I unpacked my lunch and sighed, praying the minutes would tick by quicker than they had yesterday.
Looking up, I saw air. Glancing to my left, I saw the curtain of my friend’s hair and the curve of her back.
Her face had long since left mine. It was pointed to what I dubbed the “glittery end” of the table—where it was to stay until the bell rang.
As I watched the strands of her glossed out tresses, I wondered if we were truly friends. And if we were, why anyone bothered with this thing called “friendship.” It sure had a way of making my insides ache.
I looked down at my croissant and wished some of its gold would rub off on me. Plucking up a flake, I crinkled it between my fingers and sent it sprinkling over the table in bits.
Fifty-eight minutes, I thought, counting down.
I imagined what it would be like if I had something more kaleidoscopic to pull out from my white plastic bag, like a ruby red Ring Pop or a packet of rainbow Skittles. I wondered if that would dazzle the others when my personality couldn’t.
My teeth met my apple and I decided to chew very slowly.
I thought, So long as my mouth is full, it doesn’t matter that I have no one to talk to.
I dreamt of when the final school bell would ring in three hours and 58 minutes. I envisioned myself popping out of my chair and running straight home to fall into that enchanted land that lived in my books.
I secretly believed in them. I thought there existed a sliver of a chance that I would wake up one day and find a sparkling doorway cut out of the air above my bed—and that I’d finally find my home.
So often, particularly when we’re young and don’t know ourselves quite yet, we itch to be a part of the popular masses. We think maybe one day we’ll find ourselves in that bewitching, glamorous crowd.
In the process, we veil ourselves in layers and layers of skin that isn’t truly ours, only to find one day that we don’t know who we are.
Sometimes we blame ourselves when we roll over on that cloudy morning. We think, How did I let myself get to this place?
We don’t see that our circle of faux-friends are nothing more than proof we were just trying to survive, to find love. No one ever taught us love doesn’t come to those wearing too many layers.
We don’t see we were padding our thin skin—thin skin we were ignoring because some types led us to believe it was less “desirable” than thick skin. They say, “Buck up, kid,” and we listen.
We don’t realize sensitivity yields extraordinary value. We only see ourselves as different and vulnerable and in pain.
But we are valuable. You are valuable. And all it takes to begin shining that light we possess is a shedding of that mask and a stepping into the silk of our gorgeous, paper-thin skin.