I am Alone

I am alone
alone, with tens-- no--- hundreds, no—thousands! of bodies swarming around me
who laugh together, talk together
and
…point
…stare
at me
“the new girl”
who intruded upon their school.

Their shoes squeak together, in one rhythm,
their backpacks bounce together, in one motion,
as they parade down their hallway. Their hallway
that seems to grow longer, endless, as I walk, alone,
to their classrooms.

It is all theirs—
“they.”
A word of collection, a group,
of belonging. Of acceptance.

I am “me.”
I am alone,
all alone.
Lonely in a crowd.

They pay me no attention,
yet they do.
It is as if I am on a stage.
Or under a microscope.
I am the flickering star
that completes
no constellation.

Their eyes drill into me,
asking,
demanding,
who am I
to trespass on their turf.

Like a cat sits
and stares
and challenges
the bug that flutters
in front of Cat’s window.

And then,
from nowhere,
she looks up.
She—in the crowd, but not like them---
lifts her head,
looks at me,
and smiles.

A warm,
welcoming
smile.
A smile
that says,
“See you at lunch!”

I nod
and smile back.
She waves to show
that she understands
and disappears down
the opposite hallway.

I am still alone,
alone in a crowd,
but I am
no longer afraid.





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