My Blog–June 2016
The rowdy upperclassmen barked at me from the corner of the study hall whenever I entered the room. No, I mean it, they barked like dogs. If they weren’t barking, they mooed like love-sick cows. I’d hear their comments under their breath, “There’s an ugly one.”
A few students would look up, curious to see the creature, me, a powerless eighth grader. They watched my face for a reaction. Unimpressed, they went back to their work, the teacher oblivious to it all. I wasn’t able to fight back. I didn’t know how to overcome the labels thrown at me like slaps across the face.
Until she came.
She sat alone at one of the round tables, empty seats to her left and right. She bent her head low into her books, her long jet-black hair fuzzy-wild reaching to her waist. No one would talk to her. I’d heard others reason aloud, “She won’t understand us.” “I’m scared of her,” they said.
No doubt the boys snorted remarks in her direction. What animal did they use to demoralize her? The horse?
Empathy pulsed through me, an unfamiliar force pulled me toward the girl from India who sat on an island of isolation. I braved the sneers and approached.
To them, “What are you looking at?”
To her, “Hi. My name is Lori. Can I sit with you?”
Two marginalized females found friendship, and my love affair with aliens began.