Posted by: Laura A. H. Elliott | August 8, 2010

Answer: What do you say about yourself when someone meets you

I walk down the hall of Lyons High on the first day of school. It’s the same. I’m different. Last May I said goodbye to Lydia at that door over there, the one that leads to the steps I always take to my bus. We said we’d spend every other day at the pool and every day between the every-other-days at one or the other’s house. I won’t ever use that door again. I won’t ever go down those steps either. I’ll go all the way around to the end of the hall and walk all the way back to the buses on the sidewalk instead.

It was the party of the summer and everything had gone pretty much according to plan until then. Lydia and I had been every-other-daying pretty good, even though it was only the beginning of June. She said we had to go. I said I’d rather die. We went anyway. Not because we’d know anyone there. Mostly because we could both walk there and because our parents had no clue. Lydia said it was our big break out of obscurity. Our big IN at Lyons. That we would so massively change ourselves in one summer that we’d be cool by August and no one would remember who we’d been for the last fifteen years. Summer is like magic, she said. And I believed her.

Summer isn’t magic. Summer sucks. So, we walked over. First tip when trying to flee obscurity? Get a ride. Walkers were only fascinating in elementary school when they got to walk home for lunch. And we rang the doorbell. Second tip? Don’t ever ring the doorbell, just walk in or go around back or just figure out where everyone is and go there. That way you avoid the lame, up-and-down stares that not so silently ask why you’d ever ring the doorbell. So we snake our way through about three hundred people. All beautiful. All non-walker, non-ringer beautiful people and Lydia walks right into Rick.

That Rick. The guy she’s been obsessing over for like three, whole years. And the guy I’ve had to hear about in great detail for most of middle school. I know more about Rick O’Hannlon than I do about my own brother. Lydia knows his favorite breakfast cereal, when he wakes up in the morning, what car he’s going to get for his sixteenth birthday, and how he’d bring about world peace all without ever having an actual conversation with him. And so, what does Lydia, Miss Summer of Magic, do when she introduces me to Rick.

She doesn’t. She ignores me. And I open my mouth to say something, anything. But I’d been so invisible so long to everyone all around me I felt like a myth. So Lydia slinks right in with all the other non-walker, non-ringing, super-visible girls and freaking disappears and leaves me in the middle of The Party From Hell with no one. And as she and Rick walk off together he smiles the biggest smile. At me. Like, he saw me. His smile said he got a kick out of how desperate Lydia was. Only she doesn’t see it because she’s too caught up in the whole, oh-my-god-I-just-ran-into-Rick’s-rock-hard-abs-and-he’s-talking-to-me reality. And the summer would have been just fine since I stopped talking to Lydia and we didn’t every-other-day anymore. Except I had to deal with Lydia after Rick was done with her because no one else would. When she called and told me her life was over. But, it was just beginning.



  1. Nothing about myself… I wanna know about them!

    • Haha. Sounds like you are a writer, my friend!

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