by Angela Kang, Age 15, USA
Artwork by Katie King
She was a tall, awkward girl, a little too lean for her height. She was too weird, and he had hated it. The hands that were always clasped together were prominently structured, defined by harsh lines and angles.
They were features that she had always been made fun of for, and no one quite appreciated the way her toes pointed outward, the way she was taller than most of the male population at the school, the way she thought too long before she spoke.
The boy was average. He was average height. He had average grades. And he sure didn’t like this girl that seemed to stand out everywhere, in her height and her academics and her personality.
She was different, and he was not; and he hated being one of many so much that he was no one at all. That’s what he thought, and he delivered striking words to the angles that stuck out everywhere, wondering whether, if he was able to change her, he’d be able to change himself.
“Why are you so strange?” The words he said were loud, but he himself was quiet. He wanted to know why she got so much attention, why he paid her so much attention. It was because she was strange, of course, and he had to know why.
She thought too long before she spoke, and, by then, the quiet was too deafening for the boy, the stillness too moving.
“I just am.”
And he thought about the words for many days after, wondering at “I just am,” “I am,” “I.”
For many months after, he didn’t see her much again, but he was always thinking about the way her voice seemed to lilt the three syllables, the way it sighed as if there were still spirits of words lingering that didn’t dare escape the Eden of her mind, and the way she thought too long before she spoke.
For many months after, he didn’t see her much again, but he was always thinking about the way she just was. And he wondered at the way he was, too.
He had hated her differences. She was so different. She was too tall, too angular, too smart. He had hated how he seemed no different from anyone else.
But he had been different to her. He was so different. He was too small, too soft, too average.
Many months after, he saw her again. She was too weird, but it was a good weird. It was a weird he wanted to know. He liked the way she just was. And she liked the way he was, too.
Angela says, “I’ve always loved writing as it is a true way to connect with all of our innermost human desires and feelings, and I hope to develop it further over the years.”