictures of you for ten minutes straight … with a bit of drool at the corner of her lips.
I'm trying, Edward. I'm trying to forget you. I'm trying to trade your face with someone important, like my freaking mom. Or the freaking president. Even Jacob Black would be better than you – that's right, I said it. Or wrote it, whatever. Whiny, skinny, lanky Jacob who has probably not even gone through puberty yet (even though we're juniors this year) is better than you. And believe it or not, I'm thinking Satan comes pretty close, too.
I hope this accurately describes our poisonous relationship and our hatred for each other. Rather, my hatred for you and the rest of your R.A.D. (Really Ass-hole-y Dick-y) gang.
But, as I said … sadly, our lives are going to take a turn. Believe me, it's for the worst.
. . .
Mr. Banner still hasn't fully caught on with my Problem, and I walked into class on the first day of my junior year with sweaty hands and shaking legs. Every day is basically the first day for me. I'll meet you, then I'll forget you. It's a cycle I'll never get out of. Terrific!
As I was saying, Mr. Banner isn't the brightest teacher in Forks High School. He waves at me kindly as I enter his class, cooing about how he missed me over the summer and that he couldn't wait for another year with me. All the teachers know about my Problem, but they're still complete idiots when it comes to confronting it. Mr. Banner thinks the key to interacting with me is to treat me like some sort of fluffy cute animal, which is far from what I am. He thinks, that by holding out his hand and saying welcome back, he expects me to shake it. To shake a stranger's hand. Yeah, sorry, I forgot to bring my hand sanitizer.
So I just stare at his hand, then back to his face, then back to his outstretched palm.
He winces a little, but everyone knows why I'm his favorite – I'm the only student in our diverse pool of three-hundred-fifty-seven who actually listens to him. It's only because he's a stranger to me, so I have to catch on to his every word. Also, academics don't have faces, which make them far easier to decode.
"Mr. Banner, pleasure to meet you." He smiles a little, and this time, I take his hand. I return his shaky smile and go to the back of the classroom, finding myself an empty table. There, I slide into the seat closest to the window, pull out a crisp new spiral, and several mechanical pencils.
I open my new notebook to doodle, waiting for class to start. I'm always one of the first inside, mostly because I want to get the act of meeting someone new over with. It's tiring, having to listen to 'strangers' reintroduce themselves every day. At least it's not that hard to tune out the chatter around me as I give my sketched flower petals. It's easy to imagine that I'm anywhere else but here.
The bell finally rings, a piercing, cow-bell-like sound. Mr. Banner closes the door to the classroom and paces to the front, clasping his hands in front of him and smiling cheerily at us. I wonder how many smiles for how many first-days he's had to do. It must be a lot. And I thought I had a hard life.
"Welcome to Biology. I'm your teacher, Mr. Banner. First things first, attendance." As if anyone would miss the first day. Smirking, I watch as he picks up a clipboard from his desk and straightens the glasses on his nose. Looking up, he calls out, "Rebecca?" 'Rebecca' raises her hand and Mr. Banner smiles in her direction in greeting. "Tyler?" he continues.
It goes on that way, each person saying their name, and Mr. Banner doing some of greeting, nodding his head, smiling, waving. The only person I know in this class room by heart is – you guessed it – Edward, who's towards the front, several tables away from me. He's just told one of his followers some joke and the guy next to him is dying. Literally. He's laughing so hard that I think he's going to choke to death.
Mr. Banner jolts me away from my focus. "Bella?" He calls out, his eyes gaining a new glimmer. He straightens and doesn't even have to look around for me; his gaze finds me immediately. I offer him a tentative smile (which probably looked like a grimace), and he eagerly smiles back. "Hello, Bella." He says cheerfully. "Hi," I say, not surprised as to his effort to single me out. What can I say? Defective children get special treatment.
The whole class turns to look at me, only because he's the first person he's actually spoken to in front of everyone. There are murmurs, judgmental gazes, and narrowed eyes. Teacher's pet, they all seem to scream. Whatever. My grades are going towards college, not for some bratty teen's opinion on me.
I'm the last person on the list, so, clearing his throat, Mr. Banner draws the class's attention away from me (thankfully). He turns and walks over to one of the shelves nailed into the wall at the front of the room and says, "Bella, if you would please help me." More murmuring. I want to die. Calling me out in front of everyone is one thing, making me help him? Please, dig my grave now.
