I don't belong here. Those four words spin round in my head every day in my head. Round. And round. And round. They make me dizzy. They make me feel sick.
Or maybe that's just the feeling of being alone. That makes sense. That feeling grows whenever I see everybody else playing 'Stuck in the Mud', or 'Farmer, Farmer'. I know I can't play 'Farmer, Farmer'. I don't have any of the things that are usually picked to let the players across. I don't have my ears pierced. I don't have blonde hair. I don't have a 'Best Friend' bracelet. I know I can't play 'Stuck in the Mud'. No one would want to save me, and no one would want to be stuck with me.
Why would anyone want to be stuck with me? I'm the girl with Clarks shoes, polished every morning. I'm the girl with pigtails, with matching ribbons at the ends.I'm the girl who has extra pudding on Fridays. I'm the chubby girl. The weird girl. The pathetic girl. Maybe one day I will have friends. But for now, I will sit in the corner, and read my book over and over again.
I trace the words with my fingertips, which are each covered with my bitten fingernails. I mouth the words with my mouth, being careful not to say the words out loud as I know that Cindy and Skye will just tease me about and it, and then they will tell the rest of the class, and then I'll have a new nickname for this week, and that'll make me sad. I don't think any of them know my real name. When Mrs Maple does the register, they all laugh even before my name comes up, even before she reads it.
They don't even give me a chance anymore. I don't think I've ever had a chance, really. Or maybe if the very very first first day of school I'd worn shoes that go clip-clop-clip, or worn that weird smeary stuff Mummy wears, or something that'd make me look 'cool', as Cindy and Skye would call it, I would have had a chance, and I would have been just as 'cool' as they are. Maybe even cooler. And if I was cool, I would have been accepted, and I would have friends, and I wouldn't be sitting here all on my own.
Well. I suppose I do have one friend. I suppose I'm not entirely on my own. I can't see her, or touch her, or anything like that, but she talks to me in my head, and she's very nice. She likes the same things as me. We both like coco pops, and that whippy whippy ice cream you can buy at the fair. We both like drawing magical animals. We both like books, especially the ones about these two girls who help all these fairies get their powers back from this evil goblin.
I like to think me and Celia are those two girls. That's her name. That's my friends name. Celia. Ce-li-a. It's a very pretty name. It's pretty, and girly, and floaty, as if she's a fairy, and she could just spread her wings and fly right out of my head. But she won't do that. Because she is Celia, and she is my friend, and she likes me, I know she does. She's never said anything mean about me. Ever. Because she's my friend.
Her tinkly voice makes me smile. It is as if her voice is playing a song whenever she speaks to me. A song that I'm sure all of the fairies in Fairyland would dance to if they ever met her. I hope they do someday. She's kind, she deserves to meet them.
Hi Celia! What have you been doing?
Oh, nothing special. Just watering the garden, sitting around the house. Like I said, nothing special.
Her bell like laugh rings out inside my head. Not a bong, bong bell sound, though. A jingle, jingle sound. Like Santa's sleigh.
That sounds fun, though! Much better than boring old school. I wish I didn't have to go. I wish I could stay with you all day.
Don't be sad, Lilly. Look, I baked cupcakes! Fairy cupcakes, with buttercream and sprinkles on top. Would you like one?
My mouth waters. Yes please!
"Ugh. That's disgusting Lilly." I look at the person in front of me, though I don't really need to. I know that voice. That mean, sneery, horrible voice. It is Cindy's. And Skye is standing next to her. They both have their arms crossed, and are looking at me like I'm a monster. Maybe I am. "What are you dribbling for, you baby?" I look back at my book. I'm not a baby, I'm not a baby. Tears are in my eyes. I'm not a baby, I'm not a baby.
"Baby Dribble Dribble," Skye laughs. Oh no. They've got another nickname for me. Skye is smiling at me. Not a nice smile, though. A mean, sneery, horrible smile. And I don't like it.
Cindy is clapping her hands, as if she's clapping at a show. Well. This is a show. This is the show of my sadness.
Leave her alone, you bullies!
I wish they could hear you, Celia. They'd go away if they could hear her. They'd go away for ever. "Leave me alone," I gasp, and duck into my book, though I know they can still see me. I didn't mean to say that. They're going to be even more horrible to me now.
A fist slams onto the table, right in front of my book. The hand then snatches my book away from my hands. "What did you say, Baby Dribble Dribble?" Cindy's voice hisses in my ear. Like a snake. A slithery snake slithering through me, and poisoning me, just like the goblin did with the Violet Fairy. He's mean, just like Cindy. Just like Skye. Just like Cindy and Skye.
Give her the book back, right now, before I chop you up into little pieces and use you as firewood!
"Can I have my book back, please?"
"That's not what you said, is it? Bad baby. You need to be punished." Suddenly, I feel a hand grip onto my chair, then suddenly I fall onto the ground. The tears in my eyes fall with my body, and carry on falling. I hunch into a little ball. Like a hedgehog. Like a scared hedgehog. I am scared.
A foot digs into my back, hard. The tears are coming down faster. But the footsteps go away, as do the laughs of Cindy and Skye. They've gone away.
They've got your book, Lilly! Go after them!
I can't. I won't. I'm too scared. I'm too weak.
I may as well be nothing.