Slowly, the hum of voices and slamming locker doors
began to diminish.
While I appreciated the silence,
I realized that if I didn’t quicken my pace,
I would be the last one out the door
and have all eyes on me
as I walked alone into practice.
With a deep breath and new resolve
I quickly threw on my clothes, laced up my new shoes
and pulled my hair back into a ponytail
as I tried to catch up with the last group of girls
walking out of the room.
As we made our way over to the team,
I realized that we were already running late
and roll call had begun.
“Jenny Coffman? Jenny?”
“Does anyone know Jenny or if she still plans to join?”
I saw heads start to turn to search the crowd of girls
and my heart dropped into my stomach.
I already knew I didn’t belong out here
I was drawing attention to myself
even before practice had begun.
I picked up my pace and tried to answer
“here” to signal my entry
but all that escaped was an almost inaudible whisper.
Realizing that my voice wasn’t heard over the chattering of students,
I waved my arm to signal to the coach that I was indeed present
and ready to join the team,
but instead of checking off my name
and moving along with attendance,
My presence was acknowledged with a stern admonition;
signaling out myself and the five other girls I had
walked up with.
“You six. See me after warmups”
Words that made all of the teenage chatter halt
and turn every pair of eyes on our small group
as if we had just entered the room without wearing any clothing.
As my face began to burn
and I diverted my eyes to the ground,
someone bravely spoke up,
and answered with a simple
to which we all accepted and nodded in solidarity.
*To be continued