Here, I’m Miss Nobody. But back home… there I was Miss Popular
When Rivi, who’s organizing our class Chanukah party, announces, “We need homemade doughnuts,” no one volunteers.
Batya offers to buy some, but Rivi frowns, shakes her head. “Not good enough,” she says, wagging her finger in mock rebuke. “We need homemade.” She raps her pen on her desk. “Anyone?”
“Aw, come on,” Rivi says. “Don’t any of you bake? We need this party to be the most amazing party ever!”
I hesitate, then blurt out, “I can do it.”
Silence again as all turn to stare at me. My ears burn, and I rub my tongue along my top teeth.
“You can?” Rivi asks.
“That would be great!” she exclaims. “I didn’t know you can bake,” she adds unnecessarily.
“Neither did I,” Shiri calls out. “Even though you’ve been in our class for two and a half years already!”
I shrug silently, picking at the corner of my new burgundy sweater. Two and a half years is not long in the big scheme of things. They didn’t know me for my first 13 years, before we moved to Newtown.
Rivi moves on to the next item on her “must have” list, but I am no longer listening.
Here, in Newtown, I sit on the sidelines, half smile at my classmates’ corny jokes, and occasionally answer a question in class. My doughnut-baking capabilities are not the only ones I’ve hidden; they didn’t call me a math whiz in my old class for nothing, but here I sit through math lessons quietly. And, not to boast or anything, but my notes were the most sought-after back home; here, no one ever asks for them.
Here, I’m Miss Nobody. I have a couple of friends on the edge of the social circles — they’re terrific girls, and I feel fortunate to have them. But back home… there I was Miss Popular.
(Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 791)