I could say prom or my twelfth birthday or any of the parties that She decided to go to.
But they have nothing on this. Nothing at all.


Freshman year of high school, end of the school day, early summer.
My hair was getting long again.
I was walking towards my dad’s car, one foot in the car when I saw them.
All of my friends. And Her.
I placed my foot back on the ground.
The monster was back. It clawed through my insides, searching for my heart.

They see me. Their laughter dies. “Hey,” Linds says.
The monster greedily reaches for it’s goal.
What had Meg said earlier today? Oh, yeah. She had said, “Sorry, can’t hang out today. I have chores.”
A smile works it’s way to my lips, making them all shift uncomfortably. “Going to help with chores?”
“Nope,” Jess pipes up, oblivious to the tension as usual. “We’re going to hang out. Want to come?”
She glares at Jess. Meg can’t look at me. The monster’s claws grazes it’s goal.
“No, I have things to do.” Everyone besides Jess is visibly relieved. Jess pouts for a half-second, then smiles. “Besides,” I say, my lips suddenly moving without my permission. “I don’t think I’m welcome.” Malice hangs on each word, scalding all of us. But I’m the only one who feels the delight at their discomfort and the horror of my joy. Linds whips around to look at Her and Meg, eyes accusing.
Satisfaction spreads through my chest like liquid sunlight. The monster gets in the car, says, “Let’s go.” Then relinquishes it’s control.



~Left Out and Lonely, by Sandra L

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