This I Believe

Gaby - Tampa, Florida
Entered on November 27, 2006

Change. It’s unfailingly inevitable. Crushing, soul breaking, but all the while completely necessary. At least that’s what I tell myself as I stare over all the heads in the lunchroom, searching for a friendly face. One which does not exist in a high school cafeteria. It’s more like gawking and pointing, and not-so-hushed laughter. Having seen both sides of the rope, the not-so-hushed laughter is a lot louder on the lonely side. Since I ventured into the cafeteria on the first day of school, I learned that the kid sitting alone, writing in a journal during lunch is no different than the kid sitting at a packed table, laughing uproariously at some joke, or someone that just walked by. I should know, I’ve been both. This embarrassing ordeal has introduced me to an enlightening theory, that gets me through the day and introduces me to new faces; just spread love.

Back to my seat finding mission. Every table seems full and every eye is following me down the center of the cafeteria. Who would make a place like this? It’s a runway for ridicule. I see old faces drift pass me, none making eye-contact, none offering me a respite from this roast. I stumble over a backpack and almost lose my lunch as my best friend from elementary schools doubles over in laughter and the culprit tucks her backpack back under the chair with a smirk and a scornful, “Sorry?” My ex-boyfriend laughs and puts his arm possessively around her neck and whispers just loud enough for me to hear, “Puh-lease, don’t be sorry to her.”

Once having been a member of that very table, my eyes being to burn. My pride should be pulsating as I turn with a sweet smile away from the old crowd, but I feel like running to the library and hiding behind a book. I know this raillery will continue tomorrow and till the end of my junior year unless I find a new place to sit, so I continue onward.

Near the end of the strip, a see a pair of blue eyes. My patience has reached its breaking point, but these blue eyes transfer from my brown ones to the empty blue plastic seat beside them. I smile gratefully, turn and pose gracefully at the end of the cat walk and sit next to a lonely looking boy. Assuring me that the whole room is filled with bad aura and not to worry about the jerks on the other side, we begin a conversation of meaning and laughter.

The next day, Blue Eyes is waiting for me, and I sit down eagerly. Presently, another girl has taken my spot in the line up and is now awkwardly searching for a place to eat. I smile and stand up, calling out to her to join us. She flashes a relived, bright smile and rushes over.

Due to my experiences with loneliness and new-found friendships, I’ve learned that if you see someone meandering around a room, chances are they are alone. The helpless feeling I felt in the cafeteria told me that being mean to someone because other people were mean to me is completely unnecessary.

I turn with a smile to Blue Eyes and say, “Just spread love.”