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Popularity isn't always a gateway to happiness
I walk down the hallway, eyes down and hair hiding my face. No one wanted to see it anyways. I could hear voices walking my way on the opposite end of the hall, and I immediately ducked behind a trash can and out of view. It was easier than hearing the insults and fighting back tears.
I could hear them laughing, and discussing party plans for this weekend. I felt my face redden, and tears threaten to flow over as I thought about what I would be doing this weekend. Sitting at home alone? Seeing a movie? Alone? Suddenly my self respect dropped even lower than it ever had. Dangerous low levels, and i wished I could hurt myself.
They passed by, still laughing and flirting and enjoying themselves. The popular group everyone envied, especially me. When I thought they were out of sight I crawled out of my hiding place and looked both directions to ensure safety. I saw the head "popular" girl and almost hid away again, until I really looked at her.
Her long, blond curls stuck to her sticky, tear covered face. Her nose was runny, and i could see streaks of make-up running down her face. I could tell it wasn't her full crying, how much she really wanted to let out. In case anyone caught her, she couldn't "look too unattractive", as I'd once heard her group mention.
She sat in the far corner of the bench, hidden behind the cheap plastic plant. She sniffed, looked around, and buried her head in her perfectly manicured hands again.
After everything, I felt bad for her. All the insults she'd thrown at me, all the lies she told me, the fake invites she'd given me, the pranks she'd pulled on me, and I felt sorry for her. As much as I wanted to say she deserved it, something inside me told otherwise.
I stood up, and walked over to her, head held high. My body portrayed more confidence than I felt. I wasn't sure what I planned to say to her. I walked over, sat next to her, and hesitantly placed my hand on her back. Still unsure if this was truly the right thing to do, I began talking in a soothing whisper.
"Are you alright?" It was a stupid question, but my point went across. She looked up and me and an absolutely shocked expression crossed her face.
"Are you, t-talking to me?" She asked, incredulous . She was really, truly shocked.
"Of course, why wouldn't I be?" I asked, my hand now placed folded in my lap.
"After how mean I've been to you..I don't deserve your kindness. You may as well laugh at me now!" She began to sob again and her head fell into her hands once more.
"No need to kick someone while they're down." I smiled just a little when she lifted her head questioningly. "So whats wrong with you, anyways? And shouldn't your friends be here to consol you? Instead of me, probably the last person you'd want to talk to..."
"oh please! They're not my friends. They don't even like me. Sure, they'll be there for the good times but as soon as anything bad comes up they hit the road. They would never be there for me. At least your nice enough to come over and ask whats wrong, thats more than I can say for any of them! Speaking of which, why are you here?" She asked. She actually didn't know.
"They really wouldn't be there for you? You all seem so close...and honestly, I'm not even sure why I'm here. I guess I just know what it's like to be miserable...maybe a little to well." I frowned.
"You don't understand. What its like to be truly miserable, I mean. You have your parents, you have people that love you and give a damn about you. You have true friends that would be there for you and you get good grades without worrying about what people think. Me? I go home, and I eat alone at dinner every night. My mom is an alcoholic, and sometimes I think she doesn't even know who I am. My dad? Never knew him. He left when I was very small. So Yeah, I get to do what I want and go to parties and hang with lots of people, and yeah I'm not ugly. But I'd give it all up to be you. You don't realize how lucky you are. I make fun of you because I want to be you. To just spread a little of the misery around. I know you deserve better. I'm so sorry." She was bawling even more now, and I realized things I had never even considered before.
Maybe she was miserable. Maybe she said it as an excuse for why she was crying. Who knows. All i know it, I helped her that day. When she was done crying, I bought her a donut and she came to eat lunch with me and my two friends that had been there for me since 3rd grade.
We didn't become friends after that, we didn't even say hi much. But after that day, she smiled at me when her friends weren't looking, and I smiled back. She was a little nicer to everyone. And even when she was mean, I knew why. Everyone but me knew why, which was why I was the only one who it got to. I didn't know of a messed up family, or what it was like to do whatever you wanted.
I never hid from the popular people after that, if they wanted to shout insults at me that was okay. I would just laugh, shake my head and keep walking with my head high. There's always reasons people act the way they to, so we all have to do our part to be understanding, and help if possible. I never had any problems with "popular" people after that, and neither have any of my friends. My real friends, that are there through the bad times and the good times.