Mar 03

Perfect

There is a girl who sits at the edge of the classroom. Her long brown hair is in a braid down her back and she pushes her glasses further up along the bridge of her nose. She is called smart, intelligent, and even perfect. Numbers come easily to her, as do books, and she can do her work well. Her math tests are all 100%, she turns in her science readings on time, she writes three-page literature responses. And so, those who do not understand, think that she is perfect, that she doesn't make any mistakes. That life itself comes easily to her, that she is always in control. And yet here she sits in the back of the room. She has pulled her knees up to her chest as far as they can go. Her right leg, which is wedged between the desk and her body is starting to lose feeling, but she doesn't care. She needs to make herself as small as she possibly can. A notebook is propped up on her knees and she bows her head down, hiding her face behind it and writes something down in the same black pen that she always uses. The notebook has been filled with words and doodles. She never lets anyone read it. 

There is a gap in the conversation. The silence floods into the room and she can feel it pressing in on her, suffocating her. It seeps through her, clogging her pores, pressure building up inside her with every second that goes by. Make it go away, she wishes. Please, someone else say something. Silences like these are usually when people ask if she has anything to add. People expect her to have something important, worth their time, better than the other rambling comments. She tells herself that she doesn't, she is convinced of it. Why can't they see? A friend who is sitting at the table hisses her name, not loud enough for anyone else to her. He mouths at her. Do you have anything? She shakes her head no and curls even tighter into herself. Please, don't let anyone else ask out loud. Please, no one talk to me. 

Finally, someone else breaks the silence. Her tense body deflates like a balloon and she falls back and back into the pools that have welled up inside her.

This is why she hates it when people call her perfect. Because she is not, not even close, and she only wishes they could understand.