But who am I to disobey a teacher? Obediently, I stand and stalk towards the center of the room, head down. I don't want to look like I want this anymore than the class does. Okay, so maybe people's opinions bother me a little bit. But just a little. I could wear my pajamas to school and not give two crap's about what people thought of me. Hey, at least I would be comfy.
Mr. Banner gives me a stack of text books. "When I read a person's name and number, please give them the correct textbook. You can find the number here," he takes a book and opens the cover, pointing to a 3 written in Sharpie on the top left corner. "Questions?"
I shake my head, and he beams, clapping me on the back. "That's my girl," he says proudly. Yet, all I'm doing is handing out books.
Mr. Banner takes his clip board again. "Rebecca?" Then, to me: "Number one."
I open the first book on the stack, which just happens to be number one. I have a suspicion that all the books are in order, but I decide to double check just in case. I hand Rebecca her book as she comes up and she thanks me, though the gratitude doesn't reach her eyes.
I'm rapidly trying to memorize people's faces as they walk up to me, but it's hard – most of the class has brown hair, only one is a blonde. They all dress similarly, and all the girls have their long hair down. I wish all of them were Edward Cullens. Actually, scratch that – the entire class would be filled with idiots.
"Edward," Mr. Banner calls, making me immediately glance at him. "Number four," he mutters to me, and hastily, I open the top book on the stack. Lucky me! It's not number four. In fact, I find the number 13 scrawled on the top left.
As Edward's walking up to retrieve his books, I panic, flipping through every one, vainly trying to find a 4 on the top left. No such luck; it seems that every single book I open, it's anything but number four. It's come to the point where Edward's opposite Mr. Banner's desk, staring at the top of my head as I bend down to look for the book. He's silent as I frantically flip through them, desperately trying to find the right book to get him away from me.
And suddenly – there it is. Number four. I deserve an award for this. Proudly, I hand him the book, wincing as our fingers brush. "That was a breeze," he says, and I stiffen. At least I found your book, crapface, I think, and I look up, into those green eyes, and I want to slap him. It occurs to me that he might be joking, but I just spent five minutes trying to find it, and, unlike the others, he couldn't just say the usual thank you?
"Whatever," I mutter, turning away from him, expectantly waiting for Mr. Banner to call out the next name. Edward's eyebrows arch and I can feel his stare, laser-hot, but then he turns and sits down with the tiniest shrug of his shoulders. I can now feel the entire class staring me down, shocked. Did Bella Swan just diss Edward Cullen? Yes, she did. And she doesn't regret one moment.
The rest of the book-giving goes on normally, but I notice that the rest of the thank you's I receive are clipped and short. If people are going to get agitated over me saying one word to Cullen, so be it. I'll be waving at you from Harvard, assholes.
. . .
"Bella, what the hell?"
I turn as a brown haired girl runs up to me, clutching a brown paper Chipotle bag, knuckles white. I stare at her, and she sighs. "Jessica Stanley. Sledding."
Sledding is our code word for me knowing it's her. We went to Colorado once for spring break and had a pretty good time on the snowy slopes, but that was before Jessica bought her first make up set. Besides, we have a code word for a reason; plenty of people have gone up to me, pretending to be Jessica, only say the nastiest things to my face. I've learned from those incidents; if a whole table roars with laughter, then it's not Jessica.
"Oh, hey Jess," I say, pulling out my lunch bag and closing my locker door. "What's the problem?"
She looks at me like I'm crazy. "Um, hello? It looked like you were about to murder Edward in Biology today!" She waves her Chipotle bag, trying to emphasize her point, but all I can think about is the contents of her bowl spilling everywhere. And her chips getting crushed.
We walk to our usual lunch table, Jessica still fuming beside me. "I just want to know why, Bella," she continues, growing angrier by the second. "Edward hasn't done anything to you!"
"What, and he hasn't to you?" I shoot back, sitting across from her. She's momentarily taken aback, but it doesn't last long. "We were freshman," she seethes. I shrug. "If I were you, I wouldn't let him off the hook so easily." I open my bag and pull out my daily Nutella sandwich and apple sauce.
"Well, thank God you aren't me!" Jessica retorts. "You can't even breathe the same air as him!" She viciously pulls open her bag, fishing out her bowl, which, surprisingly, hasn't spilled all over the place. I shrug, taking a bite of my sandwich. "I don't tolerate douche bags."
