Fiona was not the sort of person you would want to invite to your sleepover, or your graduation party or your aunt’s funeral. Fiona was not the sort of person you would want to invite over to your house or go any place with you. But- this is exactly what Eliza Laiken Lunt did.
It was the first day. Lunch Period. The room was filled with the odorous stench of the broccoli souffle the lunch lady, Ms. Guen, was making. Fiona looked down at the souffle in disgust. She shook her head at Ms. Guen and she snorted. With her pale head held high, she strutted past everyone in line and sat down at a table. She almost jumped out of her skin when Eliza sat next to her. Nobody liked her. Fiona knew that. So why, oh why, would Eliza sit down next to her.
“Hey.” Eliza said, “do you want my candy bar? I don’t like chocolate but Daddy put it in my lunch anyway.” Fiona hesitated. Was it a trick? Was Eliza trying to poison her? But, Fiona thought, licking her lips. She did love a good 100 Grand bar. Fiona opened her hand like she had seen her mom do so many times when she won a prize in the fashion shows, or when she was on TV and her mom was receiving the magazine from Mr. Walters with her picture on it. Eliza daintily dropped the fun-sized bar into Fiona’s open palm.
Fiona carefully unwrapped it and bit into it. It didn’t taste like poison. She eyed Eliza as she was eating her own bologna sandwich, there was no smirk on her face. No glint in her eyes. Fiona nodded to herself. Eliza did not seem to be poisoning her.
By the time the lunch bell rang and recess started, the 100 Grand bar was gone as well as Eliza’s bologna sandwich. “I brought my volleyball,” said Eliza, throwing away the tinfoil her sandwich had come in. “Wanna play?” Fiona looked at the neon yellow volleyball in Eliza’s hands. She bit her lip. She did want to play. Really badly. But- what if--. Eliza blinked. “No, none of that today.” She told herself. “Today, I’m letting myself go.” She nodded and threw the 100 Grand wrapper in the garbage.
Fiona liked volleyball. She knew how to play soccer better, but she liked Eliza’s company. Something was different about her. She didn’t ask her questions that didn’t have a yes or no answer just so she could make fun of her not being able to talk. She didn’t pretend to be mute as Fiona was and not talk to anyone.
The ball went back and forth between Fiona and Eliza, not dropping once, all the way up until the bell rang. At the end, Eliza took back her volleyball. “Good job”, she said. “High five?” Fiona slapped Eliza’s hand with all the power she could muster. She was proud of herself. She had done something today that she had never done before. She had made a friend.