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Usually I am not noticed by those around me. I sit by myself at the edge of the cafeteria, sit in the far front row seats in all my classes, and walk on my own to and from school.
But today is different. As I am sitting at my usual table, music floating into my ears as I eat, I see, out of the corner of my eye, a boy sit down next to me. He pulls a book from his bag and begins to read as I secretly watch him. He doesn’t talk, doesn’t flinch, just sits as still as a mountain in his chair, only moving to change paged in his book.
I go back to my food and music, feeling that the kid really doesn’t know I am next to him and simply wants to read. The bell rings and he leave to his class as I leave in the opposite direction for mine. No harm, no foul.
In my third period class I am away in the corner, working away, as the other ten people are on the other side of the room working away on talking gossip. I quickly get stuck on a problem, and at the same time I lean back in frustration, the boy from early that morning arrives in the class.
“I'm new.” The boy looks around for the teacher.
“Either that or you're very lost in the beginning of January.” The teacher responds, causing the students to laugh – except me, of course.
The boy doesn't flinch. “So, what are we doing?”
The teacher stands and begins to explain to the new kid everything. At this point I am back to work and still stuck.
Time passes quickly. “Need help? I learned this yesterday before I moved.”
I look up and find the new boy sitting in the seat next to me. He scoots the seat up against mine and stares at my notebook.
“Um... yeah. I'm sure I screwed up something and will hit myself later for it.”
The boy keeps staring at the problem. “My name is Levi by the way.” He looks up at my face.
“James. Did you figure it out?”
“Yeah.” He points at one part of the problem. “You multiplied these two numbers instead of adding them.”
I stare at the page. “Wow.” I hit the side of my head with my pencil and start correcting. “Told you I'd hit myself.”
“I do that all the time. You aren't the only one.” He pulls out the book he was reading that morning and begins reading.
I stare at him for a few moments and go back to my work. I quickly finish as the bell rings. Everyone leaves before me as I pack up my things. When I step out the door, I find Levi standing there against the wall, watching me.
“Can I help you, Levi?” I ask.
“You have this lunch or the next?” He walks over to me.
“Can I sit with you? You seem to not be social and people don't like me already.”
“Why do you say that?”
He turns around. From the bright pink bag and rainbow buttons on it, I get the impression he is gay.
“See? Now,” he turns back around looks at me. “Do you hate me too, or do you want to be friends?”
I stand motionless and stare at his face. He doesn't know me, I am an obvious outcast, yet he is open with who is and likes that I am different.
“This is weird,” I mumble.
“Being weird is cool, though. Do you want to blend in or stick out?”
“I already stick out.”
“Then let us be buddies!” He hooks his arm with mine and drags me down the hall.
I can't keep a grin off my face. “You're my first friend here Levi. Thank you.”
“You are mine too, thank you and you're welcome.”
We walk to the lunch room with our arms hooked and people stare. I don't care if they don't like it because they've alienated me already. I'd rather have a weird friend than be alone and ignored.
This is the first of many weird days; I know.