Stories

The Mask


I hesitated before opening the classroom door, and looked through the window- they were there, laughing together as they always did. I wondered whether they would even notice me when i sat inbetween them. I sighed, knowing that was quite stupid- but was it? I walked through the door, a fake smile on my face. The smile that everyone seemed to know and love. The smile that was unmistakeably mine.

I approached my chair. Ella looked up at me, and in mid-speech said “Hey Karyn”. She then continued her conversation with her best friend Sophie. They had been best friends when i first met them, but where the nicest people i knew, so i wedged my way into their friendship group. I guess it grew from there. I sat down as the teacher, Miss Topson, stalked into the classroom, bringing behind her the stench of cigarette smoke. She slammed her paper work onto the desk that was already covered in old papers, work that still needed marking. This was her usual cue for the class to shut up.

The lesson was slower than usual. I kept glancing at the clock- break was slowly approaching. I had stopped listening to Miss Topson long ago, and her voice was just a murmer. I had  re-entered my imaginary world, where i was so cool, i could win an argument, Ella was my best friend, and i didn’t need to hide under the mask that i wear everyday to make people know that i’m still there.

“Karyn!” I blinked, and looked around. Everyone was staring at me in anticipation.
“Yes? Sorry, what was the question?” I could hear some of the girls on the other table giggling. Miss Topson sighed.
“Karyn. Are you even listening?”
“Um.. yeah, but… no, i’m not listening.”
The class erupted into laughter, and i sat there, amazed. Ella was laughing her head off, and Sophie was on the verge of tears. I had said something funny! Me, Karyn Brookes…

“Karyn! For God’s sake, the bell’s gone. I want to have my break time, and i’m sure you would like to aswell.” The class were filing out of the classroom, some of them pointing at me. Amongst them, i could see Ella and Sophie leaving.
“Yeah… sorry…yeah, okay.” I muttered. I grabbed my things, stuffed them into my bag, and rushed out the room as the door was closing behind the last person.

I sat outside the canteen, knowing that Ella and Sophie would be in their form, and wouldn’t come out to even try and find me. But to be honest, i wanted to be alone. At times like this i just didn’t care.

And so it went on, day after miserable day. I laughed with people when they joked around, even though half the time it would be about me. But there isn’t much i can do about it…

-South African Nutter

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