She stands on the bleachers, her coat whipping around in the fresh, new wind, and her blue eyes watering from the cold. Her cheeks are rosy; her nose red. She likes the cold, and she is one with it. She does not see anyone but the sky, and she has no one but the endless blue to hold her close. She wears a puffy silver parka, like all the other girls at school, and her skinny jeans and Ugg boots are reminiscent of her desire to fit in, but she is always set apart from them, and she does not know the reason why, but she wants to.
She does not think she is noticed, but she is. Boys in the hallway whistle and catcall when she goes by, and she lowers her head, bobbing along to whatever music is playing through the headphones jammed over her ears. Girls glare at her, because she is beautiful and she doesn’t know it. Even though she dresses the same as they do—loose-fitting, soft shirts that cling slightly to her figure, jeans, Converse, Uggs—she is not the same, and she makes the clothes fit and fall in a way that those girls wish happened on them.
Though she has never been in love, she always looks to be, with dreamy, faraway eyes and a softly upturned face. But she is solemn, always, never one to think about any dream that cannot become a reality, never one to pray for someplace better or to hope for a new life.
She is a new student, and has only been in their class since September, so of course they do not know her well, the girls argue. They say, She doesn’t ever talk to us. She does not want us, they tell anyone who will listen, and she thinks she is above us.
Next year, too, she will be the new student, in some other school, in some other town, in some other state. She will live the same way; she will be the girl they both collectively admire and despise. She will be the girl who came and went, the girl everyone forgets until someone says, at a high school reunion, “Whatever did happen to her?”
The year after and the year after and the year after—decades after, centuries after, she will remain the same. She will still wear her puffy silver parka and stand on abandoned stadium bleachers in the January wind. She will still wear Converse and Ugg boots and skinny jeans. She will still be hated and catcalled in high school hallways. She will still listen to her music and duck her head lower so she cannot hear what they say behind her ears.
She will still be the girl who came and went. She will be the last of them.