Koral and I

She is a dreamer, someone who doesn’t quite fit in. She is a rather peculiar character, but she isn’t an outcast. She isn’t made fun of when conversations get boring; she isn’t pointed out and laughed at in the hallways; she isn’t the last to be picked in gym class. But she is the one whom teachers would forget the name of, the one whom strangers would give a second glance at, the one who is always single. The quiet one. The loner.

You can find her in the library or under the great elm tree behind the football field, always with book in hand and hair tucked behind ears. Never would you see her shouting or laughing with other girls, but if you do happen to catch her eye when you walk past, you would surely be greeted with a warm smile. Whenever I see her, I can’t help but think that she somehow doesn’t belong here in this building, with these people, during this century. Her skin is porcelain, like the delicate dolls found behind the glass of Paris shops. Her hair is auburn and wispy, like the strands of a spider web reflecting the flames of a forest fire. And her eyes, her eyes are the deep chocolate of rich soils that gave rise to civilization, filled with the depth of myriad nights where masterpieces were created, battles were fought, revolutions were planned, and history was made. Her presence never seems to be solid, but rather thin and flickering, like the twinkling of the stars—far away, ethereal, in existence for millennia yet still only a vague shimmer to those who observe them now.

She is someone I will never be able to understand, for I am the one who loves to be surrounded by people, constantly reminded that I exist and that I am loved. Without the laughter and cries of companions, I am lonely and unhappy. I am like the stars too, sure that I can be seen, yet still vainly winking at all passerby for attention. Now it must be made clear that I am by no means popular. I am not the life of the party, not the girl voted for prom queen, not the person you kiss up to for expedited climbs up the social ladder. But I am the girl always eager to make a new friend, happy to be crazy or unexpected at parties, trying to win people over with loud laughs and foolish dance moves. Where she has quiet aura and mystery, I have brazen showiness and dazzle. When she can be content with the company of a tree, I feverishly add “friends” on Facebook just to gain some assurance of existence. Confidence in media is often portrayed by girls like me, who have good grades in school, many friends, and a permanent smile, but I own these traits only because I am too weak to face the world on my own. I follow the stereotypes of teenagers to avoid judgment and the smile is my way hiding the constantly conflicting feelings within. She is true confidence, with peace radiating from the silence surrounding her and warmth shining from her shadow.

We are complete opposites, right down to our names. Her name is Koral. My name is Summer. She is a wondrous home for colorful creatures of the undiscovered sea. Delicate and enigmatic, carefully handled by all who visit, she must be preserved. I am the season of reckless children and the pretentious rose, a time when heat and humidity leads to rash decisions and regret. Roughly beaten with pillows of slumber parties and crudely serenaded by drunken karaoke, I must be fast-forwarded and turned into months of peace. We are complete opposites, and I wish I was her.

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