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Pen Pals

Everyone has a passion in life.

 

Mine is writing.


Well, I don’t exactly write novels or anything. I write letters.


To Sarah.


My pen pal.


My mom forced me to join this national pen pal website club, and I got matched up with Sarah. At first, I hated having a pen pal. The idea of it disgusted me. I mean, I’m writing to a complete stranger about...my life.


But once I received my first letter, I soon fell in love with the idea of conversing with someone unknown. You can lie about yourself and say you’re a model who met a celebrity. They will have to believe you, because they have no idea who you really are. You can be a celebrity for all they know.


Sarah sounded amazing. She sounded like someone who would definitely be my best friend. If we knew each other.


Which we will. Tomorrow.


Sarah invited me to come to her school. I’m coming over and I’m going to Riverdale High for three weeks. I got a transfer. I don’t know how, but my mom can work magic when it comes to permission for... well, just about anything.


I can’t wait to meet Sarah. She sounds so...mature. But I don’t want Sarah to meet me. Because, like I said, when you’re writing to a stranger, you stretch the truth a little bit, and now she’ll know that I’m not who I said I was. I’m not a diva who never cries and hugs alligators and swims with sharks. I have no idea if Sarah actually believed me, and it’s doubtful. But now she’ll just have proof that I wasn't being honest. 


But I don’t regret lying.


If Sarah knew that I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks almost everyday of my life, she would probably stop writing to me for forever. Sarah sounds like those cool popular girls who have all of the latest designer clothes. She’ll want nothing to do with me. Not ever.


I wake up. Day one of Riverdale High. Sounds fun. Great. If only I knew where to find Sarah. I know from a picture she sent me in her second letter--I keep those in my dresser drawer, all 24 of them--that she’s blonde with blue eyes, and wears a ton of makeup. But who knows how many of those blonde, blue eyed angels there’ll be? What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?


At least I know my schedule. Hopefully, I’ll have a class with Sarah, and then I’ll be able to find her easily when roll starts. I can walk through the halls with Sarah and her friends, and I’ll fit in for three weeks.


I get to the school. Mom drives me. Stupid idea for the first day of school, I know, but three weeks doesn’t matter. I’ll be gone before anyone even knows me. Before anyone knows that my designer jeans are fake, and that my mascara only costed three dollars, not the twenty-eight dollar brand that I originally wanted. No one needs to know that.

 

I don't plan on having anyone know that. 


I walk up to my first period classroom. Room 319. Mr. Gornovia. What kind of a name is that? But honestly... Who am I to judge? I’m new here. Maybe that’s a normal name around here and I just don’t know it yet.


I look around the classroom for Sarah. I saw a bunch of blonde girls when I was walking in, but none of them looked like Sarah. I hope I don’t have a panic attack today. That would ruin my social life here. Forever. Three weeks will feel like eternity if I'm at the bottom of the ladder and about to fall off. 


Finally, the bell rings. I walk inside of the classroom and see a bald-headed short man, who is wearing glasses and writing on the board with a basically dried-out Expo marker. He looks at me and sighs when he doesn't recognize my face. 


“Are you new here?” He asks gruffly, not nicely. When I nod, quite nervously, I might add, he sighs. “There ain’t no room left, missy. Go sit there in the back by the old whiteboard.” I look where he’s pointing and I groan inwardly. Back row, third seat to the left. Terrible. No windows anywhere close by to look out of. Surrounded by students who will just whisper about me instead of asking questions. A place where the teacher can easily see me at all times.


I sit down.


More and more students come in. I try to filter out the brunettes and the brown-eyed girls. I disregard the boys completely. Then I see her. Sarah. Laughing. I know it's her. Something deep inside of me just knows. 


She looks at me. Straight at me. She knows who I am. I can see it.

 

She doesn't speak for a few seconds that feel like eternity. 

 

Finally, she speaks. 


“Ew, look at the new girl.” The first thing that comes out of her mouth.

 

I will myself not to cry...

 

Not to panic...

 

To try to breathe. 

 

I leave the room.

 

My breaths are rushed and harsh. 


I break down.


I panic.


Her letters lied.


Like mine.






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