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A meditation on what makes each of us unique—and strange

Lauren has declared that I am officially an alien.

She declared it when we stood, or rather huddled, by the door as the rain supposedly “poured” outside. The word “poured” was thought of by a group of abnormally dry and cold North Carolinians who claimed that a mere trickle was a waterfall. They began debating whether or not to bring out the van.

The rain intensified. It was a nice sort of intensifying-ness—the sort that makes a drizzle into a good, steady rain. All the while, Lauren felt my hair, mystified as to why it had nothing more than a drop of water on it when we had walked through the rain to get here. This led to her declaration of my alien-ness.

My nearly waterproof hair was not the only cause of her theory. There had been a number of other observations she had made: my sensitivity to what people deemed “normal” in terms of humidity, my fascination for humans, my unnatural love for alligators. This had brought her to conclude, “You know, you are an alien. Some sort of waterproof, alligator-loving alien. You probably came here to study humans.”

Maybe she wasn’t wrong. I don’t know. I do have some strange qualities, most of which I’m really not sure could be considered normal.

I looked at the crowded room, filled with kids who refused to acknowledge they were kids, some with bright-green hair, others with words scrawled with marker (some permanent) on their arms, holding projects as unsuspicious as a piece of paper or as threatening as . . . well it wasn’t clear exactly what they were, but they were dangerous, no doubt. I looked at the kids who were smaller than most, and others who were taller than most, and the kids whose poems nobody could really understand, but which we liked anyways, and the kids who, for some reason, managed to draw unnervingly realistic scratches on their legs and faces with paint, in preparation for a Halloween months away.

Ah, yes. I’m the alien.

I glanced at Lauren, standing next to the door, the same person who had dumped what could have been a pound of sprinkles on her ice cream at lunch, declared it tasted like plastic, and proceeded to eat it all anyways, the same person who asked me (quite logically) why I was having salad for lunch right after we both agreed that salad only makes people hungrier and was altogether useless. I thought about the time we sat upside down on the couches and untangled string for a group of kids who wanted to do something with it, which was most likely just as dangerous as the projects in other kids’ hands.

I thought of the kids who talked excitedly about dancing before the dance, and then spent the entire time eating Cheez-Its out of the vending machines, and all the people who wanted to call for a van just because of a few drops of water.

Ah, yes. I’m the alien.

Sonia Teodorescu, 13
Tampa, FL