I can still remember with perfect clarity the day in eighth grade when a boy walked up to me at my locker and said, “Hey cutie.” I was sweaty, having just come from gym class, and I was only at my locker to buy some time before I had to go to math class where the teacher hated me and the numbers didn’t make any sense. But there was a boy standing next to me and he called me cute and I had no idea what to say. But I didn’t have to say anything, because the girl he was with just laughed, a cut off cackle into the oversized purse she was fishing through. I turned back to my locker, not saying a word because I was out of my depth and trying to ignore the world.
Either ignorant to the fact that I was still within earshot or apathetic about the whole situation, the girl pressed the boy for answers. “Why would you say that?”
“Fat chicks need love too.” The words were mocking, insincere, and they burned through my body like a poison. I didn't ask for this; I was just standing at my locker. I was standing at my locker so that I didn’t have to go to a class where the teacher lied to my mother about me and made me feel inadequate on a daily basis. I was standing at my locker because all I could think about was that my dad was in the hospital for the third time in two years and he was probably in surgery by now. I was standing at my locker because I had just come from gym class and I didn’t know if I could take another day of the teacher ignoring how the athletic girls mistreated the rest of us. But now I was standing at my locker because some fourteen year old angel of the fucking lord had decided to grace me with his all-inclusive love.
Quietly, I closed my locker door and sped down the hall to my math class. I had a test to take, a test that I knew I wasn’t going to be ready for because my mind was completely blank. I thought of nothing as I pushed my way into the classroom, trying to inconspicuously wipe tears from my eyes. But I was still burning inside and now the fire was pushing out, leaking from me, clawing its way out of my eyes so that it could glow on the surface of my face. I wasn’t fooling anyone.