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just a picture of a cloud
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
She thought about her classmates, and she thought about trust.

She could remember, about a year ago, sitting in some class. Which class it was exactly wasn’t clear to her – she thought it might have been calculus, or something along those lines – but it didn’t really matter. They’d been told to pair up, and Georgia Lee was sitting, waiting for people to come and ask to be her partner. She answered nearly every question that was put to the class, she was nearly a week ahead on her homework, and she was generally acknowledged to be far and away that class’ best student. Her classmates, she reasoned, would be falling over one another to partner up with her.

Georgia Lee had sat at her desk and she’d watched her classmates pair off with one another, and she’d started to wonder whether they saw her sitting there. Maybe, she thought, they didn’t see her at all; they’d somehow missed how she knew every answer and how she handed everything in at least three days before it was due. Maybe they somehow didn’t know her worth.

She'd stood up, to make herself more visible, and she’d looked around and seen girls she’d thought were her friends, huddled together, already talking about what was their project. Still nobody came and talked to her, and Georgia Lee stood, watching everyone settling into their groups, until she had realized it was only her standing and everyone else had started to work. She’d sat down, then, and she’d done the project on her own.

Her grade had been the highest in the class, but as they’d been informed of this Georgia Lee had looked around, and the eyes that met hers were certainly not filled with admiration.

It had been humiliating, when she was standing alone in that classroom. Georgia Lee could remember her face burning, her hands tense against the desk, her eyes not making contact with anyone else’s. It had hurt, being left out like that, and it had left her feeling lonely, and feeling unwanted. She’d closed her eyes as she worked that day, and tried to pretend there was nobody else in the classroom, just her, by herself.

The feelings of distress and embarrassment came back to her now, as Georgia Lee recalled the incident, but mixed in with them was a strange, fierce pride. It had been hard, and it had been lonely, and she’d wondered and worried so long and so often how much better and easier and nicer her life might be if she hadn’t set herself apart from her fellows. At times it had been awful, and what had she done? She had done nothing. She hadn’t changed and she hadn’t compromised and she hadn’t let all the ire and jealousy and insecurity in the world turn her into someone she wasn’t.

Georgia Lee liked who she was. She was proud of who she was. So some of her fellow pupils couldn’t see her worth; so what? She’d just add that to the already enormous pile of evidence of their idiocy.

Not everyone had been awful. Some of her schoolfellows had been smart, and kind, and friendly, and had noticed Georgia Lee and valued her for who she was. Theirs were the names she'd carved into the desk.

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Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying · The Cafeteria