I never understood the sad eyes of the shy ones who clung to their mothers’ knees,
but now innocence is dead
and I’m a walking shell.
I like it.
The feeling of black silk slipping between my fingers
as I run my hands down racks of expensive dresses
or the cracked pavement under my bare feet
as I walk home in the snow
because no one is standing next to me telling me I shouldn’t.
I like to touch things.
And the shadows in my brain sink back for a few moments
when I don’t have to be intelligent for them
or organized for her
or apathetic for him.
My voice is small and fragile,
beating once a minute,
and the shopkeepers say,
“Sorry sweetie, I couldn’t quite catch that.”
I like to test people’s hearing.
So go, you wayward wanderers.
Go to your smoke-filled rooms and bright parties.
Let me breathe in peace.
Go be with everyone else.
I like to be alone.
By Noa Urbaitel
Grade 11, Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg, Vermont