The Girl in the Corner

She sat in a corner, knees drawn to her chest and feet splayed, as if she were ready to run at any moment. She was quiet, gazing out at the other children with the same curious apprehension that the children watching her had. Most of them were playing games on the field and came to gawk at her, but after seconds they would return to their frolic, deciding that the girl was of no interest. A few cast sidelong glances, fewer still remained looking at her. She had tried smiling at one onlooker, but the boy was frightened and ran, signaling for the others to follow.

The girl sighed and let her chin sink to her knees. What was it about her that drove her peers away? Was it her clothes? Was it the tears in her denim jacket or the hole in her faded jeans? Was it the clay on her shoes, the clay the looked like congealed blood on their soles? Was it the dog tags around her neck, given to her by a friend before she left so she would not forget? Or was it her appearance? Was it her skin? Was it her skin that seemed deathly pale to them but was normal for her? Was it her eyes? Was it their color of sweet molten chocolate edged by a ring of bitter darkness? Was it their gaze, so soft yet so intense that nearly all felt compelled to turn away after mere seconds? Was it the gleam in them, the gleam of joyful laughter and untold sorrows? Was it her hair? Was it the color, the exact hue of her eyes, or was it the style, slightly past her shoulders with choppy layers? Was it the way it hung in her face, so vastly different from the faces of the others that were perfectly visible without a stray lock?

Another child came and went, glancing at the girl in the corner. The child was uneasy during the briefest moment of eye contact with her. She was different from them. They told jokes and all would laugh but her. She would wear an expression of confusion and say that she did not understand. They would stare at her, wondering what was so difficult to comprehend about such a simple joke, asking in their minds if she was stupid. After it became clear that their stares would not end, she would shuffle away, aware that she was to be the subject of the next punch lines as soon as she was out of earshot. They spoke at a normal speed, just as quickly as the people around them, but the girl’s words were so rapid that they could not make sense of her speech. She was different.

The children playing in the field shunned her. They were afraid of the girl. She was not like them. Their rejection, like an icy blast, stung, but she did not cry. Crying was a sign of weakness that would surely become fodder for their vitriolic tongues. No, she refused to give them any more reason to taunt her. If they wanted nothing to do with her, she would find somebody that did. At least, that was the course of events in her mind.

The plotlines of her imagination never came to pass as she had hoped. The children never came to ask her to play; the teacher never came to comfort her. Their silence forced her away, obliged her to find a sanctuary from their unspoken tormenting. She searched the school grounds, looking for a place that would accept her.

Chipped, weathered and faded, the scarlet bricks of the shaded corner were welcoming. Just large enough for a single person to sit. The other children did not want to share their recess, but the corner was willing to give everything for her solace.

The girl took the corner as her own, the one place where the silence was bliss. In her spot, in the corner, the girl found the best was to dry her invisible tears. Paper in hand, pencil scribbling furiously, she began to write.

She sat in a corner, knees drawn to her chest and feet splayed, as if she were ready to run at any moment…





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