In fifth grade, the teacher asked us to share what we did over the weekend.
She was the cool teacher because she let us call her by her first name, she told us stories about her friends from college, and she always wore crazy knee-high socks under her teacher pants.
I thought that if I wore socks like hers, maybe she'd think I was cool too.
The boy with the incredible hair raised his hand, he laughed, and he told the class about hockey. He could've been talking about spinach and he would have still charmed us all.
I loved him silently from across the room, and I hoped he'd be charmed by me too.
The sparkling girl with the doe eyes raised her hand, and she told the class about the shopping mall. Her mom allowed her to go there by herself. She oozed beauty and fashion and independence.
I tried to dress like her, and I wondered if she thought I was beautiful too.
I raised my hand, I told the class that my parents were getting a divorce, and then I showed the teacher my colorful knee-high socks.
The teacher didn't notice my socks because her mouth was hanging open. She didn't start to tell us stories about her friends from college. For someone who always knew what to say, it was odd that she was speechless.
I would never stop wearing crazy-knee high socks.
The boy with the incredible hair stopped laughing. He decided that I wasn't his type anymore, and that he preferred to charm girls who were mean to me and who wore tight, pink track suits.
I would never stop loving him.
The sparkling girl became a little less sparkly. She stopped wearing our matching bracelets to school, cancelled our plans to go to the mall, and began lining her doe eyes with a smudgy black pencil because the boys liked it.
I would never stop admiring her.
I couldn't help but wonder how painfully honest could become honestly painful. How fearlessly vulnerable could become fearful of vulnerability.
The next week, the teacher asked us to share what we did over the weekend.
The boy brushed a hand through his incredible hair, and his laugh still sounded like a bell.
The girl sparkled, and new bracelets jingled on her wrist.
I hid my crazy socks under my pants, and I didn't raise my hand.