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ugly-girlChantel Snyder, my local nemesis. She was one of the first children to speak to and interact with me. I remember like it was yesterday… only a day or two after I arrived in the village, she and her band of ruffians had been cruising the board walk on their bikes. They kept their distance, measuring me up from afar. Finally, leaving her minions stationed, probably for swift retreat or as some diversion, hoping I would remain fixed on the larger party, she approached deliberately and directly on that little, pink bike. Only feet from where I was standing, minding my own business, taking photos of the geography, she suddenly veered, tires screeching. “Hello,” I’m sure I offered. She gave me one hard look then screamed, “Ugly boy!” I recall distant laughter and this girl, her name unbeknownst to me, turning her head back and jutting her tongue out at me, as she rode back toward her chortling cohorts .      More recent encounters begin with side glances and restrained grins, then a stream of vicious barbs, all started by her, of course. “Ugly fat head!” – “Ha! I’ve seen gnomes with more prominent noses!”,  “Ears like a moose!” –  “I was never as short as you.”,  “Icky breath!” – “Insults from those with such an affinity for pastels weigh nothing!”, “Stingy!” – “Ha! You don’t even know what that means!” – “Means you don’t share!” – “Touche Chantel, touche.” Smiles are exchanged, and like two noble samurai on a single path, we part ways, silhouettes fading into the fog…only to surely meet again, in a similar and equally ridiculous competition.

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