Written by AA.PF
I had given her the name “Perfect Percy”, just like the character of Percy Weasley in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. And it fit her perfectly. She was that one girl in our class who topped in every exams, did all her homework, studies for all the tests, could rattle of the chemical properties of Alkenes like a parrot and had a crystal-clear view of her destiny.
To say that I was insecure around her was an understatement. I was also envious. And now that I come to think of it, this jealousy had aroused the monster in me. It had filled me up, making me hate myself and her, making me moody and frustrated. I had asked myself the same question for over 2 years. Why did she have to be so painfully perfect? Yup, she and I were best friends. As hard as it is to digest but we were.
I never remember any moment without her. It had always been me and her. After some time, someone else had joined with us. Jealousy, it was that monster that could destroy your relationships, crush your friendships and throw you into a deep, dark void of nothing. I would catch myself thinking nasty things about her and then loathing myself for it.
I was one selfish little monster. She deserved a good friend. Not someone toxic like me.I had these complicated feelings locked up, out of sight of others and tightly bottled up. Then one day, it all broke loose.
One year ago (Flashback)
It was a beautiful day but I wasn’t paying attention. Mum was driving me and my siblings to school. I was in the front seat trying to concentrate on the dreaded chemical equations. There was going to be a class test and I was prepared for it (sort of). But, I knew who was going to get the perfect ‘full’ marks.
Everyone was trying hard to do last-minute cramming. The class test was going to be in the first lesson. Only ten minutes left until I meet my doom. I thought grimly.
“How is your preparation?” Faika, my best friend (Perfect Percy) asked.
I gave her a really small smile, “Alright, I guess. I would breathe freely after it is over.”
“Same here.” She agreed.
“How is your preparation?” I asked her, already knowing the answer.
“Not good.” She said. I gaped at her, but thankfully she didn’t notice. She was looking at her watch. Deep down, I felt happy. For once she wasn’t Perfect Percy. She was just like us. Like me. I felt guilty.
I could hear the bell ringing. Here we go!
“Alright class, here are your class tests.” The teacher called out. I could literally hear the happiness being sucked out of the room at that announcement.
“Leena Ashraf. 15/20!” Ok, alright. Okay marks. That’s good, isn’t it? I thought.
“Faika Ali. 20/20!” WAIT WHAT?! But Faika had said she hadn’t prepared?! Perfect Percy!
All kinds of thoughts raged through my head.
“Did you hear that Leena? I got full marks. I wasn’t expecting that.” Faika was ecstatic. She was happy, “How much marks did you got?”
“15/20”, I told her gloomily, packing up my things. It was going to be home-time soon.
Faika stopped celebrating. I could see her hesitating.
The bell rang and I slung my backpack over my shoulders.
“Leena, I am sorry. Look, we can go over your mistakes and try to correct them, okay?”
“No, thank you. Mum will be waiting for me at the gate. I have to go. Good-bye.” I knew I was giving her the cold shoulder and that I was an idiot to throw aside her offer but I was mad at her. I knew it was wrong. It was just a lame excuse. But I knew I had to make it right. Faika didn’t deserve the cold shoulder.
“What is wrong with you? You seem a little off.” Mum asked.
“Nothing.” I said shortly. As the wave of anger had passed, I felt guilty.
“Want to talk about it?” Mum asked.
“No…..Wait…Yes. Mum we had a test today and Faika told me her preparation was not good. But then we got our tests back, checked and marked. And guess what, she got full marks. Why does she have to be so perfect? I am so mad at her. I mean, she lied to me. Her preparation was good. She knew I was horrible at Chemistry so she told me her preparation was not good, to make me feel better. And guess what? I felt so satisfied that for once Faika was like a human. And now I hate myself for it.” I ranted.
Mum put on her thinking-face.
“Honey, nobody is perfect. I have told you that. Maybe she too goes through problems that you are not aware of. And why are you mad at her? It isn’t her fault, right. And she wasn’t lying to you?”
“Why do you say that?” I asked glumly.
“She may have prepared the test but not as intensively as she wanted. She is a perfectionist. She strives for the best in everything she does. That is why she wanted to prepare the topic more intensively but she couldn’t and so in her eyes, her test preparation was not good. But the school administration makes easy tests so she got full marks anyways. I know this because I was like that when I was of your age. You should say sorry to her and maybe take up her offer of helping you as you first told me as you came out of that gate. Alright?”
I looked at her and a deep rush of affection swelled in me.
“Alright. Thanks Mum.”
“Anytime.” She smiled and patted my head.
“I don’t know what I would do without you?” I sighed.
“Now let’s stop thinking black thoughts. I will give you an ice-cream. Just don’t tell your brother and sister that.” Mum said.
“Okay. Thanks again.”
Mum smiled at me.
Today was the day. I was apologizing to Faika. I was giving myself a pep talk quietly.
You can do it Leena. No big deal. You can do it.
With these encouraging words, I marched into my class and there she was.
“Hi Faika. How are you?” I asked cheerfully.
“I am good. How was the weekend?” She asked as she hugged me.
“Awesome. Yours?” I said.
“It was alright. It was boring most of the time. How do you spend your weekends by the way? You are so positive. I don’t think there is any bad weekend in your life, is there?” She said.
Mum was right. She wasn’t all that perfect.
“Yup, you are right. I just like to look at the bright side of things, unlike you.” She smiled.
“Oh, you.” Faika said giggling.
“Hey listen, I wanted to apologize for giving you the cold shoulder that day. I just got mad, I guess. I mean, you told me your preparation was not good and you got full score anyways. I am sorry.” I said.
“It is alright. I kind of know how you felt. Like you had been betrayed, right?”
“Sort of.” I smiled and then did the unthinkable. I confessed about my feelings.
“The truth is, I have always felt jealous how you achieve perfect marks and do every-thing perfectly. Whenever you achieve something, I had that jealousy feeling which prevented me to be truly happy for you. I am really sorry. I promise to be a good friend you deserve. By the way, will you help me with Chemistry?” I said.
For a minute Faika seemed astonished. Then she smiled.
“Oh Leena, I didn’t knew you felt that way. I totally understand. And I will surely help you in Chemistry. Don’t you worry about that?”
“Thanks Faika.” I smiled and hugged her.
“What are friends for?!” She said and laughed, hugging me back.
That day I became a changed person. I became happy for her in everything she did and she did the same for me. I flushed out my poisonous toxins that were in my personality before. No, I did not become perfect; I just polished and tweaked myself. And I am happy to say I am not Perfect Percy because I am a mortal and I have my flaws. I am proud to be myself!