It was definitely a very mixed blessing. On the one hand if Stella was wheedling for an extra hour before bedtime or trying to ascertain whether or not she would really have to finish her broccoli then a quick hug would reveal the truth
‘No way lady. Not after the day I’ve had, it’s bed for you and then a large whisky for me’ and she would know that it was useless to go on struggling and the best she could hope to garner would be an extra chapter of the bedtime read. On the other hand ‘Oh she’s looks so sad when she cries.‘ And she would know a couple more sobs and the new shoes she coveted were in the bag.
Her parents were all unsuspecting; well it was a bit off the wall. You don’t normally think hmmm she’s giving me a lot of cuddles she must be able to read my mind. No, you just think what a lovely huggy, tactile little thing she is. Okay she may never start wars or launch ships but she has such a loving nature she’ll be fine.
At first her mummy’s worried not so secret thoughts about her lack of physical charm upset Stella greatly. She would cry hot tears deep into the night and wish to all the fairies and angels and even at times the devil for a beautiful face and a gorgeous body. Of course this came to naught. The powers that be up there in the great observation balcony in the sky were having far too much fun to grant a little girl’s wishes. In the fullness of time the family accepted that she was not to be pretty and she learned to ignore the sad or at times rather nasty “private” thoughts of her nearest and dearest because all things considered she was doing okay.
She was never the first to be chosen for teams at school due to her unsporty physical appearance but that meant that if she was chosen she would try extra hard. The result was a rather special sportswoman who took the other teams by surprise and so scored more nets, ran more home runs and swam faster than anyone would have imagined. She didn’t have lorry loads of friends when she was small, well nobody wanted to be the ugly girl’s friend, and so she spent many hours alone in the library or the science lab and of course very quickly she began to outshine all her peers in scholarly endeavour.
The friends that she did have were genuine, well she was in a unique position to vet them wasn’t she. If the first couple of hugs and cuddles revealed hidden agenda or underhand dealings she would move along before anyone was hurt. It saddened her at times that so many people were two-faced but she learned to live with the reality of her existence and valued the couple of people she knew absolutely she could trust.
In return this meant that she could be totally honest and open with her friends and often used her “gift” to warn them of approaching treachery from outsiders. On one memorable occasion she was even able to give the maths teacher a quick hug and so ascertain which particular book they should use for revision and consequently Stella and her friends were the top three in the maths exam that term.
She knew by judicious use of her gift that her prowess on the sports field and excellence in the classroom thrilled her parents and this had become very important now. There was an interloper, a newcomer an intruder otherwise known as Ben, her new little brother and so the battle for parental attention and favour had begun.