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Life Preserver

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The girl I am looking at is nothing special. She is actually a little repulsive looking. You cant watch her too long before you feel bad for staring and look away quickly, acting as if you were never staring in the first place. I feel kind of bad for her. Her skin is an unnatural shade of pink. Her hair is frizzy. Her eyes are gray. She doesn’t have many friends, and those who are actually willing to talk to her are only there out of pity. She cant play the trumpet. Her drawings are the level of a preschooler. And her singing sounds like a dying bird. Basically she sucks at everything. The girl I am looking at is alone in the world. She has nobody to turn to, no one to listen. You can see all of this in her eyes with one glance. I have never seen so much sadness.

I look away from her and down the crowded hallway. I look left. Then right. Then back to my mirror I have been staring at for some time now. My mother says when I look in the mirror I should list all of my good traits. She thinks I have low self esteem. She doesn’t know the half of it. She doesn’t know that most of my thoughts center around items that would make for a good noose. Or how many of her sleeping pills would finally do me in. she doesn’t know anything. No one knows anything. Because honestly, nobody has ever asked. What I wouldn’t give for someone to ask.

I look left then right, wondering what my other classmates are thinking about. Are they thinking about the meaning of life? Or why the sky is blue? Or are they taking the more cliché high schooler view and thinking about the upcoming homecoming game or their plan of action for getting lucky this Friday night? I try to tell myself I don’t care. I want to not care. But the truth is that I envy them on a level I cannot even comprehend. I envy their confidence. I envy their spirit. I envy everything about them.

I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I am done. Done with it all. By this time tomorrow I will be-

“don’t do it.” it was just a whisper. Like it wasn’t even said at all. My thoughts dissolve and I whip my head around and see someone leaning against the locker next to mine.

“uh, don’t do what?” I whisper. Who is this guy? I’ve never seen him before. His hair is just touching his eyes. Straight and dark, the exact opposite of mine. He’s taller than me, but that’s not a big surprise. But most importantly, he’s smiling. At me.

“I have been watching you for awhile now. And I can see in your eyes that class is the last thing you want to do. So don’t do it. Skip class with me.” I don’t know this kid’s name. I don’t know if he can play the trumpet. I don’t even know the color of his eyes. Scratch that. They’re green. A brilliant, wonderful, magnificent shade of an unnatural green. Green… is now my favorite color.

He can tell I’m about to decline. He gives me the tiniest of smiles, like it’s a gift, no, like it’s a life preserver.

“don’t do it” he says again with a wink. He holds his hand out for my own; waiting. As the bell rings he lifts up his eyebrows, still waiting for an answer.

Slowly something starts happening to my face. I don’t recognize it at first. It feels weird, like the muscles aren’t used to being transfixed in this fashion. I put my own hand in his own. Somehow his face lightens up even more as he runs down the hallway with me in tow. But not before I quickly look up to my reflection before slamming my locker shut.

I am smiling.

Me, I am smiling. And I may not be beautiful. I may not straighten my hair and giggle on cue. I may even be terrible at the trumpet. But that’s okay. Somehow, I am going to make it okay.



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