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An Invisible Watermelon
I am a brick in the wall. I am the tape holding up the posters for tonight’s dance. I am the foundations of the school. I am invisible, and I like it that way. Except for now.
Our science class is studying worms. Or should I say me. My partner, jerk Erika, is too grossed out. So I handle all the pretty work. I glance at Alex. She’s having the time of her life with this kid that does magician tricks. I should be happy for her. But I’m not. Shawn Peterson should be in this group with me. Except he’s not here. If he were, girlfriend Erica would be all lovey-dovey over worms. Then I would get my chance to stare at him. I have his outer shells memorized, and that’s good enough.
It's five minutes to lunch. The door to escape opens and in comes serious, sad Shawn. Not the goofy, cute Shawn as usual. He hands in a late notice, walks to our group, and Erica immediately becomes a scientist. He doesn’t look at me. Like always. But his face shows stress and his eyes are bagged and red-rimmed, as if he were crying. As he kisses Erica, I catch a light whiff of a watermelon in spring air. The smell stabs my stomach. I should be kissing those sugary scented lips and not have my hands be covered with dirty worms.
“How could you?” Erica screams. Her disgusted eyes glare at my confusion. Shawn looks at me and I am wrapped up in a beautiful fog covering a green marshy field of melons. “She threw a worm at me.”
“Is this true?” I look up at our teacher whose eyes are smirking. I don’t say anything. I can’t. My stomach has exploded dozens of frogs that are leaping up my throat. My vocal chords are blocked.
“It was an accident.” Shawn says. “Serena knocked over the cup accidentally.” He looks at me with dull eyes. Mine are masked with a longing so deep it cuts. “Erica, how about you go to the nurse’s office to clean up?” He walks away as the bell rings. I feel Shawn’s eyes as I gather my books. I could make a joke out of this. He could then see me as pretty and energetic. Not dumb, dull, and cold. Erica walks past me. Her shirt is stained with the gray trace of slime. Inside I am laughing until, “Loser.” The frogs die and my stomach has trouble digesting them. Prickly thorns bubble up and prick my heartbeats. My head hangs down and continues to do so as Alex puts her arm around me and whisks me away.
Green beans become stringy. Potatoes become a cloud that rain mushy hailstones. My eyes are ruining my lunch, but at least the roast beef is softer. Alex grabs my hand and squeezes it. “It’s going to be okay. You’ll forget about it later.” She’s my best friend, and she doesn’t understand anything. She got bullied in middle school. Surely, she remembers the stinging rash. I ask her this and she replies. “Of course. The first time getting called that is hard. But it could be a sign that Shawn may be just like that.” I try to glare laser beams at her. “You just want him for yourself.” I snap.
“It’s not like that.” Frowning, she looks around the cafeteria. “Jason! Come over here.” He makes his way over, carrying a heavy book that balances his tray full of food.
Erica sidesteps him. She starts yelling. His shoulders slump as his smile dissolves. They finish ‘talking’ and she trips him. Alex gasps and runs over to wipe the potatoes off his face. As they make their way over, Alex coddles him. His goofy smile returns. “Hi, Serena.” He says as they take their seats. “Serena, this is proof that I don’t want Shawn. Meet Jason, my new boyfriend.” He smiles showing his crooked teeth. “Shawn is the guy that’s dating Erika, right?”
“Yeah, what was she so angry about?”
“I’m helping the volunteer club decorate the dance, and she’s a complete control freak over it.” Alex tells him about the earlier incident.
Her eyes suddenly gleam with a mischief I know too well after becoming the root of all her pranks. “You know, we should get back at her somehow.”
“But I already did when I didn’t mean to do that.” I say.
“And now she’s meaner than ever. Look at her.”
I turn my head to see her fighting with Shawn about a tuxedo he didn’t buy. Ouch. “Serena, Jason’s a magician.” His smile dissolves like quicksand while splashing over is a wave of hesitation, or insecurity. “We could do something along those lines. Right, Jason?” He instantly nods.
“But I don’t want to make her madder at me.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll think of something.” She smiles at both of us. “Something she’ll never forget.”
I am a blob of green getting cold against the brick wall. I become a green watermelon as I drink red punch. My insides turn lonely like a black seed no one wants just as I begin to wonder whether I’ve been stood up by my only best friend.
I feel a nudge. Alex is in a peach, pink dress that sparkles from it’s over usage of glitter. “Wow, Alex.” She’s hurt by my sarcasm. “Jason loves it. Now come on and see the plan.” She grabs my hand and nearly drags me out of the theater. We exit leading into a series of hallways that lead us to the stages secret back entrance.
The door opens into pitch darkness. “We can’t go in there.” I say. “Don’t tell me you’re scared of the dark.” She rolls her eyes as she switches on a flashlight. We make our way over to Jason. He’s standing on a ladder, nearly over the stage curtain, holding a large bucket. “Abracadabra!” Jason says dramatically. “What’s in the bucket?” I ask, slowly getting excited. There’s silence. “Well, you see Serena…”
I am suddenly tripping on my dress, falling through the curtains and into the blinding lights. I knock someone over as I hear a shrill girls scream. I smell watermelon. I look at Shawn. I’m lying on top of his chest. My hands are touching his shoulders that radiate warmth.
“SHAWN!” I roll off of him and stare at Erica drenched in worms. I laugh, but it’s unnoticeable. I’m invisible as she screams fury at him. “I didn’t know you hated me this much. Just for once in my life, can’t you give me something right?” Erica stumbles away in tears. She stares in shock as her supposed friends don’t do anything to help her.
I mumble sorry to Shawn and run off. A warm hand grabs my shoulder. I turn around expecting Alex, but I am swept into his green eyes sparkling with laughter. “I’m sorry.” I say.
“No. Um, I wanted to say thanks. She’s controlling and…” Half of his chapped lips turn upward. “It’s nice to be away from her for a change.” I nod and turn away. “Wait. My name is Shawn.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Would you like to dance with me, Serena?” I bloom inside once I hear his raspy voice saying my name on his tongue. I step towards him, holding out my hands. He grabs them, sets them on his warm shoulders and wraps his arms around my waist. I breathe in his sweet, airy scent. “To be honest, I’m glad that happened. I’ve wanted to talk to you, but I didn’t know if you knew I…”
“Existed?” I ask, smiling. His eyes crinkle into an embarrassing laugh. “Dumb, right?”
“No, I always think I’m invisible to everyone.”
“But you’re not.” He gently says. I smile at him, opening up my happiness in my eyes. He slowly tilts his head leaning it towards mine. My eyelids drop as my heartbeat quickens as I finally get what I wanted for so long. The world now fades into a land of watermelon as we define what’s invisible.