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just a picture of a cloud
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The clouds above Georgia Lee drifted on and apart, and as the whale lost its form and became cotton, she sat up. There was a breeze, pricking cold against the sweat on her skin, and the tiredness she'd felt earlier had melted away, somewhat.

It was time to get moving again.

Across the park from her, Amanda had joined the conversation with Lili, Georgia Lee noted. She liked Amanda a lot. They'd worked together on a number of projects, and the other girl was smart, and a hard worker. She had actual direction, which was more than Georgia Lee could say for most of their peers. They didn't spend much time together socially though, and she saw little need to change that now.

Georgia Lee felt a pang of envy, sudden and unbidden, as she watched the three girls conversing. This was the sort of thing that never happened to her. People weren't draw to her, Georgia Lee knew, they were pushed away. She had her made her peace with that for the most part. It was necessary, for what she wanted from her life, to make sacrifices. She had sacrificed her relationships with her peers on the altar of academic excellence.

She could recall the exact moment when she'd had this realisation, too. It had been a Monday morning near the end of her freshman year, and she'd been in class early. It'd been one of her rare free weekends, but all her classmates had been busy for some reason, so Georgia Lee had spent the days working out and reading. She remembered feeling pleased with herself She'd figured everyone else had been busy catching up on study and assignments, and she was feeling proud that she had finished all her assignments weeks ago.

As she'd been sitting in the classroom on that Monday morning, the only one there at the time, she could hear some of her classmates talking in the corridor outside. Several of them were girls she'd tried to spend time with over the weekend, but had been far too busy to see her. They were all talking about some party they'd gone to together, that Saturday night. Georgia Lee had wanted nothing more than to go home and cry in that moment. To somehow, somehow not be in that room when they all walked in, though of course they were standing in front of the only door out. Instead she buried her head in her book, and bit her lip, and tried to ignore them.

A couple of the girls gave her guilty looks when they came in. Georgia Lee had been too embarrassed to confront them, and so she had pretended not to have heard anything. She'd skipped going to the batting cages that day after school, and had gone straight home instead, and of course that had just made her hate herself more. The next day she had wanted more than anything to tell her mother she was ill and just stay home, but she had forced herself to go in and she had acted like she wasn't aching inside.

It had hurt at the time, but Georgia Lee didn't think of it as a bad memory. It was a lesson, and all important lessons hurt. Still, in that moment as Georgia Lee looked at the girls, standing in the sun and chatting happily about a kite, she felt the pain of what she had given up particularly keenly.

It would still be easy to change all that. To start over. To simply walk across to the crowd, introduce herself to the stranger, make small talk. She could forget the rest of her run – what would one missed run be?

But she knew the answer. One missed run would be the first of many. The initial gentle incline of what was a very slippery slope. If this run was missable then so was any other, and if that happened everything she'd worked for would be for nothing. It didn't matter how easy it would be to go and talk to them. From Georgia Lee's experience, what was easy and was right seldom went hand in hand.

She turned, and set off out of the park, continuing her run. She didn't look back at the girls.

[Georgia Lee Day, continued in Of Angels and Angles]

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