The Girl with the Red Converse

In todays world it is quite usual for people to get sucked into their lives. They forget about others who they don't know. They stick with what they know. That's what Felix Smithy did for most of his life, he just blended in. Then he met a girl who didn't blend. She was quiet and stayed to herself yet she stuck out so much. Felix always thought it was because of her bright red shoes.

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2. Someone Interesting

After that first English class it was a while before I really talked to Jenna again. Over those few weeks I just tried to figure her out. It frustrated me that I couldn’t read her like I could other people.

Her face said one thing, her body another, her clothes and attitude yet another, and her eyes something completely different. And then there were her red shoes.

I finally settled on thinking about the things she had told me for the class introductions to try to understand her better. It was basic information, but information none the less.

She had been homeschooled since the first grade. She lived alone with her mom and said nothing about her dad. She enjoyed writing and reading and TV shows and movies and all kinds of music. Yet if you asked her favorite, she couldn’t chose.

Her favorite pet was a cat and her favorite animal was a panda. I remember thinking that to be odd, but interesting at the same time. Her favorite color was yellow and she loved Daylily flowers. She also liked ivy vines that grew on the sides of old houses.

I said that they look sort of sad and depressing.

She said that it was more bittersweet and left a kind of feeling that wasn’t easily explained.

She was indeed a very interesting person and someone that I felt I had to understand.

 

Once school got started everything just fell into a pattern. I went to school, I worked, I went home, I worked some more. I had a lot of classes with Jenna, but I would usually just say hello or smile at her. It wasn’t until we were paired for a science project that I talked to her again.

“Hello Felix,” she said pleasantly as I slid into the seat next to her. “How have you been?”

“I’ve been fine. And how about you Jenna?”

“I’m managing,” she smiled as she said this, but a kind of sadness seemed to be sparked in her eyes. Before I had walked over I had noticed that she wasn’t writing today, but reading.

“What are you reading now?” I asked.

The Book Thief. It really is a most wonderful story. I quiet enjoy it, though there are some parts that I would like to rewrite. The ending for example. I think it would have been better if she had died with her best friend. That or he should have survived.”

I didn’t respond and she seemed to stare off for a moment.

“No,” she finally said. “his death was sadly necessary. Have you read it?”

“No, but I might.”

“You really should.”

That was the end of our little conversation. The teacher, Mr. Russell, had started class and was beginning to explain our project. We mostly just had a packet to fill out and some experiments to do in class.

As we got started I was thinking about Jenna’s odd way of speaking. She was always polite and seemed to speak like someone from long ago. But at this point I just thought it was because I hadn’t gotten to know her that well yet.

I then made a promise to myself to figure her out before the end of the year. I hopped that it wouldn’t take that long because I really felt that she was one of the most interesting people I had met in a long time.

I don’t mean that my other friends were uninteresting, but there was just something about Jenna and her actions that drew me to her.

It was after that class that I remember starting to look for her during the day. Not just in class but in the halls and at lunch. I knew that she would never fit in with my crowd very well, so I never invited her to sit with us at lunch. I told myself that she had other friends and would rather sit with them.

And that’s how it was. I would sit with her during science and we would have pleasant conversation. During other classes would say hello or just wave. At lunch I sat with the guys. They all talked about trying out for football, but that really wasn’t my thing. They knew it too. They said I should be manager like I was in middle school. Manager was really just a glorified way of saying water boy or towel boy. But that’s just how it was. I never really fought it. Deep inside I knew I didn’t need to do that to fit in, but at the same time I wanted to fit in even more. That’s where Jenna and I were probably that most different. She had no desire to fit in, while I had this strong subconscious desire to please and conform.

 

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