There are tables set up with chairs and people are starting to sit down with their paper plates; some chairs are leaning on the table. Marking the places, as saved. There are purses or glasses already set down.
You scan the room looking for an empty chair, hoping to catch someones eye, looking for a smile.
The people don’t look up.
You approach a table, and say, “Is this seat taken?”
“I am sorry, it is taken.”
They are not really sorry; they are just being polite.
You shrink a little, feeling small.
The next table you recognize someone you know, they say, “I am sorry this seat is taken.” You shrink a little more.
Then you walk to the end of the room and find a table that no one is sitting on. You sit a little taller.
And you are in middle school again, and the girls all wear bras, and you don’t . They run their finger down the center of your back trying to find a strap to catch their finger on, and they laugh and walk away.
And one of the girls with a bra moves away. She calls you on the telephone,
“Remember the paper you got an A on? Will you let me use it? I have a paper due tomorrow.”
“Yes, let me go and get it.”
You hope she will be your friend. You read her the essay, word for word.
Loretta, the girl with the beautiful L on her name. She swirls it and makes the P that starts your name feel small and out of balance.
After you hang up the phone, you realize she will never call you again.
Lisa-Jo Baker is the host of Five- Minute Friday. Today’s writing prompt is “small.” Write for five minutes, unedited.