Setting Moon

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She could feel the stares as she opened the metal gate that hit with a clang. They were the same stares she had felt burn through her skin every morning she went to the neighborhood pool since she moved here in fifth grade. The severity of the stares had not become less icy after the eight years she had lived here, but had only changed in context . At first they were they curious, yet warning stares, that she was used to after moving around from one place to another. Her mother had always told her that most people confused fear and anger for the ignorance of the unusual and sometimes even the extraordinary. She knew that people would show the same confused greeting to her because she was unusual and extraordinary.

She braced the stares full on, alone on her first day here, turning down both her mothers and her brothers offers to spend the day with her at the pool until she made a few friends. She wore no sparkly pink cover like her peers whose sparkles were glinting the early morning sun. Her body was strong after spending hours running and tumbling, and she was proud of it. The only thing she wore besides her purple roxy swimsuit, and the blue dolphin towel resting over her arm, was the muddy and worn out sneakers she had spent those hours running in the muddy woods and the dusty gravel. She barely ever took them off, and the girls who pink Abercrombie flip flops clacking on the side walk let their eyes gawk in horror before moving on the her hair. It was long and wavy auburn hair that danced down her back, tanned from all the hours she had spent outside helping her brother with his football spiral. Her hair was unlike the bright blond and perfectly fake highlighted hair that graced each suburb she had spent her childhood in, not excluding this one. It was her favorite thing about herself, and she knew, even without the seeing the eyes of her new girl classmates fill will green while the boy’s filled with wonder, that it was beautiful. She let them stare, and they continued to do so as she sat alone that day before spending the morning swimming in the pool and the afternoon sleeping in the sun. The next day, however two girls approached her chair and stared down with smiles under their designer sunglasses before taking their chairs beside her, like she knew they would.

As she took the same seat she had claimed as her own that day, next to very same two brave girls who had decided to embrace the unknown, or at least see it if it was worth anything before anyone else could claim it, the stares were filled with the same icy envy, but it was not so much out of curiosity or fear of the unknown anymore. They knew who she was. She had made a name for herself in their manufactured little town, just like she had at all the others before, not because she wanted to or that it fulfilled her, but because that was what she ought to do and it was what she had always known. The two girls who sat beside her, had done the same for one reason or another. Sydney sat on her left, and even though she wasn’t named after the city in Australia, she brought to mind all things Australian. She was skinny and blonde, with blue eyes that could pierce and soul, and a tongue that could slice it in half. She was well accustomed to the piercing eyes of other, almost craving it at this point as a thing of comfort and predictability. Sydney has claimed her hierarchy on this town at early age, far back enough that her inauguration had been forgotten, leaving her an assumption of birth right. She had sought out her friendship that second day of summer, because she recognized something in her that was threatening and notable, and she would have rather had her own her committee than worry about competing with her in the future.

The second girl, now sitting on her right, had tagged along, just like she had ever since their moms had planned their first play date at five. Her name was Olivia, and she was always her favorite. Olivia had blond hair as well, but hers was natural and calming, like her green eyes, that resembled a weathered sea green stone that had washed up from the nordic shores. She was simply and easy going and her giggle was known to set off a smile in passing by strangers. She was friends with Sydney because that’s how it had always been and she could always see the good in her intentions. Sydney saw her handy because she could keep a secret and defrost her eyes, if even for a moment. Her fell right in with her, recognizing the easy feeling that came along with time spent with her, like the automatic thoughtless movement that kicked in after a running the first few tiring miles. Olivia liked school, if only to go for soccer practice after it each day, and the Saturday night soccer games, where Sydney and her would always be there to cheer her on from the bleachers, just like Olivia and her were next to Sydney sides at all the right parties. The three girls who didn’t have much more in common than their pool chairs and being the object of that cruel high school envy, had some how found a fast friendship strong enough to last through the trials of middle school and two semesters shy of their high school graduation had always been there for each other.

Her knew how lucky she was to have this safety in her best friends, and even though she didn’t require that they be there for her often, she didn’t question that fact that they would be. She was was good at school , she learned quickly and amazed her teachers with her writing and her interest in the world around her, yet she was too enchanted by her books that always happened to open during class or the nearby friends to distract her with their laughter and stories to be extraordinary in school or be involved with any academic clubs. She loved to pretend and explore the characters of others, but felt either to exposed or too fake to be involved with the theatrics. She was athletic, and gave a chance to cheerleading and track, but soon put an end to this, whenshe found her muscles were to sore to finish her nightly run in the woods behind her house, leaving her thoughts jumbled for days.

But this morning, one week from the beginning of their senior year, none of these things mattered. The three girls weren’t concerned with the things that high school and this small town defined them by. They didn’t care about the eyes on them and what the reasons for that was. No, all they cared about, as the rubbed on their sunscreen was the sunny sky with no clouds in sight, the new bikinis they had gotten on their annual families vacations to flordia being the only thing between them and their comfy beach towels, and the day that was sure to be filled with laughter and stories from the people they cared about most. Under there dark sunglasses, they could see the day would be bright, and with that omen they had the certainity that their long awaited senior year and all to follow would be just the same.

Some would say they lived a charmed life, and the morning, like every other of their summer days, when they spread out their blankets beside the pool, they would say so too. The facts were this pretty and young, both of which not going without notice from the boys splashing in the pool and the jealous girls hiding under the towels. The precious sun wrapped them in it’s rays, kissing their skin and heating them down to their bones, as if promising the eternity of simple bliss and hope with it’s fiery rays. How were they to know promises are meant to broken and eternity was much shorter than they could ever imagine? How was I supposed to know?





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