She walked through the double doors into the hall that smelled of sweat. She fought through the giant mass of bodies and made her way to her locker. After three tries, it finally opened.
Homeroom. She entered at the last possible second. She didn’t want to be in there longer than she had to. It was full of jocks, snobs, populars, people who didn’t understand her. She sat there silently. When the bell rang, she darted out.
The sound of the school bells set her on edge. The hard seats were never comfortable. The teachers all sounded the same. The students…oh the students.
She entered first period. She scanned the room, the people. The people who were all the same. But one was different. This pair of eyes stared into hers, with kindness. There. There was someone who would talk to her, would understand her. She wasn’t alone.
They sat down together, and talked as they did everyday previous to this. She felt comfortable. The bells weren’t as loud, the seats weren’t as cold, the teachers weren’t as boring. It was good.
The day passed, the clock ticked. She spent her day going from classroom to classroom; each new set of walls a strange different color. In each class, she would look, and see eyes that all looked the same. But there was always one pair of eyes that was different.
At the end of the day, she and all the different people gathered together. They congregated in their church. The other students almost never came into the large, usually cold room that they found so welcoming.
After sharing stories and enjoying each other’s presence, they began to work. Each had a specific job; each contributed something to the end goal. They all depended on each other to do their own work. They all depended on each other to make something beautiful. They all depended on each other, for they were a family.
The day came, when others would enter their sacred room, when others would see their final product. The day was plagued with fear, and excitement. They were setting themselves up to be judged, and they were vulnerable. And it was ok. This was what they lived to do, to be judged. If the reaction was an undesirable one, they had each other.
The performance was done. The parents complimented and praised, as was their job. They were proud.
Hours after, safe in the privacy of their own homes, they celebrated. They celebrated a successful performance. They celebrated their individuality. And they celebrated those who came before, who escaped to the theatre in their high school years, who were also different. That is why they are a family. There are generations, and the connections to these generations are kept while they build new connections amongst themselves.
The celebrations ended. The nightly gatherings were put on hold until the next show. The piece of art they worked so hard on would be showcased no more. But it was not over.
As she walks through the halls, she sees pairs of eyes that don’t see her. But every once in a while, she sees the eyes of a family member.
Of someone different.