She was so embarrassed. Her brother had shown up out of nowhere, right when things were going good with Cassie. The whole party became about him, again. How did he even know about it? Wasn’t he in LA, working on the new Avengers? She’d even started crying while talking to Cassie, before running off to the bathroom. And now Cassie was here with her, which was sweet but also mortifying.
Cassie broke the silence, leaning against the open door. “Hey, Samara, you don’t actually need to go to the bathroom, right?” Samara looked at her confused, and Cassie clarified “Well, I came in here ’cause you were sad, but now I’m worried that you just needed to use the bathroom”. Samara laughed. “Hey, look at that, you’ll be alright!” Cassie gently shut the door. “What happened out there? You seemed to really not like it when all those guys said they wish they could be Shrek’s sibling.”
Samara sniffled, wiping her eyes as she spoke,“People always think your brother being Shrek is the best thing that could happen to you! They think growing up with Shrek must’ve been like heaven, but it was more like stinky hell.” Cassie listened intently.
“When your brother’s a big green monster, people are always more focused on him than you. You start to grow your own big green monster. Inside of your heart. That monster is called jealousy.”
Cassie nodded, “That makes sense”.
Samara continued. “People would always be saying ‘Shrek, be in my movie!’, ‘Shrek, join the football team!’, ‘Shrek, you’re hot like fire, but you’re cool like ice!’ It got to the point that the only time people were talking to me was to talk about him!”
Cassie sat next to Samara, placing a hand on her back. “Wow, that’s really hard. I’m sorry people ignored you.”
Samara stared off into nothing before continuing. “It wasn’t just the attention. Or even that he smells like concentrated shit. It’s just… just, no one else will admit he’s gross. You remember when he was nominated for that Daytime Emmy?”
“To practice for the award show – which I don’t even know what that means – he had a small ceremony, made awards for himself. He had ‘Greenest Guy,’ ‘Best At Toad Consumption,’ ‘Greenest Guy In A Foreign Film’… Which was fine, but these awards absolutely stunk. He’d made them out of old grease he found behind fast food places!”
Samara handed Cassie her phone, displaying a photo of Shrek standing next to three oddly accurate versions of himself sculpted out of brown sludge. You could almost smell the picture. And where had he gotten that Shrek-tone outfit? It looked like he was wearing a suit of his own skin.
“Ewww,” Cassie looked at the phone, not feigning her disgust, before Samara continued.
“But people love it! Those grease sculptures made him a sensation in the art world. It’s fucked up and no one cares! He’ll eat a pigeon like an apple, the next day it’s the hot new diet! And I have to try so. Hard.”
She began to tear up again. “I thought maybe I’ll throw a party, and people will be like ‘Wow, Shrek’s sister is so cool! I guess I’ll stop referring to her as that, and start calling her by her given name, Samara.’”
Cassie looked at her for a moment, and said, “Let me show you something.” She handed Samara a driver’s license, which read- “Cassie Popeye. I’m Popeye’s daughter.” She stood up, putting her license away and speaking, “So trust me when I say I’ve been there. Look, people are always going to focus on Shrek, because people are stupid. Sure, you’re not gonna have all the money, all the sex that Shrek gets to have. But when he walks out of that bathroom, he’s gonna have to be ‘Shrek’, like from the movies. You? You can be whoever the hell you want.”
Cassie’s hand landed on Samara’s hip as she leaned in to kiss her. And for the first time in a long time, Samara didn’t feel like the overlooked sister of a major celebrity. She just felt like herself.
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