I want to meet your friends
"I don't have
But I want to meet your friends.
"But I told you, I don't have friends
Why do you want to meet them, Sye? Even if I did
" She twiddled her thumbs, one up, one down, one up, one down, one up
Listen to me, sweet child of mine. You say you don't have friends, but I want to meet them, these friends of yours who you say don't exist.
No older than 8. Her blonde hair, streaked with natural strips of brown, curtained her face, framing the despair and alienation. She was lonely, intimidated. Unsure.
He told her things; not normal things, but frightening things. He scared her, that invisible voice; he made her feel uneasy within herself. She didn't like it at all, but he was the only person
the only voice that would respond to her own.
Her head popped up, startling herself, her mass of hair bouncing. Her eyes were wide and white.
"Joy, sweetie? Don't you want to paint the Indigenous animals?"
"No. But, yes
I think I would
"Okay, come sit next to me. We can start this platypus and you can help me pick the colours
The teacher's words faded, just like everyone else's.
Don't listen, he said. She's not your friend, I can tell, he said.
So the small, blonde-haired girl put her head down again.
why don't they like me..? I'm nice, I think
" The dead bed springs moaned beneath her body. Complaining. Sye was silent, she tried again.
I don't have friends, Sye." It sounded more like a question falling into deaf ears.
I want to meet them
"I told you. I don't
" Halting to a whisper caught behind her tongue, she stopped. Sky blues eyes rained with delicate silver tears.
I hate to look into those eyes and see and ounce of pain.
A cold shiver racked her porcelain, China-doll limbs.
"Don't Sye." The harsh whisper leapt from her small mouth, tripping off her dive-board tongue, splashing away the cold. Ripples carried a chilled air back in gusts.
I still want to
"Joke! Hey JOKE! Can't ya' hear me? Oi I seen your fingers move, you can hear me!"
A rough hand grabbed her hair, warmed from lying in the sun. Yanked it up. Painfully. Fast. She stared out at her non-friend, blank features shocking the half-grins from their faces. A tiny group glared back, semi-circling the ground.
"There ya' go, Joke. Now ya' can look at me when I'm trying to tell ya' stuff." This is Gary, two grades higher, two years older. Mean.
"Don't touch me, please. You're not my friend. If you were a friend, you'd help me braid my hair. Share your lunch with me. Talk to me. But
you don't." A short SMACK! And the grip on her hair was gone.
"You ARE a joke," the big boy, now so small, stammered. "No, you're more than that
" He paused. Sky blue eyes stole a glance at the boy's face, interrupted with strays of blonde and brown.
Gary's grin was now a snarl, "You're a FREAK!"
As a child I'd hide, and pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by
"What does that even mean?! You're too weird sometimes, Sye." A muffled voice, floating upwards. Escaping the constraints of a young girl's pillow of worries and secrets. An expanse of warmth and comfort surrounded her, the bed a stage.
An iciness, paralysing her fingers and toes. No warning.
Young, sweet child. May I remind you? I wish
LONG to meet your friends.
"Stop it!! That's all you ever say!" Face jammed deep into the pillow, her voice became clearer and louder. "I don't fit in. You know that! No one there likes me. The only voice there is the teacher, Ms
Something." Her head came up for air.
Child, you don't even know the teacher's name.
Desk. Pencil. Paper.
"Class, I'd like you all to meet our newest student, Jenny McGreggor." A girl, short brown hair. Dark brown, like copper. Face drawn back, shy.
The blonde-haired girl didn't take notice. Another non-friend. A new voice to fade, a face to forget.
next to Joy, alright?"
Footsteps. Coming or going, she didn't care.
The neighbouring chair disappeared, Copper-Hair Jenny sitting on its lap.
"Hello," a musical, pretty sound. A voice she could like. "I'm Jenny
"I like your name, it's pretty. A happy name, too."
She couldn't help it, but Joy smiled at her.
Pretty, sweet child of mine. I like your new friend.