Chapter Sixty-Seven: “Your face looks like a potato?”

Iggy was sitting on a secret and it was killing her. It was taking all of her willpower not to tell it to everybody she saw. Jacklyn and Melly, after admitting that they didn’t like Sybil, had made Iggy promise she wouldn’t say anything to any of their other friends about it. She got the impression that Jacklyn felt a little bad about it. Melly mostly just liked having secrets. That had been hellish in high school when she took to hoarding information, which she would only share with select people at select times. Eventually everybody found out whatever it was, but it went through an elaborate tier before it dispersed.

Of course, as soon as they’d told Iggy not to tell anyone, she’d told someone. She managed to wait two full weeks before she did, but she still told someone. She told Tallulah because, as Priscilla’s younger sister, she was still a bit of an outlier. Priscilla would only get angry about it since Sybil was technically her friend first. Tallulah was friends with all parties involved only through her sister so she was safest.

“Who the fuck doesn’t like Sybil?” Was Tallulah’s strong response when Iggy told her. Iggy had gone to the record store to harass her during her shift. She was standing across the front counter from where Tallulah was sitting next to Finch, her angry co-worker with the nose ring the shaved head.. He looked wholly unimpressed with their conversation, but then again, Iggy wasn’t actually sure he was capable of looking impressed with anything.

“Right?” Iggy returned, feeling validated. She had spent large portions of the last week trying to work out if she was perhaps crazy for liking Sybil when it seemed so obvious to Melly and Jacklyn that she was terrible.

“Did they say why they didn’t like her?” Tallulah demanded, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms over her chest, as if defying Iggy to come up with a plausible answer.

“They say she’s mean,” Iggy answered.

“We’re all mean,” Tallulah scoffed in return.

“Apparently that’s different,” Iggy shrugged.

“How is that different? This morning, Priscilla called me a useless ham and told me my face looks like a potato, all because she used some of my face soap  in the shower last night and it gave her hives,” Tallulah replied. “I don’t think Sybil would ever tell me my face looks like a potato.”

Iggy wasn’t actually sure that was true, but the most important part was that she wouldn’t mean it in an unkind way. Granted, it was difficult to explain to someone how saying their face was potato-like hadn’t actually been meant unkindly. Upon further reflection, she assumed it was for scenarios like that that Melly and Jacklyn had decided they didn’t like Sybil.

“Your face looks like a potato?” Finch asked, finally joining the conversation. He turned in his seat to get a better look at Tallulah’s face, presumably to check how much it actually resembled a root vegetable.

“Yeah, but she and I basically look exactly the same so her face also looks like a potato,” Tallulah shrugged, unbothered. Finch continued to examine her face. Iggy felt it best to move on.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said. “I’m not supposed to say anything about it to anyone. Oh, don’t tell anyone by the way.”

Tallulah rolled her eyes.

“Girls are weird,” Finch cut in again. “This shit would never happen with me and my friends.”

Iggy got the impression that it would never happen because his friends were probably too afraid of him to confront him in any way. She certainly wasn’t about to argue with him. He looked like the kind of person who kicked people in the face. She had a nice face and she relied on it to get tips at the coffee shop. She certainly wasn’t going to get any tips from her actual job performance, which was severely lacking because she didn’t give a shit about her job in the slightest.

“If I had a problem with one of my buddies, I would just tell him,” Finch continued. “None of this talking about it behind everybody’s back bullshit.”

“Um, excuse me, but I think you’ve painted us all with a pretty broad brush there, pal,” Tallulah rounded on him in a moment of either valiant bravery or incredible stupidity. “I literally just told you that my sister called me a useless ham because I pissed her off. There was no talking behind anybody’s back.”

Iggy wasn’t sure calling someone a useless ham was the same as dealing with conflict in a mature and reasonable way. Then again, she didn’t really think any of them were either mature or reasonable, least of all Melly and Jacklyn, who now apparently had multiple frenemies, like a middle schooler or Paris Hilton circa 2004.

