By Berley Kerr, 16, Cathedral High School
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No girls were interested in the regular me...

Kevin, my best friend, is the kind of guy who girls fall for. When his school did "Romeo & Juliet," Kevin played Romeo. It makes me sick when I think of all the things that Kevin is good at: acting, basketball, football, art, computers and video games. As a lifelong dork, I have to admit I’m really jealous of him.

Every day, some girl would come up to me and ask, "Can you hook me up with Kevin?" At first it was cute because most of these girls were attractive, and they pretended to be nice and notice me just so they could talk to "Mr. Wonderful" for a minute. But after a while it got annoying. I’d just ignore the girls or say, "Give him the note yourself." One desperate girl paid me $6 for his phone number. I used the money to buy some chocolate chip cookies—at least I got something out of it!

One time my friend met me at the mall to hang out. While we were eating, she asked me, "So, how long have you known Kevin? He’s sort of cute. Could you give me his number?" That hurt like hell. I put my burger down and walked away. I never called her again.

A few weeks later, my other close friend asked me to hook her up with Kevin. I blew up. "What?! I can’t believe you! Is this what you always wanted? Just to hook up with him?" I yelled at her over the phone. I hung up in her face. That was it. I snapped. In tears, I tore down all the posters in my room, I threw away all my comics and magazines. I took the white stuffed bunny I got for Easter when I was two years old, and beat the sh– out of it with a steel pipe in my back yard. That girl was the closest friend I had next to Kevin. I’ve known her for years and her doing this broke my heart.

Summer started, so for a while I didn’t talk to anyone. I needed some distance from everybody.

But after about a month, Kevin and his brother invited me to the movies. I figured I might as well enjoy myself. When he came over, I told him I didn’t know what to wear. He said, "Don’t worry about it, I’ll help ya." He picked a good pair of jeans, but nothing matched it, so he let me wear his shirt. He was sort of joking around, and he said, "Maybe we’ll meet some girls there. C’mon man, you never know. Look at you—that’s your problem, you have no confidence."

He said I slouch too much. He had me straighten up and walk with pride. Clean shoes, perfect hair—the final touch was my glasses. I had to lose them. I wasn’t too sure about the glasses but he insisted so I just gave in.

As we hung around waiting for the movie to start, we noticed a girl with her friend. Kevin and his brother told me to go pick up on her. After their annoying bugging and teasing I finally gave in and went to talk to her. I took about five steps and walked right back to my friends. I was panicked. What should I say?

They told me to ask her what school she goes to as a little ice breaker. I went back to the girl.



"What school do you go to?"

She told me the school. What else was there to say? The conversation was going down in flames. This girl wasn’t the least bit interested in me. Her friend was looking at me with a "What a loser" expression.

Then the girl spoke: "What’s your name?"

"Berley—why do you ask?"

"You look like someone I know. Well, we gotta go!"

As they walked off, she was giggling with her friend. I just knew she was making fun of my name. I went back with my friends and they reassured me by saying the girl was ugly anyway, but it ate me up inside for the rest of the day.

A day turned into a week. A week turned into two weeks and the stupid mall girl stayed in the back of my mind. It made me so mad that all people care about is physical appearances. I grew up with the idea that what matters is on the inside. Apparently the rest of the world had a different idea. And so I decided to try to be like everyone else. I decided to become normal. I invented a whole new persona for myself as

A Saturday came and I dressed and redressed myself. New haircut, clean shoes, neatly ironed clothes, and all in style. I asked my dad if I could take the bus to the movies and he said it was OK. I wanted to be by myself so that the only person influencing my decision was me. When I got to the theater I took off my glasses, fixed myself up and walked to the box office with all the fake confidence I could muster. I bought my ticket to the show and looked around. No one seemed to notice or care how I looked. I saw the movie and went to the mall next door. I walked around a bit to see how people would react. As inside the theater, nothing. I finally looked like everyone else. Even though that’s what I was going for, I felt stupid.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder

I decided to use the rest of my money to get something to eat in the mall café. I ordered a burger, two orders of fries, a hot dog and a large drink. (With metabolism like mine, that was a snack.) As I ate, I decided it was over. I was going back to my regular clothes. I kept eating at the table by myself when a girl a little bit older than me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around with "I’m bored and I don’t care who you are," on my face. She told me "hi" then she said, "Listen, my friend over there wants to talk to you."

Still with the bored look, I turned to her friend. She was sitting at a table a couple of rows behind me. She waved to me, I waved back. She was very attractive. Long black hair, light brown skin, a great dresser, why in the world did she want to talk to me?

I noticed she only had a hot dog and a drink at her table. And still not caring, I told her friend, "I have a lot of food here so tell her to bring her food and come here." They both came over to where I was sitting. She gave me a shy "hi" and I responded with a bored "hello." I thought to myself that I probably reminded her of someone she knew or even an old boyfriend. Or maybe it was a prank, a joke that she and her friend were playing on me to show that my pathetic attempt to be "normal" had failed.

I acted like I didn’t want her there with my bored face and voice, just so she couldn’t succeed when she told me that she was just messing with me. I asked her the usual things: What’s your name, age, where do you live, what school do you go to, and why are you here. She had a shy response to every single question. Then she had a question for me:

"What’s your name?"

Oh no! If I told her my real name, she’d probably laugh. To buy time I pretended that I didn’t hear her and said "Huh?"

She asked again, "What’s your name?"

"Brian Kerricks," I mumbled.


"Brian Kendricks."

"Brian?" she asked, giggling.

"Yeah," I said with a disappointed tone. We talked some more and then I finished my food and told her I had to go. She asked for my phone number and I gave it to her. But when I asked for hers, she said her dad would get mad if boys called. She told me she’d call me that night. I didn’t believe her.

I went home and decided to forget all about my day. I had no numbers, no girls, no money and the movie wasn’t all that great either. I just wanted to lie down. A couple of hours went by and it soon came to be 9:30 p.m. My parents were in bed and I was still up. Then the phone rang—it was the girl!

"May I speak to Brian, Brian Kendricks?"

I was just about to say, "Wrong number," when I stopped myself.

Still in that shy tone, the girl said, "What’s up, Brian?"

I told her in my best bored tone of voice, "Nothing. You?"

"I’m fine."

This little "lie" was too much for me so I said, "Listen, I’m real sleepy. Call me tomorrow around this time. I’ll talk to you then." This little break would give me time to think about whether I should tell the truth or not. This was how Brian Kendricks came into my life.

To be continued …

Will Berley tell the girl his real name? Or will he continue to live a double life? Find out in the January-February issue of L.A. Youth. Click here to read part 2.