I hadn’t seen my good friend Jane in several years. Back then, she sometimes asked me if her nose was too big or her lips too thin. I’d told her she was she was perfect just the way she was, which was true. Besides, I never believed in plastic surgery. It’s the inside that counts.

Now we were meeting for coffee, and I couldn’t help gaping in surprise. She’d gone under the knife to such an extreme I would never have recognized her if I hadn’t been expecting to see her. “Jane,” I finally sputtered. “You look…different.”

“Oh?” She smiled with her crooked lips, turning slightly to show off her nearly nonexistent nose. “I’ve been working out.”

So that was how it was going to be. She was going to pretend like she hadn’t had massive plastic surgery, and I was expected to play along. I told myself I would never see her again. How could I? That mottled skin pulled tightly around her eyes, those uneven cheek implants. In fact, I was going to cut this meeting short. I couldn’t take it. She was a monster.

I opened my mouth to make an excuse for leaving, then stopped myself. If I believed it was the inside that counts, then I couldn’t leave because of the way she looked. I had to accept it. She was my friend.

Jane tossed her head. “I’m thinking of getting extensions.”

“No need,” I said. “You look perfect just the way you are.”

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