29 Jan 2009

Des was my classmate back in freshman year in high school. She was one of the new girls, quiet, hardworking and seems to be a little bit out of place from all the students in class. While everyone else was making new friends, settling into their new cliques, she was often found in the corner, minding her own business but glancing at the other groups every now and then.

She’s a nice girl, although a little bit awkward. No one was especially mean to her in our class — everyone was accepted in the general sense — but no one was especially friendly to her either. Sometimes, in the middle of my gabfest with my new friends, I’d see her in the corner of my eye, quietly reading or writing, and I wonder how she must feel being there, alone and away from everyone.

One day, Des and I ended up as partners for a Science seatwork. We were supposed to measure some items and then answer the questions on the board.

“May I borrow your ruler?” Des asked, almost shyly.

“Sure,” I said, handing her the bright yellow ruler. It was early into the school year, so my things were still quite new. She accepted it and looked at it closely while I went back to doing my computations in my notebook.

Ang galing…” Des said. I looked up at her and she was still looking at the ruler, almost in wonder.

“What is it?”

“Your ruler has smaller measurements on it,” Des said. I looked at the bright yellow stick again and saw the smaller measurements with tiny actual numbers on the ruler in between the inchs. That way, you won’t have to count the smaller lines to get the exact measurement.

“Oh yeah…I didn’t notice. My mom bought that ruler,” I said, shrugging it dismissively and went back to my notes.

“You’re so lucky.”

I looked up again. Des was still looking at the ruler and then back at me, smiling softly, with a hint of something that looked like envy in her eyes. Did she mean I was lucky about the ruler? But…anyone can buy that, right?

“You’re so lucky, Tin,” Des repeated. “Lucky.”

Somehow, I got the idea that she wasn’t talking about the ruler anymore.

[377 words]

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