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It's September- the beginning of a new school year. I enter the classroom with a feeling of hope rising my chest. I'm excited about a brand new year, a fresh start. I spy my friends huddled in the corner and make my way towards them. Alicia is talking about her summer trip to France. I join their conversation, and it flows smoothly and surely, like a waterfall.
Actually, I don't want a fresh start. I like everything the way it is right now.
But there's a new girl standing on the other side of the room, looking lost. She's so skinny that her legs look like sticks. Her hair is cropped short, so it's impossible not to notice the gauntness of her face. If a puff of wind suddenly blew through the room she would probably be carried out the window. That's how frail she looks. To top it all off, she has huge glasses as well.
Alicia has noticed her arrival too.
“She looks anorexic,” she says, smirking. All of the other girls laugh, then start picking on her appearance: she's ugly, plain, and her hair looks disgusting. I listen passively, feeling a bit uncomfortable. I personally don't think that it's right to judge a person before you get to know them.
“Hey Ellie, don't you think the new girl's glasses make her look like a dork?” Alicia asks me.
“Ugh, yeah, they definitely do!” I reply with a shudder. The other girls snort with laughter and, bored with the new girl, start talking about Alicia's new boyfriend. But I don't listen this time. Did I really just say that? I know that those words were hurtful, and didn't reflect who I was.
I look over at the new girl again. She's looking at my group of friends, longingly. She desperately surveys each of my friends one by one, and eventually her eyes meet mine. I am shocked by what I see in those eyes. They look at me pleadingly, helplessly. Sorrow is reflected there, along with a faint spark of hope. I had no idea that so much pain and anguish could reside within them. I don't know how I got all that just from looking at someone's eyes, but they just seemed to speak to me, saying,
“Could you be my friend? Can you help me out?”
I look away quickly. Why wouldn't anyone say “Hi” to her? Not me, of course. If my friends hated her, then I would have to hate her too, whether I liked it or not...I had a reputation to uphold. But there were at least twenty other people in the room! Eventually, the teacher comes in and introduces her to another group of girls. I sigh with relief and turn back to my friends, forgetting all about her.
I remember all this as I navigate the hallways of my new school. I had just moved to a new neighborhood a month ago, and it's September once again-the beginning of a new school year. I see groups of girls looking at me and laughing, and I have a sinking feeling that they're talking about me. Some of these girls completely ignore me, even when I try to talk to them. I am more frustrated with them, because they know I'm there but simply refuse to acknowledge my presence. I'd rather be teased. At least the girls who make fun of me realize that I exist. I remember that I ignored the new girl the year before, and grit my teeth, wishing with all my heart that I could go back to that day and simply say hello to her. But now, I'm the helpless, lonely one, looking at the groups of girls, trying to figure out where I belong.
I just hope they can decipher the look in my eyes.