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The Tables Have Turned
I look around. New house. New school. New ways to embarrass myself.
Why? Every two months. Every two months! Dad feels the need to switch small business jobs, and moves to avoid embarrassment. First it was pet supplies. Then smoothie shop. Then shoe-maker (huh? What in the world, I thought). And then organic umbrellas. However that worked. As if shoe-maker wasn’t bad enough, and how are umbrellas even organic? In the end, it all came down to a badly developed habit of shaking my head. Shake. Shake, shake.
No friends. Ever. I don’t have enough time to make friends. Ever.
I push through the hallways of the school. Stupid, beige hallways, over-crowded with lockers and empty trophy cases. Paper is scattered everywhere. Makes no sense, especially when people are always asking others for paper in class. I am deemed “Paper Girl” for my ‘benevolence.’ The truth is I just want their lips to go back into the normal, instead of the irritable pouting that teenagers can’t stop doing.
And yet, I make a friend. I call him MIB, Mib for short. The truth? It stands for My Imagination Boy. I know. Very creative. And he doesn’t even care about my frizzy, either-blonde-or-brown-can’t-really-tell curly hair. Or my pointy nose. My hollow cheeks. My nasally voice. My unimaginably fast metabolism. Everything the “Popular Girls” find annoying and unattractive.
He himself has no face. No body. He’s just a voice. A velvety voice. I must be crazy.
I doodle in my notebook during math. Pshh, math. Who needs it? After Algebra, it gets confusing, even more boring, and the students develop a constant when-are-we-ever-going-to-use-this whine. Would you like some cheese with that whine? I think. Hahaha… Yeah, no.
What’s worse is the math teacher. His nose is worse than mine. It’s curved up so much that he looks like a rhinoceros. His pot-belly stomach doesn’t help in the least. And his droning monotone pushes my brain. Push. Push, push. It tries to find a door so it can get inside and ruin my mood. Oh wait. My mood hasn’t been good for the last year or two.
And then, Mib shows up. Right next to my desk. He makes me jump, and the teacher gives me The Look. One more The Look and I’ll be blacklisted. Like in the mills during the Industrial Revolution. Only this time, my job is learning. Ugh. Still, my mood brightens.
“Are you listening?” He asks me.
“What do you think?” I answer with my mind. Of course he can hear me, and the annoying teenagers can’t. perfect.
“You need a friend.” He says.
“I have a friend.” I answer. Of course I mean him. Who else? Who else was there? No one. That’s who.
He bugs me have to death the next week. “Make a friend, make a friend, make a friend.”
Before I know it, I am giving into his will. I scour the hallways, inspecting everyone bit by bit. But I soon realize that I cannot make a friend. My heart will only break when we move again.
Still, Mib perseveres. “Make a friend. You aren’t going to move again. Your dad’s landscape business”—I know, big jump from organic umbrellas—“is successful, now that your mom is helping. Make a friend, before you become the outcast.”
I find that he’s right. We’ve moved to a place with pitiful front yards. And backyards. I’ve quit keeping track of where we are. It doesn’t matter anymore. Or does it?
So I scour the halls more. And I find Cassie. She’s…interesting. Not popular. A good sign. And she seems to always be having fun. The picture of optimism. She welcomes me as her friend with open arms, literally. For some reason, she reminds me of the Pillsbury Dough Boy, even though she’s not fat. It must be the warm smile on her face.
She’s quite the opposite of my pessimistic figure. Mib thinks she’s a good choice. Might teach me to find my inner joy. But I can’t be optimistic for another two months.
Except, I’m starting to have more fun anyway. Mib was right; Dad’s small landscape business is doing well. Cassie and I start hanging out more.
I start laughing more. I find for the first time that I have this specific laugh…does that happen to everybody?
And Mib gradually goes away. Away. Away, away. As I gain my confidence. My optimism. My life. He disappears just as quickly as he came, that velvety voice as mine. And I find myself happier. Friendlier. More willing to give out paper. And most of all, stationary. The tables have turned.