It’s amazing how well he could predict how I was feeling. Even just from the way I open the door when I arrive each morning, he’d be looking. Waiting to see if I would speak first. Or cry.
I believe that in all situations, the first is always the hardest. First love, first failure, first friend. As I sat in the corner that day, all I could think about was the day finishing. It was dumb of me to insist on staying here. Papa said there are plenty more universities to choose from. Somewhere, he said, where I would fit in better. Where people are not so different.
I was mad. What lies and illusion lies beneath his words. All my life I have never fitted in. Anywhere. The one kid in many that’s forever being told that her mind is wandering somewhere else. Always halfway between here and there. And, though I made friends, they were nothing like I imagined. Never selfless with their love, not so generous with their time. They called me their leader when I’m every bit as clueless as they are.
Back to that morning when I first entered the room. I sat in the corner, aware of the circles formed by instant friends and old acquaintances. I rummaged my bag and took out a book. They stared and followed me with their eyes as the pages slowly pass by. My eyes following each line, pretending to be unmindful of the voices I hear around me. I look up only to find the professor has arrived to hide away my treasure.
A few minutes later with no friends in sight, I take out my book again. I have no desire to have a circle of my own, less so join the boisterous and confident teens that seem to dominate the class. Because on my own I can think whatever I want. There is no one to object or embarrass. I am my own judge. But what I see is…
Someone smiling at me.