The Outsiders


Tel us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.

(The photo has nothing to do with my story. I just thought it was hilarious)


Sami could never quite get past the feeling that if she disappeared, it would be a very long time before anyone noticed.  Here she was, again,  the new kid on the block.  She’d learned some things over her short fifteen years of life.  She knew how to blend in, how to be pretty nearly invisible, how to be with the other kids without their really noticing.  There wasn’t much to set her apart, no outstanding physical features or handicap, no deformities that would make her the butt of cruel jokes.

She was just new.  Again. She had to learn all the names of her classmates, and she had to figure out how things worked in this new place. She’d come from a big city high school of over 900 students, where it was pretty easy to be invisible.

This new place, though, probably didn’t have 900 people in the whole town!

She was used to dressing the city way, wearing nylons and flats to school every day. The girls here often showed up in thick, rolled-down socks and white sneakers.  It seemed so weird to Sami. She didn’t know if she would ever be able to make that change!

Other than that oddity in dress, the girls were pretty much the same.  They teased up their hair and then smoothed the surface, ending up with perfectly round helmets of hair sprayed to withstand the prairie windstorms.  They used pancake makeup, which Sami’s parents wouldn’t allow.  They used dark eyeliner and mascara, but not much other makeup.

A lot of them lived on farms surrounding the town. They worked on their parents’ farms, doing chores and helping with the canning and freezing.

Sami realized pretty quickly that this new group of girls she was meeting were less sophisticated than the city girls had been, but more down-to-earth.  And they were actually friendly. They included her during lunch, not leaving her to eat by herself at an empty table. They showed her around the school, told her who the cutest guys were, and who the toughest teachers were.

Sami had been used to at least two or three months going by before she stopped feeling like an outsider and became a part of the class.  This time, it was different.  Better.  The girls acted as if they were happy to see her each day, and soon she was walking the mile-and-a-half home after school with a group of girls that grew smaller as each one turned off on her own street, or at her own house.  She walked the last quarter-mile alone, smiling and enjoying the rural  road she lived on.

 One day, she put on her first pair of thick white socks, laced up her new white sneakers,  and left the house feeling as if she really belonged.

She got to graduate from high school there.  Three great years of feeling she was actually a part of things, not the outsider.

Then she went to college.


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