Please, God, can I have something good? Just this once?
“Hey, can you move down two seats?” It was a freckled classmate with braids who spoke with a lisp due to a cluster of missing front teeth. It was not a question, really. It was a command.
She was mean.
So I moved.
I opened the lunch box again. There were three thin slices of something resembling turkey sandwiched between two slices of soggy whole wheat bread. There was a single leaf of semi-wilted iceberg lettuce to give it some color. I sighed as I pushed it away.
Not even edible.
I would have to figure out a way to sneak it into the garbage to avoid trouble at home for uneaten food.
“Hey, why don’t you move down another seat?” It was a dark haired girl from my class. She glared at me. “I want to sit with my friends.”
I moved down two seats instead of one just to be safe.
My stomach grumbled. The thermos. There was always milk but it was probably room temperature by now. I sniffed at it, then tried a sip just to see.
I screwed the top back on.
“We need some more room. Can you move over again?” There was a group of three girls standing over me with their hands on their hips, laughing. Were they laughing at me? One feigned concern. “You don’t mind do you?” She flipped her hair.
I shook my head no, then sighed again quietly as I scooted once more.
Maybe there was something under the napkin? A cookie? I lifted the paper. Nope. Celery. Yippee. The worst vegetable in existence right here in my lunchbox.
Cookies never happen to me anyway.
There was a tap at my shoulder. I turned to find the freckled toothless girl with braids standing there again. “Move.” She pointed to an empty table behind us.
I nodded and closed my lunchbox. The lump in my throat was going to keep me from eating anyway. I moved to the other table, closed my eyes, and put my head down on the cool surface to wait until the bell rang.
“Is there a problem?” Someone touched my shoulder.
I looked up to see a teacher. She looked angry.
“I’m fine,” I lied.
“You should be sitting over there with your class.” She indicated the table I had just vacated. There was still an empty seat.
“They don’t want me there,” I replied quietly. I didn’t want those girls to overhear and give them any satisfaction in my misery.
I cleared my throat a bit and tried again. “I said, they don’t want me there.”
“Then sit up straight,” the woman barked before walking away.
I sat up straight.
If I could talk to that little girl, I would tell her it will all be OK, that the story works out just fine in the end. She will find her shoe, that one shoe that will change her life forever, and with it she will see the world.