“Who is she? What is she doing here? Where did she come from?”
The entire lunchroom is whispering it as she walks into the room. Choppy, self-cut brown hair. Raggedy shirt, jeans with the cuffs cut off. A grey backpack with pink and white flowers. She’s very windswept and very short, and when she looks around the room, her eyes widen in excitement. The paper sack in her hand quivers just as she does as she slowly heads toward a table.
“I don’t know her,” I say quietly, more to myself than anyone in my group of friends.
But it’s far from true. I do know her. Or I did, once upon a time. I helped her pick out the fabric for that misshapen, flowered backpack no one else would dream of wearing, then gave her the pattern for it. I helped her cut her hair just the way she wanted it. I showed her how to hem up her cut-offs, though it looks like she disregarded that advice.