She was always the smallest one of them. She was shortest, quietest, least interesting. Carmen was smarter, and fascinating. Annie was the loudest, and funniest too. Sarah was only a good listener – that label that somebody got by being quiet all the time and putting up with everybody else’s crap.
That was why, when they all went off to school, she was determined to change things. Her schedule filled with the strangest classes she could fine – “Neuroscience, the Beatles, and Psychadelic Drugs;” “Sexual Neuroses and Freud;” “Understanding Comic Book Art;” “The Chemistry of Cooking.” When they met at Thanksgiving, all back home for the holidays, she’d saved up stories about her courses and professors to tell them.
Annie’s hair was bright pink. Carmen had a nose piercing. Annie’s boyfriend played bass in a band. Carmen was dating girls now. Sarah barely managed to tell them the names of her classes before they turned to one another again, voices rising in excitement.
When Sarah got back to school, she knew things had to be different. She started cutting classes every once in a while. She hung out with different people so that she could go to their parties. She found a boyfriend, and then almost as quickly found a new one. She started sleeping more and eating less. This time, she was determined, she would have something important, interesting to say. They would have to listen to her.