I’m sitting down alone and the scribbling sound of my pencil is the only thing my ears are focused on, blocking out all the chatter from the other students. It was the last class of the day and my energy was already drained. Two people were assigned to my table, one of them was absent and the other one who is my friend had moved to sit and talk with another friend of ours. This wasn’t the first time she did this, it happened occasionally until my algebra teacher realizes that she isn’t sitting at her table and told her to move back.
The two girls would sit there and laugh, then make a sudden outburst that rings throughout the class. I would stare at them, wishing they’d invite me into their conversation. Sadness and loneliness hit me hard. I think back to my freshman year and how I tried to join everyone’s friend group, but I never fit in with any of them. Everyone connected with each other so well then there was me. I spaced out a lot in class, but I mean, what else was I supposed to do when everyone had someone to talk to, and I had no one.
The feeling of being alone in a crowded room is so exhausting and uncomfortable. I start thinking that I’m doing something wrong, and I always try to make myself interesting enough so someone can have a conversation with me. The extremely loud bell starts ringing, and I break out of my thoughts and let my pencil drop. I’m moving slowly to pack up my stuff.
The two girls walk past me and make their way down the stairs and I follow right behind them. Another girl is waiting patiently outside; she has different classes than us, so the only time we see her was during lunch and dismissal. They immediately gather around each other, leaving me out of their circle, and start talking about hanging out today, making me feel excluded from their plans.
I take a deep inhale and glance around, staring up at the tall buildings hovering over and back down at the cars and people passing by. I guess the only thing I liked about this school is that it’s in the city, so there was access to anywhere. My attention is brought back to the trio who all had their hair cut the same length, and they would dye their hair the same color almost every week and have matching bookbags. I was very envious of them; I wanted to dye my hair the way that they did and spend a ridiculous amount of money on a bookbag brand too, but I knew my mom wouldn’t allow that or let me spend a day at a friend’s house either. “So, whose house do you wanna go over today? We should stop by the boba shop and maybe go shopping too.”
They finalize their decision and start walking ahead; I speed walk to keep up my pace with them before they can cross the street to leave me; I quickly say bye in hopes of them hearing. They turn back to me smiling, return my farewell, and wave. While watching in the distance and having this empty feeling grow all around, I noticed that it was pointless to keep chasing after them. It was pretty clear that the girls didn’t want to put any effort in trying to include me into anything or talk to me long enough to have a real conversation.
Even though I came to accept that I would never find any true friends at this school, I decided to go home and talk to my mom about transferring. I had to make up an excuse that I was being bullied and I couldn’t take it anymore. If I had told the truth, she would give me this long lecture about how school is for education and friends don’t always last forever. She was right but being in my situation, I mentally couldn’t take it.
After a month of debating, my mom finally allowed me to transfer into a new school where all my friends from middle school were attending. Just as I thought the experience was much better, my real friends were excited to see me and actually talked to me, shared their secrets, and we even made several plans to hang out with each other. That emptiness started to fade away and was quickly replaced by a warm comfort that boosted my confidence.
I realized that there were already people who liked me for who I am and that I didn’t need to change myself to impress people who pay me no mind. Sometimes people won’t find interest in you, but there are so many people in the world, and one day, you may come across someone that likes being around you.