Hari was born to parents named Joseph and Mary. He was only six when he started calling himself Harry. It seemed right to match the western ring in his parents’ names. Though that was all he wished to identify with. There was little else that enticed him.
Harry was a good-looking boy, fair skin, brown eyes, black hair that curled at their own fancy. It was to his advantage that he looked nothing like his parents. And for that he expressed his thanks, praying a little louder and harder every night before bed.
The boy never openly spoke the truth. But his heart would often reach out to his mind, and both would concur that Joseph and Mary were downright ugly. The man was dark with eyes too close together. He had a crooked nose and his pointed chin curved away from his disproportionate face.
Mary’s features were quite the opposite. Her eyes were too far apart, though her nose was straight, it dipped into her mouth. And her front teeth protruded from her ever-parted lips. And her chin, sorry she didn’t have one owing to the strange shape of her face.
When people looked at Joseph, Mary, and Harry, the first thought was – are they even a family? There were hardly any physical signs to tie them together. And as Harry grew older and more handsome, he began to worry and stress, not wanting to be seen with his parents was his topmost priority.
Excuses are never simple, and the more Harry made, the more his parents saw through his charade. It finally led to a confrontation that ended with tears and hurtful words. Harry let loose all his restricted feelings. He told his parents that he was ashamed of the way they looked. It made him want to close his eyes and keep them shut forever.
Saddened by their son’s revelation, Joseph and Mary huddled together in a corner, consoling each other, drying their tears, whispering that Harry was their only child, and they ought to forgive him.
But Harry wasn’t looking for forgiveness, and three months later, he left home to attend his freshman year of college. And the good-looking boy was in for a surprise that was far from pleasant. Upon reaching campus, Harry was bewildered by all the beautiful faces. Each one was better than the next and there were so many to choose from. So he sat and stared for three straight hours. And when a few pretty girls noticed his unusual behavior, they chided him with words that were harder than a slap.
‘Keep your eyes to yourself, ugly, pig face!’
The horrified boy scrambled away in desperate search of a mirror. And when he looked at himself, he discovered he really wasn’t that handsome. Had he been fooling himself all these years? Was he only slightly better looking than his parents? The world around him had suddenly expanded, exposing him to a newer picture of beauty.
Harry called his parents later that evening and cried till he could hardly breathe. Joseph and Mary listened and said what only loving parents could.
‘Harry, dear son, don’t mind what others say. They are simply jealous of your good looks.’
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