As I sit across from him, I sniffle and pull out a Kleenex. “Jeez, this winter has been making everyone sick!” he says with a one-sided smile. I smile back, trying to hide the fact that these sniffles were caused by the tears in my eyes. How much longer? I look at him again as this question confronts me for the hundredth time today, but his attention has been redirected to the funny text he has just received. I look down at my books again, pretending I was looking at the people behind him as they laugh loudly. I force myself to lose interest in him because clearly he is not interested in me. My ego is too big to let it be bruised by a silent rejection. Every time I hear shuffling or footsteps, I look up in the hopes of the good-looking boys to notice me and smile. Of course, this doesn’t happen. Stupid me, it obviously wouldn’t happen to a girl like me. Only I don’t believe it. It could happen to me; someone who cares so much about appearance but dedicates her time to building her personality. But it doesn’t, and it hasn’t. Again, how much longer? How many more times do I have to pretend that having girls’ night on weekends is my choice and what I enjoy? That when a boy below my standards shows interest, I hide the fact that I starve for his attention? My loneliness consumes my thoughts and redirects my focus. I am constantly wondering how I can finally feel whole. I grew up believing love is just a luxury, that my needs and goals were a priority. Now love has become my necessity, and the emptiness I feel without it is like the constant feeling of going to bed hungry.
I close my books and stuff them in my backpack. As I get up I glance one more time at the boy in front of me. In the second I look at him, I see his blue hat sitting loosely on his head, wearing a tan-coloured sweater in blue jeans. So casual and so careless; something I show others I am. But he hasn’t noticed the pretty girl pretending to be concentrated in her books in front of him. Of course, I only desire a moment like this, and it feels as hard to achieve as winning the lottery. I leave the lounge and go home, the feeling of solitude never leaving me. The only thing I am certain of is that when I lay in my bed tonight, no one will be sleeping where I place my hand on the pillow beside my head.