I had set my bag at the very end of the line of bags. I'd recognized two of my teammates from last year, huddled together and obsessing over something on one of their phones, but they didn't say hello, wave, or even glance my way. I told myself I shouldn't blame them when I didn't greet them either.
I found myself dragging my bag towards the corner of the gym and plopping down, alone. I yanked on my court shoes, and sprang up, pacing in my little corner. I pretended the painted lines on the wooden floor of the gym were balance beams, and I placed on foot in front of the other, following the path. My nerves jangled and I felt like my my organs were trying to rearrange themselves in my body. The second day of volleyball tryouts.
The coaches ran us through drills, split us into groups, watched us with impassive expressions and uninterested eyes....
At the very last second, I yanked my foot away, jumping back. Did the little guy know how close he had been to death? I crouched down, "Hi!"
The pill bug continued on its way across the sun-baked sidewalk, paying no attention to me. I guess I deserved the silent treatment after I almost killed him. But still, I wouldn't accept being ignored!
I moved to block his path. He turned the other direction and started off again.
I placed my hand in front of him. One more turn and he disappeared into the grass, leaving me crouching alone underneath the sweltering sun.
I guess I was destined to be ignored when my conversation partner was a pill bug.
I used to belong to a young boy in the first grade. He was a very happy and carefree child, with a loving family and good grades. He wasn’t really the forgetful sort, but one day the ice cream truck was coming after school, and he was in such a hurry to leave that he knocked me off the table and I fell onto the floor.
For a while I sat in a dusty corner, gathering dust and cobwebs, until I was picked up by one of the boy’s classmates. A girl who always had her hair in a tangled mess, and wore mismatching clothes that made people laugh at her. I learned that she liked to collect things. Her pencils were picked up off the floor, already with bite marks along the wood and colored on with markers. She was a very quiet child, who shied away from attention and prefered to draw on her worksheets instead of doing...