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FICTION BY TEENS: 'Socializing'

10/21/2011 04:32 pm ET | Updated Dec 21, 2011

This is a regular column featuring original fiction by and for high school students, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.

You walk into school in a sleepy stupor. You’re not ready to be awake yet. It’s still dark out, why aren’t you still in bed? You yawn and give a little stretch. The bell signals your feet to commence dragging you to first period. You find yourself swept into the current of people, letting the mass of shuffling bodies and feet push and propel you down the hall. You duck through a door on your right and head down the corridor towards your classroom.

You throw yourself down in your seat, still feeling tired and worn down. You lay your head on the desk and close your eyes, hoping for a minute of rest before your teacher starts one of her monotonous, unending lectures. You let your ears pick up on the chatter circulating around the room; a group of girls gossiping about the latest relationship scandal in voices that seem far too enthusiastic to be genuine; a few kids studying together for the test next period, (guess what you’ll be failing?); some guys you know talking about the basketball game last night. You draw your attention to another voice behind you, one that doesn’t sound familiar. Your curiosity pries your eyes open, and you lift and swivel your head to find the source of the voice. Behind you and to your right sits a girl you’ve never seen before. She must be new. You inconspicuously observe her through what you believe to be your peripheral vision, (though in actuality, you are staring blatantly and obliviously at her). She’s really cute, that much you can see; brown hair that seems perfectly disheveled, really vibrant blue eyes, and glasses, too. Normally you don’t like glasses on girls, but she makes them look good somehow. You give her a mental commendation for having the confidence to wear them instead of contacts, like most people. She seems nice, too, from what you can see. She’s making polite but engaging conversation with another girl in the class, who usually tends to keep to herself, but appears to be having a grand time talking to this new girl. They keep glancing at you with slight, shy smiles, then turning back to each other in fits of muffled giggling. You finally realize that you’re staring shamelessly at them, and you hurriedly turn back to the papers your teacher has just placed in front of you. Your mind buzzes. You want to meet this girl. You make a note to talk to her after class.

You manage to restlessly entertain yourself through the remainder of class, fidgeting with things on your desk. You make repeated glances at the clock behind you, getting more apprehensive as the period draws to a close. At long last, the bell rings, and you spring from your chair. You watch the new girl leave through the door, and casually match her stride. You start talking to her—small talk, mostly, but she seems interested in talking to you, at least. Or she’s just being nice. You find your next class, and start to say goodbye when you realize that you never introduced yourself, nor do you know her name. You give yourself a mental kick to the head. You make a quick introduction, and she does the same. Determined to forge a friendship, you say that you’ll see her later, and add that you’ll find her on Facebook. She gives you a sweet smile and simply says, out of the blue,

“Oh, I don’t have a Facebook.”

As if it were the most natural thing in the world. Who doesn’t have a Facebook? you think. How else could you possibly communicate or stay connected with people? You need somewhere to post every bit of personal information for all your friends to see, to share every absentminded thought that fills your head that simply must be made public! Honestly, how else do people learn about each other? Have meaningful, one-on-one conversations? No! You scour their profile, follow their statuses, sift through their pictures, check up on their relationship status! How does this girl have any kind of social life if she doesn’t have a social network?

It takes several seconds before you remember that you are in the presence of another, with your eyes bugging and jaw unhinged, no less. You give yourself a little shake and tell her you’ll see her later, anyway, and she gives you a warm, albeit uncertain, goodbye.

You are still wondering how you can get to know this girl without the aid of Facebook. Maybe she's about to go gossip to her friends about you, and there will be no evidence in her would-be status or wall posts that would alert you. Or worse, what if she has a boyfriend at her old school? And you’ll never know it unless you…ask her! You couldn’t possibly be that forward.

You mull over the situation as you walk to your next class. You simply cannot get over this fact. It’s put such a damper on the whole prospect. As you walk through the door in your baffled daze, you reach a conclusion. Unless she shows a serious, obvious interest in you, it’s simply not worth the effort to pursue her if it means completely reforming your social habits. No, having in-person conversations would just be too difficult.

- Abby, 16, Annapolis, Maryland

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