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Among the Crowd
The sun sank deeper and deeper below the horizon. Shocks of pink and orange tied with purple threads decorated the sky. For some it might seem a dull, normal, and uneventful evening. However for me it was special. At school, anywhere you go; all the kids look alike, talk alike, and act exactly the same. It has gotten so bad that we can no longer tell girls from boys. We are like robots with minds. We can think for ourselves, but we can’t make any of our own decisions. The adults, teachers, and administrators make all the decisions for us. The most we get to decide is where we go and what we do after our homework is done.
As I fell asleep that night I felt that something important would happen soon. I hadn’t thought that it would happen the next day. I awoke the next morning groggy and got out of bed. After I was ready I looked at the mirror. I looked horrible. My pale white skin stood out stark against my baggy, black shirt. My wild auburn hair was frizzled and my black pants were rumpled. I tried to make my self look better, but I was unsuccessful and left for school.
That afternoon when I arrived home from school I entered my room and found a t-shirt lying on my bed. It was unlike our usual gray, white, and black shirts. The shirt was covered in splotches of bright blues, greens, purples, pinks, oranges, yellows and reds. Pinned to it was a note, which read “Dare to be different.” Unpinning it, I read the back. “When you are surrounded by sheep, step away from the herd. Make your mark on the world and make it good.” I didn’t feel quite ready for such a bold thing. I walked over to my closet and placed it in the far back corner.
The shirt remained there for several weeks. The thought of it however remained in the back of my mind, nagging at me. I found that my mind would wonder and I would find myself pondering about the strange shirt. I was also very curious as to who had given it to me. As the situation worsened I began to dream about the shirt and its origin. Finally, when I could bear it no longer, I decided to take my chances with the shirt.
It was a dreary Tuesday morning when I pulled the shirt slowly out of my closet. After donning it, I grabbed my school bag and left. While walking to school and throughout the day I felt the stares of adults and the other students upon me. However, when I glanced around no one was looking at me.
I arrived home exhausted and went to my room. For a while I just sat on my bed thinking. I had thought that someone would say something to me about my shirt. “Why didn’t anyone?” I asked aloud.
After finishing my homework I went into the kitchen. I found my parents cooking dinner. “What’s for dinner?” I asked my mom.
Instead of answering my mother scolded me saying “I told you never to contract words. It is lazy” She said with a snotty, fake, British accent.
“Okay mom.” I said with a sigh.
“Do not sigh.” She reprimanded me once again.
Carefully choosing my next words I asked “Mother, what is for dinner.” I made sure that I spoke clearly and annunciated.
My mother replied sharply “Why should I tell you? I am to busy preparing it, that is until you interrupted me.”
Actually, my dad did all of the cooking, but I didn’t point that out.
My mother is always in a foul mood. I figured it best not to infuriate her any more. I went back to my room to wait. While waiting I picked up the latest book I was reading. I was only able to read a few pages before my mom called me in for dinner. My parents and I ate our spaghetti in silence. Soon afterwards I was sent to bed.
The next day came all too soon. I wore my usual attire, because I only had one colorful shirt. School greeted me differently that day. Going to my classes and walking through the halls I saw many students not wearing their usual dress. I wondered if they had gotten their clothes from the person as I had. I also wondered if it was a group of people.
I soon received more shirts from the same mysterious person or organization. I also received pants which were made from the strangest material I had ever seen. I figured it had to be denim, another thing I had read about. Wearing these clothes gave me a sense of self importance and I enjoyed being different.
Returning home from school after a long day I noticed something on my bed. I walked over quickly. It was a binder of different ways to style hair. Next to it was a package. The package contained hair ties, a comb, a brush, gel, a hair dryer, a curling iron, and hairspray. After flipping through the collection of hairstyles I decided on one. I got the supplies that I would need and walked over to my mirror. It took me a few times but I finally got it right. I tried a few more styles and found one that I particularly liked.
The next day I got dressed in my new clothes and did my hair. As I went off to school I felt refreshed. Everything was so different. Usually we didn’t talk to each other because we knew that we would be unable to identify them the next day. However, over the rest of the week I met some new people and made some new acquaintances.
As I walked down the hall on Friday was walking towards a tall, lean, and boy. In other words I was walking towards one totally hot guy. He stopped and started talking to me. We had been talking for a while when I was shocked by realization. He said “I’ve been talking to you for this whole time and I haven’t asked you what your name is. Come to think of it I haven’t introduced myself.” He said this all in a very fast and rushed manner.
I had no name and I didn’t know what to say. The boy saw my hesitation and said “It’s okay; I didn’t have a name either when someone asked me. I just chose the name James. So what do you want me to call you?”
I looked at his face; his blond hair fell across his brilliant green eyes. I answered “Sarah”
“I like that” James said
“I like your name too”
After that James and I became very good friends.
A few months later James and I were sitting outside watching the sunset. Seeing the sky change from yellow to blue reminded me about how far we had come. We had finally accomplished what the person had wanted us to do. I was no longer (as the puzzling person had put it) a part of the herd. In fact the school was not a herd anymore. Everyone was their own person.
At that time James slipped his hand into mine. I didn’t pull mine away and I hoped that this moment would never end.