They know I am not fluent in English, but still approach me. “Why are your eyes so black? Why do you look like you’ve been in the sun all your life?” My mother told me they’d find my features strange, but I didn’t realize how bizarre I was until the students pointed at me and asked questions. I pretended to be amused and walked away most days. Today, I wanted to respond.
A girl, golden hair and white skin sits next to me. “Everyone is saying you’re weird, that you cannot talk.” She says. I understand a little, but feel nervous about attempting to speak her language. “I am not original on this land.” I say, wishing my hands weren’t shaking. “Where are you from?” she questions. “Spain.” “That’s why your features are so dark.” I smile, unsure if this is a compliment or insult. “Do you have any friends?” she tries to make eye contact with me, but I keep staring at the ground, almost as if I am unconscious to everything around me. “No.” I laugh. “That isn’t funny! You must be sad.”
My heart starts to palpitate. I wish she wouldn’t have mentioned sadness. My eyes water with tears and my palms begin to sweat. I make attempts to stand and go somewhere else, possibly to the swings or slide. I am horrified when I see how crowded the playground is, and especially when I feel the girl grab my hand. “Come with me. I’ll be your pal. I think you’re pretty.” I blush and frown. She called a boy pretty. I knew why. My hair was to the back of my knees, and my lashes were longer than most females my age.
She knew I was lonely and afraid. She still didn’t know I wished I was her, a beautiful female. My mother thought they found my features odd because I was a boy who looked like girl. They found me weird because they couldn’t figure out who I wanted to be.
Ashlie Allen is a fiction writer and poet. Besides writing, she also enjoys photography. She loves coffee and wine.