Jessica let's out a frustrated noise. "Bella, you haven't even talked." I open my mouth to reply, but Jessica won't have it. "Just think about it from my standpoint in this situation. Edward is the love of my life! And I'm your only" – she coughs – "best friend. And now he thinks you want to kill him in his sleep, and the fact that I'm your friend makes me off limits!"
I'm not even bothered by Jessica's angry speech. I'm used to moments like this, moments where she rants – she can go on for hours.
"Yeah, well, you already dated. Move on already," I say, spooning some apple sauce into my mouth.
"Bella, the term getting back together exists."
I study her critically. "Haven't you wondered if Edward likes Rosalie?"
Jessica freezes. Then, recovering, she gets even angrier. "Rosalie?" she barks. "Rosalie Hale?" I nod, not knowing what Rosalie looks like but also knowing that her name is the topic of the gossip of about every single student in Forks. I've heard whispers about her family, her body, where all her money comes from. Adventures she's had, islands named after her. Honestly, Rosalie's probably more popular than the president in our town.
Jess whips around and zeroes in on 'Rosalie'. I follow her gaze.
Rosalie Hale is sitting right next to Edward, and her hands are all over him. On his shoulder, in his hair. Edward doesn't seem to be bothered by it, but I don't blame him; Rosalie's stunning. Strawberry blonde curls, bright blue eyes, flawless skin. Teenage boys would kill for a girlfriend like her. But, lucky for Edward, his genetics paved the way for the perfect girl without a fight.
Jessica's face goes white. Even she knows insurmountable competition when she sees one. I turn back to my meal, but she stares at Rosalie a little longer, transfixed. Again, Jessica's not to blame – the fact is, Rosalie Hale is a model.
Slowly, Jess turns back to me, looking at her Chipotle. She solemnly spoons a bit of rice and sticks it into her mouth, but her eyes are dead. I study her, waiting for a hint of rebellion. I don't have to wait long, because a spark immediately makes its way into Jess's eyes.
"Edward doesn't date sluts," she says angrily, stabbing her spoon into her bowl again. "Are you looking at the shirt Rosalie is wearing?! Her neckline is so deep, it might as well be a jacket!" And, all too soon, Jess's rant picks up again, and slowly, she dissects Rosalie bit by bit, and burns every single piece. It's funny, because Jess is the one in the mini skirt and heels. However, since she's my only friend, I listen to her rush of words, adding in the right oohs and ahhs at the correct moments, nod my head every ten seconds, and stuff my face with apple sauce and Nutella sandwich so I don't have to contribute to her rage.
No pain, no gain.
. . .
I park my truck in front of the Clearwater Diner and head inside. I enter through the back entrance, and a woman is already there, checking on all the cooks and rattling off orders. She spots me and grins, coming over to me and wrapping me up in her strong brown arms. To put it quite simply, she smells like food.
"Bella, it's always a joy to see you," she murmurs, pulling back to study me. She does this every day and never gets tired of it. Neither do I.
I smile back at her, pulling my apron and cap from the rack. "Busy day?" I ask, pulling on the black hat and tying the strings of the apron behind me. Her brown eyes twinkle. "Oh, you know how it is. Everyone loves our shrimp gumbo." I laugh, because it's true. The entire town flocks to the diner to get a taste of it at least once a week.
I promise to catch up with Sue later and walk out of the kitchen, picking up my note pad and pen on the way. I've been waitressing for Sue since freshman year. I know this place and job like the back of my hand. Sue likes the best customer service, and she trusts me whole heartedly, so I'm the only person she has employed as a waitress. I don't know if that's smart on her half, because I don't remember any of the people when they remember me, but the entire town knows about my disorder. And, what did I say? Defected children get special treatment. Employing a face-blind person earns you even more tips. I know Sue didn't hire me because of that reason, but it's an added bonus.
I'm feeling quite happy as I guide our first customer of the night to a booth; waitressing always puts be in a good mood. The smell of food cooking and the bright smiles of people looking at the menu … priceless. I belong here.
I return to my post at the door, waiting for customers. It's 5 pm, so I'm not expecting a sudden rush of people. However, I'm not expecting a beautiful blonde bombshell to be entering the diner. What is this model doing here? At The Clearwaters? A girl like her would laugh off the idea of dining here, she should be at some fancy 5-star restaurant sipping champagne.
But the reasoning suddenly becomes very clear – she's followed inside by the one and only, Edward Cullen.
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