There she was sitting alone in the cafeteria again. To her left sat a group of unruly boys busying themselves by seeing who could choke on their peanut butter and jelly sandwich the fastest and then guzzle it down with milk. And to the right sat the most evil of the schools inhabitants, looking up and down into their little pocket mirrors to find a patch of skin that wasn’t covered in make-up. Looking backward, you could see the group of nice girls who always smiled as they looked in her direction but never invited her to sit with them. And, forward, was the group of shy boys who never spared a passing glance, since they were too busy exploding paper bags.
She sat in the middle of the congested lunchroom eating her ham and turkey sandwich, chocolate pudding, and juice in peace. It was comforting, it was as it had always been, and to her, it was right. Her place, right outside of the ninth grade social circle, was something she looked forward to. Everyday she sat down and enjoyed not having any arguments to settle, any friendships to maintain, and any meaningless conversations about lip-gloss. Although others looked down upon her as the antisocial girl, she didn’t care, she was proud of it.
But one day, it all changed. The day started out normally. The morning passed by and soon everyone was racing down the halls to get to the cafeteria, taking their seats, and shaking their heads from left to right to catch up on rumors with friends. She sat down at her private little table and was finally isolated from the nonsense of the teenage world. It was right then that he came, straight down from the blue, walked up to her lunch table, and sat down next to her. He smiled and she frowned wondering why the new kid was sitting with her. As if that wasn’t torture enough, he began to talk uncontrollably. It was as though he looked to this period of the day to pour out his life story to this poor, annoyed girl who wanted nothing more than to be left alone for forty-five minutes. He traced back his life to five years ago and started there, ending with his future plans, all the while smiling and glancing backward to see if any of the boys were throwing something at him.
This went on for the next few months and there was nothing special about the lunch period to her anymore, nothing that kept her hopes up. There was no quiet, isolated island left at her table, just an annoying voice that never let up. And as she sat down to another forty-five minutes of torture, he smiled, but she could easily see that it wasn’t the same smile. It didn’t reach his eyes and didn’t light up the rest of his face. He told her that he left his history book back in the last class, and that he would return after he got it. To her surprise, he never came back to her table. The next day he sat down at the boy’s table and didn’t speak to her. He didn’t smile at her, and didn’t grab her some extra napkins. And she sat in her isolated paradise once again, just like she always did, all by herself.