In response to the cue art Faces from Creativity Carnival :
It rankles! Yes it does. Maria sits mute at the dinner table, her roiling thoughts consumed with jealousy and anger. Mama, cracks a joke that maybe a widower with a dozen children would fall hopelessly in love with her homeliness but it is a struggle to plaster a smile on her face. She knows the icy look in her eyes must be as cold as the Arctic but no one notices.
She can’t seem to help her unbidden thoughts and distorted feelings for Ella. Ella, her identical twin but there are no two people who are more different. Maria’s distorted feelings of animosity, envy and sadness have accrued over the years.
Even her name is prettier for pity’s sake – Maria thinks. They saddle me with a staid, homely, sensible name “Maria” and “Ella” gets to be called a fairytaley, princessy, frilly name.
Ella the glitzy, charming one. The one that drew the boys like mindless bees to her honeysuckle petals. The one who got all the accolades, yet didn’t exert herself much to earn them.
Mama keeps saying that Ella will go places; our ballerina tutus are the same, yet mine always managed to look crumpled and my flats had a hole in the toe. I made that hole! In rebellion too, she recalls in remembered pleasure. She hated the ballet lessons and all that pirouetting made her dizzy. “No spotlights for you, my young lady” auntie Anna would say. That sounded like doom to the young lady’s ears.
She loves to draw and paint, but no one seems to notice. They noticed easily how unruly her hair is, how her skirts are always overrun with watercolor and how her finger nails are eaten to jagged bits, from nervous energy.
Ella is always immaculate. No hair is ever out of place. Her bubbly energy takes up the entire air meant for both of them and sometimes Maria feels like the evil step-sister waiting for the Sword of Damocles to fall and swish Ella’s head off her shoulders.
Maria prays. Every moment, she tries. Trying to staunch the flow of ill-feeling by saturating them in heartfelt prayers, but those moments of peaceful thoughts did not last.
Today she feels so petty and angry as she watches Ella weave her sticky charm, yet again on a beau. Our budding romance is dead on arrival, Jeremy has just bitten the dust, she thinks.
Debating all the painful, slow ways to eliminate her sibling rival and shaking with an itchy, ugly desire to slap Ella’s face, Maria slowly rises from the dinner table and leaves for her room. No one notices.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha