My name is Rachel Abrams and I had a pretty good life or so I thought. Five months ago, my dad got a new job and we had to move from California to New York. I didn’t hate the idea of changing schools. I had friends at my old school and they were great but I didn’t have anything else keeping me there. I used to have a boyfriend. His name was Mike and to me, he was perfect. Blue eyes, brown hair, not too tall, not too short but just right. I never thought I was special or beautiful or anything but when I was with him, I felt important somehow.
Mike’s dream was to play professional football. So, he spent every summer working on his football and finally made the school team, which also meant he shot to popularity over night. The thing about having a popular boyfriend is that eventually, being the sweet girl he fell in love with at summer camp in middle school, just isn’t enough.
“ I just can’t do this anymore.” He said. It was a summer night I would never forget. We were at that small dinner we always hung out at.
“Why?” I asked, tears forming in my eyes.
“I just have so much going on with finals and football. I don’t have time for a relationship right now.” He said, looking everywhere but at me.
“We can make time.” I said, desperately trying to hold onto him.
“It’s not you, it’s me. I just cant do this right now.” He said.
And that was it, it was over. I’d been trying to convince myself that I was over it and there were days when I was but just the thought of him hurt sometimes. I was insecure even when I was with him but I never let myself feel or think about my insecurities but when he broke up with me, it was like they all came to the surface. All the voices in my head came rushing back, saying I wasn’t enough or I couldn’t even keep Mike around because I wasn’t good enough.
So the thought of changing schools seemed very good to me. I was always paranoid but when it came to change, I was even more paranoid than most people thought was possible. I didn’t sleep all night, the second I started to fall asleep, my alarm rang. I spent the rest of the morning convincing myself that I would be okay, that no one would pick on me.
I tried picking my most ‘normal’ clothes but all I had were jeans and mostly black t- shirts. I’d never been a girly girl, even when I tried my best to wear heels, I’d just trip over myself and give up. But I still picked the one girly t- shirt I had, my most blue jeans and a pair of converse for my first day.
I was always close to my family, so as my dad drove me to school, I decided to speak to him about how I was feeling.
“I’m really nervous.” I said, looking toward him as he took a turn.
“Why?” He asked, looking at me for a second and then looking back at the road.
“What if they don’t like me?” I said, looking down at my lap.
“Why wouldn’t they like you?” He asked.
“Because I’m weird?” I said.
“You are not weird, you’re beautiful and you have nothing to worry about.” He said.
I smiled at him, somehow reassured but deep down whenever anyone in my family, whether it was my parents or my brother told me I was beautiful or nice, I’d always pretend to believe them but it always felt like they were talking about someone else. That I couldn’t be the beautiful or smart or funny one, that was always someone else.
As I walked into the new school, I realized how much better is was than my old school. I looked around and it felt like everyone had someone but me, but that wasn’t the first time I’d felt like that. I went by the guidance counselor’s office and got my schedule. My first period was chemistry lab but I had no idea where that was.
I stood by my locker, staring at my schedule when a tall, blonde came opened the locker next to mine. I wasn’t good at approaching people, asking them things but I had no choice. If I didn’t ask her, I’d spend the first day of school roaming around, trying to find my classes like an Alzheimer’s patient trying to find his keys.
I looked toward her but she wasn’t looking at me, she was taking her books out of her locker. I tried to convince myself that I’d be able to figure out the map I’d gotten but I knew I wouldn’t. So I put all my awkwardness aside and decided to speak up.
“Hi.” I said in a weak voice.
“Hi.” She said with a kind smile on her face.
“I’m new here and I was wondering if you’d tell me where the chemistry lab is.” I said shyly.
“I have chemistry lab too, you can come with me. I’m Grace.” She said smiling.
“I’m Rachel.” I said smiling back.
We began walking to chemistry lab and I thought that maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad. I’d already gotten so much pain at a school I was at all my life, how bad could this be?