Her name was Emma. She was the new girl in school. I remember feeling very sorry for her because every student was staring, pointing and whispering about her. She was extremely small, very thin and, worst of all, she was a twelve-year-old girl who had no hair.
Emma ended up in my homeroom. She was introduced to everyone that first day and was then told to find an empty seat. Emma took a seat two rows away from me, one chair up. She lay her head down on her new desk, crossed her legs and put her hands over her face. She tried to conceal her embarrassment but everyone could sense it.
At lunch, Emma sat at a table alone. I think she was too frightened to approach anyone, while at the same time everyone was too frightened to approach her. About ten minutes into lunch, I decided to leave my table and walk over to her.
I pulled out a chair and sat down. I said, “Hi, my name is Veneta. Do you mind if I sit with you?” Emma didn’t answer, but nodded, never picking her head up or raising her eyes to see me. Trying to make her feel more comfortable, I began talking just like I had known her forever. I told her stories about our teachers, the principal, and some of my friends. By the end of the twenty minutes that we sat together, she was actually looking at me right in the eyes, but there was still no expression on her face. She simply looked at me with a blank stare.