Colgate "Soap" O'Leary. District Nine. Nov 18, 2011 2:51:07 GMT -5
Post by very grim cheddar cheese on Nov 18, 2011 2:51:07 GMT -5
Colgate O'Leary. Male. District Nine. Nineteen.
They call me Soap because they say I need it.
On any given day, I'll be insulted about fourteen times, give or take a few. I started counting once I stopped letting everything bother me, and let me tell you, it's actually quite the amusing thing to do while I'm in working. I don't quite understand why they all target me on my hygiene, when they're just as dirty as I am after they work hours and hours in the factories. Maybe my brown hair is longer and greasier, my teeth yellower, my underarms a tad smellier. I can't help it, you know. My family can't afford all the things that might make me clean, and I'm sure not going to make myself presentable just to be something I'm not.
They call me Ugly, too. I prefer Soap because it reminds me of my work, and of the things I am doing to help my family that they don't understand. My eyes are too big, too plain. My nose pokes out so far from my face that when you look at me from the side it's about all you can see. Some of my teeth poke out at odd angles because they never grew in right. It's not like I have all the fancy Capitol instruments to straighten them out, so I just leave them like that. Don't let it bother me. I keep on smiling, people keep calling me out on being ugly. They tell me too that I shouldn't smile.
I just smile more because that's funny. We're in the Districts, we work in factories and hardly make any money at all. We should have nothing to smile about, and yet when I do it there's something wrong. Maybe they just don't understand cheerfulness. I guess I'm doing something good for the world, in a way. I thought about it the other day. I smile more, they laugh at me for being horribly, terribly ugly, and they don't realize that they're smiling too.
It's kinda twisted, but you know. Everything is nowadays, so what can I do?
When I was younger, I used to feel bad about the constant teasing. I had a bit of pride in myself. I was taller than most of the other boys, and I still am. Now they also call me a giant. Something around 6'7", I'm not sure. I haven't checked in a while, but I guess I've stopped growing. I just wish I could gain some weight. We don't own a scale, but I had a friend once who did. I forget what the number was, but when I look at myself in the mirror I see thin arms, nonexistent little muscles, maybe, and legs as long and thin as a girl's.
I try not to let any of it bother me, though. I try to be proud, but everything about this place squashes every bit of pride out of me. I wake up on an old wiry mattress with two of my younger siblings while the rest of my family is sprawled out on the sofa (depending on what day of the week it is -- we alternate sleeping places a lot, for fairness). I go to work, cannot say a thing about how much I hate my life and the boring familiarity of everything I do, about who I wish I could be, because there is always someone willing to throw me under the bus. I am insulted, poked at, made fun of, and sometimes kicked to get the message that I am inferior. Disgusting. Filthy. At some point I just stopped listening. I am numb.
Most of what cheers me up are small things. I can't say that it's real happiness, but it is enough to get me through the day. I search for the tiniest of interesting details in my work, and I observe people a lot. Some of my greatest moments involve me eavesdropping on someone else's conversation, or watching them throughout the day when I'm not focused on the soap. I like soap, but it can get boring quickly. I also enjoy counting the insults, as I said before. I should feel bad -- heck, I should feel something about what they say about me, but I don't. It's come to the point where I just smirk at their personality faults and get the hell on with my life. But I'm getting off topic again.
Counting things is one of my favorite things to do, mostly people-related. The number of eyes I make direct contact with in a day. Insults. How many times the man to the right of me coughs in an hour (I think he has some sort of illness). Things like that. Objects I also count, but not as often because they aren't animated. People fascinate me. Things that do not breath or move or act unpredictably don't interest me at all. Sometimes when I'm working the counting distracts me, but then I realize my mistake and get back to work. I can't lose my job.
I never was a fan of the refineries, not when they started popping up, at least. My mom and dad were both only skilled at catching food for the Capitol, and not much else. I would watch them when I was younger, but hunting never interested me much, even if I did learn from them. Total silence and lack of activity bored me. Still, I liked the freedom that the hunting allowed. Being able to walk around in the woods freely was a pleasure, but when the focus switched to working with the factories that freedom was taken away. I don't know where all that child-like freedom went. One day I was running around in the woods, playing, being a kid in every aspect of my life, and then something changed. I started working. I started learning about everything. My reality is a small one. Home. Work. Occasional errands to run in the market. I don't yell or play or allow myself anything anymore. I'm too old, for one.
The only people I love and will probably ever love are within my family. My social skills aren't the best, I've been told, but all of that fades away when I'm with them. I'm quiet, maybe a tad awkward, but when I'm with them I am myself. Loud, opinionated. Everything that I have ever wanted to say, everything that I've kept stuffed away in my brain, that comes out when I'm with them, plus a bunch of other stuff. Love. Natural smiles, not the smirks I let out when I find something amusing. Laughter. They know how stressed I am, and they help me. They talk with me. They love me. I repel everyone else, though. I've never had a lady friend, or whatever you call it. I can't help looking at the girls that work with me, but they don't say anything. I don't know if this bothers me or not, and I guess it doesn't matter. I have my family and I work late hours and I doubt I could worry about anything else other than that.
I'm the first child in a family of eight.
There was Mom, Dad, then me. Then came two sisters and three brothers. Mom met Dad hunting in the woods. Dad accidentally shot Mom in the arm with an arrow.
I'm not quite sure how that ended up as love, but you know. I understand nothing about love outside of family.
I take mostly after my Dad, with the big nose and the height and the weird features. I'm not sure what of my mom mostly stands out about me, but I love her more than anything. I love my entire family more than anything. Maybe it's her quiet nature, or her ability to take whatever life gives her and deal with it, but she is always a calming force in the house. No matter how stressed I am when I come home, she is always there to help.
I'm not in school anymore. Most of my siblings are younger, too young to start working, and my parents needed help. We live in a small house that looks like it could fall over with a gust of wind. Between the eight of us sometimes eat consistently, but most times we fall short. Me and Mom and Dad all work, and that's why I'm not in school. For one, I'm eighteen. I'm almost too old to be in school anyways, and what can they teach me? I was never any good at math or physical education or the social skills they tried to shove at me. So I work. I am content.