It wasn’t until she moved to the city for college that Kelly realized anything was wrong with her. As far as she was aware, back in her small little town, everyone was the same as her — or if they weren’t, no one ever made a big deal over it.
She first noticed the seething contempt from her roommate, Ashlee, as they moved their bags into their shared dorm room on their first day there. There was a brief moment of shared excitement between them as they shook hands for the first time. Looking into each others’ eyes, Kelly was certain they had both found companionship, but when she took her hand and tucked her sandy shoulder-length hair behind her, she noticed an immediate transformation. Ashlee’s smile faded, the glow of excitement dissipating into the stale dorm room air and hiding away beneath musty twin-sized mattresses.
They’d make shared friends in classes and events, but girls and boys alike both turned on her as quickly as Ashlee had on that first day. She’d see them whispering sometimes, secrets softly spilled into the ears of those who hadn’t yet caught on. Every syllable sent signs of recognition and disgust across their faces. Afterward they’d giggle and cup their hands around their ears, keeping the secret inside. Kelly couldn’t tell what she had done, or how she came to be such an abomination. They all seemed to like her well enough at first; what could be so bad as to make them all turn like that?
Kelly discovered the truth at a party over Columbus Day weekend. She had met an upperclassman brother that night named Glen, and the two of them hit off well enough to spend the better part of the evening making out on one of the second-hand couches that furnished the frat house living room. The kissing grew increasingly heavy as the party raged around them. Glen, with his left hand caressing her breast over the low-cut silk shirt she had worn that night, brought his lips down to her clavicle, gently sucking and kissing with his mouth, letting his tongue slip out in snake-like flares to lick her gentle skin. He worked his way up her shoulders, to her neck. Kelly’s head rolled back against the seat of the couch, giving him more space to work. His tongue traced its way up her jawline, inciting soft squeals, until it came to the back of her ear.
He nibbled sensuously at the cartilage, down to the back of her earlobe, when suddenly, he leapt from the couch in disgust, wiping the wretched taste from his mouth. The whole room and stopped and turned as Glen pointed an accusatory finger in Kelly’s face. “Attachee!” he screamed, throwing the rest of the guests into chaos as they felt her filth cover their bodies. “You sicko earlobe freak!” he yelled as he pulled her off the couch and shoved her out the door without her coat.
By the time classes resumed on Tuesday morning, it seemed the entire school had known about Kelly’s attached earlobes. Even the faculty avoided her.
The social leprosy was too much for her to bear, so Kelly stole a steak knife from the dining hall, took it back to her dorm room to perform her own cosmetic surgery. Ashlee returned to the room after her Student Council meeting to find her Kelly unconscious, bleeding out on the hideous grey carpet. She spent a half hour in the bathroom throwing up at the sight of Kelly’s remaining attached earlobe. But the time she was done, it was too late to call an ambulance.