Regardless, she eventually decided that the way to handle it was to ignore it entirely and try to pretend that she had never been told about any of it. It wouldn’t do anybody any good to bring it up, not to the parties involved, and least of all to Priscilla, who might actually maim someone if she ever found out. But even though she had made this resolution, she kept getting dragged back into the fold by Melly, who was apparently delighted to have people to talk to about her seemingly limitless dislike of Sybil and everything about her. Iggy was quickly beginning to understand why her other friends resented her for being late to all of Melly’s parties; she could only imagine how many times a day Melly brought that up to anyone who would listen if the way she relentlessly texted, emailed, and phoned Iggy about Sybil was anything to go by.

By the time a month had passed, Iggy was well on her way to her breaking point. Melly had the memory of an elephant and the ability to hold a grudge beyond anything Iggy had ever experienced in another human being. And that was including herself, who had hated Miles on principal of basically nothing for a literal decade. She couldn’t take it anymore. Not only was it eating up a lot of her free time, but she, unlike Melly, actually liked Sybil and listening to someone repeatedly attack her was exhausting, frustrating, and angering. She began to feel more and more like Finch had been right all along and that girls were in fact weird.

“I don’t understand,” Miles said after Iggy had tried to explain the situation one night when Melly had interrupted their dinner with yet another long and horrible phone call about Sybil’s many flaws. “Does she ever see Sybil? I think I’ve met her a grand total of one time. Does she literally only ever come around when I’m not there?”

It wasn’t really the point Iggy had been trying to get at.

“We all don’t hang out that often,” she answered dismissively. “But Melly and Jacklyn hate her apparently.”

“They don’t spend any time with her,” Miles said like it was his entire point. Iggy frowned at him.

“Right.”

“So who the fuck cares?” Miles continued. “So what if she’s mean and sarcastic? They hardly have to see her. Besides, they’re both friends with Priscilla and she’s alarmingly unkind. She once told me to stop breathing because the sound of me exhaling was annoying her. And then when I pointed out that I would die if I stopped breathing, all she said was ‘yes’.”

It seemed like something Priscilla would say.

A week later, Iggy made a terrible mistake and accidentally told Sybil that Melly and Jacklyn didn’t like her. They were on their way home from dinner with Tallulah, Priscilla, Jemima, and Bernie. Iggy and Sybil had ended up sitting next to each other on the bus and Iggy began to complain about Melly and how she had texted her eighteen times throughout dinner. She showed Sybil her phone as proof, forgetting that Sybil would be able to read the messages. The final text had read, “Anyway Jacklyn agrees that Sybil sucks”. It was regrettably direct. She immediately locked her phone, like that would turn back time. She looked at Sybil tentatively, bracing herself for the fallout. To her surprise, Sybil didn’t look the least bit bothered. For one glorious moment, Iggy thought Sybil hadn’t seen.

“So she’s complaining to you about me,” Sybil said after a moment, crushing all of Iggy’s hope in one fell swoop. “That seems awfully ironic.”

Iggy would’ve been very upset if she’d learned that two of the people in her friend circle didn’t like her. Maybe Sybil was putting on a brave face. Maybe she was better at hiding her emotions than Iggy. That was very possible. Sybil was basically emotionless.

“I’m really sorry you had to find out like that,” Iggy rushed to lend comfort. “No one else feels like that obviously. I think she’s just stressed. I don’t know. It’s not serious. I’m really sorry.”

Sybil laughed.

“You look like you’re seconds away from a stroke,” she told Iggy. “I don’t give a shit if Melly and Jacklyn don’t like me.”

“Really?” Iggy asked. It felt like a trick.

“I don’t like either of them,” Sybil returned. “Jacklyn is a grown woman with a real life frenemy and Melly is the single most aggravating woman I’ve ever known.”

To be fair to both Jacklyn and Melly, they weren’t very flattering things Sybil had said about them. On the other hand, Iggy was immensely relieved that she hadn’t been responsible for emotionally crushing Sybil. And at the same time, she couldn’t help but wonder if Sybil had ever met Melly’s friend Danielle because she would definitely take Melly’s place as the most aggravating woman Sybil had ever met.

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