I wish I could say that I go out to lunch regularly, whether to chill in the courtyard (I’m pretty sure people actually don’t do that), take a quick trip to the deli, or somehow travel all the way to Chinatown to bring back some boba tea. But no.

I usually stay in the lunchroom, accompanied by my warm lunch made by my mommy and tucked in my new and totally cool lunch bag, and mostly spend my time socializing with friends, or sometimes rushing to finish homework I forgot to do.

But today was different. Today I’d finally decided to go out during lunch.

But for the nerdiest reason ever–

I went to the library to pick up some books.

It was DEAR Day, okay? And yeah, I could’ve gone to the school library and randomly take out a book that I could pretend to enjoy, but I had three books I actually wanted to read that were ready for pickup at the library so why not?

I was still not proud of it.

But everything was going smoothly at the library. I found my books and had a nice, unforced conversation with the librarian. I skipped out of the building (or felt like I could, at least), glad I finally had my books and that my social gaffe count for the day was at a 0. But that would change just three seconds after I had stepped out.

I heard voices. Voices belonging to basic teen girls all heading in the same direction as me.


A bunch of curses (all in different languages) ran through my head as I tried to stuff the three books in my bag. They weren’t that thick, but my lunch box (which I also liked to hide in my bag) had taken up too much space. The books jutted out of my back, shamefully, visible for all to see.

I was ruined.

I walked back to school, sullen, still trying to cover up my bulging bag. Didn’t work, of course. Still tried.

I slammed down the books on my lunch table as lightly as possible (ignore the paradox), staring the books down until someone said, “Ooooh.”

Two of my lunch mates hovered over the books, flipping them open and reading the blurbs.

“This one looks cool,” one said to me, waving around one of the books.

YES. They’re cool. I’m cool. What I did today during lunch was totally cool. