I first met Lissa on the battleground of the cafeteria floor.
“Oops,” said Jim. Classic obnoxious jock, he’d “accidentally” knocked her milk to the floor
Hesitantly, I walked over. “Are you okay?”
Lissa shook her head, took out a second carton. “The lunch lady always gives me extra, in case. Is he gone?”
Back at my regular table, my friends praise me.
“It was so nice of you to be nice to her.” “She’s so weird.”
I almost missed it, because blink and you’ll miss it: The stained glass window in the middle of the room.
As someone who spent much of my youth as the “weirdo in the room,” this prompt from Rochelle brought back so many bittersweet memories. To me, this story is a fantasy, because sometimes I fantasized someone might notice I’m a person too! and be nice to me (like in books, and then you make friends), but no one ever did. So, to hell with people, you know? I never could figure out why exactly I had NO friends in school. None. I never thought there would be a day I could write these words and not feel like some terrible person, because – maybe – it wasn’t even my fault.
Eventually, I stopped caring, got used to being alone. Like many kids, I know this now, I spent a LOT of time figuring out somewhere else to be at lunchtime, skills that served me well in adulthood, because oh yeah, been there, done that. Sometimes, now that I’m the older loner, able to choose who I’m around when, I forget how hard it was for kid me to be so “different”. Then, I remember.
Having a bit of a week because reasons, revisiting old traumas. I probably shouldn’t post this, but I am before I chicken out. Because – ugh – feelings. I want to say “be nice to the loser in the room” but then – we understand if you’re not. After all, you might catch geekiness from us. Or something.
21 thoughts on “FF: Hidden Treasures”
A brave story, Anne. Thank you for posting it.
A powerful piece of writing. One thing I am pleased about is my desire to talk, last night I was at my local A and E unit, so many individuals sat waiting, we all needed someone to talk with.
Thank you so much. I hope everything turned out okay that night. It’s something, how those moments can bring people together, but I hope the emergency passed with everyone okay too.
The story behind the story is very touching. Thanks for posting it. In school I sat with all of the geeks and oddballs, but at least we had each other…
I hope there are more kids who would help out or step in in this situation.
Those childhood traumas do last, don’t they? I hope you have friends who deserve your friendship now. Brave post. Hugs.
First, your courage and honesty. Thanks.
Then, some characterize “helpers” as flawed and needy themselves. I wish they could read this. Reaching out is never wrong.
Thanks Regina. Always good to hear from you. Hope all is going well.
A very poignant tale, Anna. It’s good to speak your truth, raw though this clearly is. Well done. I hope next week is better for you.
Well and bravely written. Humans can be very uncaring, I fear. Your courage itself will make you likable to some people. Good luck!
I remember well the “weird” girl in my high school class. A bit funny- looking, a lot different in her dress and general appearance. One morning, I approached her just to say “hi,” and she turned and fast-walked away from me. I tried several times, and she always looked like a deer in the headlights. I was not one of the “cool kids,” landing somewhere in the middle of the social spectrum. My friends told me I would never break through M’s walls. Most of them had known her since kindergarten. I have wondered many times, over the years, what her story was. I’m sure there was a story.
And I really like your story, by the way. I’ve seen similar scenarios played out time and time again, both as a student and a teacher. Human nature never changes. Bullies will always pick on those least able to defend themselves.
I am a person too. Yet there are so many people who take personal pleasure in undermining others for the slightest of reasons. If only people realised there is power in talking and communicating.
A story that touches the heartstrings.
You are so brave to tell us this. I hope it also helps you getting over it. I was also considered weird but was lucky to have a few good friends. It’s hard to break down these wall we build around us.
Anne, I’m glad you wrote your story, and I’m glad you shared your personal connection to it. Kids that grok anything different from the herd will shy away unless they are one of the different ones. I’m sorry there weren’t any what I’ll call “sensitives” around to link up with back in your school days. I was petrified in early grade school of everyone and only connected by chance with another “outcast” girl when we moved to another neighborhood when I was in 5th grade as she lived right across the alley from us. I hope you keep sharing as that is how people get to know who you are inside.
The cruelty of some young people is just awful. Poor Lissa. You’ve pinpointed an experience that is all too real for many people who don’t find acceptance among their peers. Thank you for sharing this, and for revealing the truths behind the fiction so bravely.
Your skilful phrase ‘the battleground of the cafeteria floor’ speaks loudly to me. I loathed school time that wasn’t spent in lessons because gentle children didn’t fare well on those out-of-classroom battlegrounds. Good for you for putting this very relatable subject into words.
I often wish that I’d been nicer when I was young. When I think back, I can still see one or two sitting alone
every story has a story within it.
A powerful story, Anne. Thanks for sharing it.
It was never your fault, friend. I only know you online, of course, but I know you to be a kind and decent human being who deserves all the happiness.