Now Zig and Grizelda both had reputations that were very far from the truth of who they really were. They went to great pains to put on different faces at school so that the people around them would not know their inner concerns and torments.
Everyone loved being around Zig. He could make anyone laugh, and he always took the time to speak to those around him, whether they were close friends or complete strangers. He genuinely liked people and they liked him back. It was comfortable around him. He wasn't sarcastic or mean. When he talked to you, he looked you in the eye and gave you his smile and you felt warm inside. He was unique in Wesley High School. There just wasn't any other kid like that. The teachers even liked him when he was disrupting their classes. It was almost impossible to give Zig Dorff detention because, he was so sincerely funny and genuinely nice.
Zig was also ugly. He was a tall very skinny guy with a nose that was, quite simply, too big for his face. Even though his mother, Bunny Dorff, assured him repeatedly throughout his life that he would grow into his nose, he knew in his heart it was always going to be too big. On top of the nose thing, he had the skinniest arms in the whole high school, or at least he felt like he did. Other guys had "pipes" for arms, Zig had "pipecleaners." Now what would a big nose and pipecleaner arms be without a healthy case of ZITS? Yes it's true, he had those too, although his dad, Larry Dorff, had assured him from the time the first zit erupted on the hilly terrain of his nose that indeed, "This too will pass."
As much as Zig loved Bunny and Larry, he honestly did not believe them in these matters. He knew he was doomed to be ugly all of his life. This bothered him, but it didn't consume his soul, because he had a family sent from heaven. His mother, father and little sister, Rachel, were his comfortable, loving, friends.
When he walked through the door each evening, he was really HOME. It always brought a smile to his face to see his mom there at her pottery wheel, "throwing" bowls and cups and vases of all shapes and sizes. She'd invariably have wet clay smeared on her forehead and some in her hair as she'd rise from her pottery wheel and say, "Hi honey. Come on over here you little pumpkin doodle and get your daily hug. I missed you today."
Bunny loved to give really LONG STRONG hugs too. Even though she was just a little rabbit of a woman, she could hug the stuffing out of you. Zig pretended not to care about the hugs these days, because well, he was supposed to be a man now. In reality, they made him melt inside. He knew, when she was hugging him, that all was okay with the world. Even though school was a jungle of wickedness, he was safe and loved at home. This constant family love gave Zig a sense of peace in his heart that translated into a kind of personal power. This power helped him be sincerely nice to everyone he met. Mr. Donelly's instincts saw this in Zig. He knew the "clowning" was just a facade.
His one and only concern was voiced almost daily in his secret prayer, "Please God let me find a girl who will love me for me, even though I'm ugly. Let her love me as much as my mom does."
go on to PART 4
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