This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.
By Deirdre Farrell
The words bite. You might see my face, see my laughter, and think, "Hey, she doesn't care. She's laughing. Keep making fun of her," but I really do care. It might not look it, but I do. A lot.
The grass reaches up and caresses my feet. The sun beams down on me, beating a reassuring, steady beat. I am aware of everything around me. Actually, I'm hyper-aware. I see a runner stumble slightly and fall behind the rest of the track team as they run warm-up laps. I feel a breeze as, five or so yards away, the kicker of the football team punts a ball across the field. I feel the white hot bleachers before I sit on them, pull out my camera, and start taking pictures.
My guidance counselor made me join the paper. He said that maybe I can meet people like me. Just because I love photography doesn't mean I can become a better, happier person by joining the paper. And so far, there's been absolutely no change in my attitude.
I snap a picture of the runner who has fallen behind. The reason I am so hyper-aware is because I am a photographer. I see things that other people don't see. I see beauty in the determination in that runner's face.
But the paper's editors don't. They only want pictures of the people that taunt me every day, the "popular" people. For example, the article "Penny Simons Gets New Louis Vuitton Bag!" would be in the paper, but "Mathletes Bring Home Math-A-Thon Trophy Third Year Running" would not.
But I sullenly have to oblige. That's what our school gets for having a school paper run "by the people, for the people." You get useless human interest stories.
But today, I'm thinking. On the hot bleachers, with as much sweat pouring down my face as on the faces of the athletes.
I think, and decide to go ahead with an idea I've been thinking about every since I joined this sorry excuse for a paper. I decide to start my own newspaper. I know that my guidance counselor will be all for it, thinking that I'm finally "finding myself." But I'm not. I've already found myself, but now I'm just letting everyone else see.
I know that the first thing that people will see when they read the first issue of my paper will be the picture of the runner. I know that there will be hell to pay when those popular girls get ahold of my new paper, but at least this time, when they start making fun of me, I will be able to stand up to them, because I really won't care. It won't be just a face.
And that is what I'm thinking about as I sit here, under the sun, my feet dangling over the edge of the bleachers, just a few feet above the neat grass surrounding the football field, a strange smile on my face, as I snap pictures of that runner, who has finally caught up to the rest, and is now victoriously pulling ahead. That is what I'm thinking as you and your cheerleader friends watch me, and plan your next assault on me. This is what I'm thinking.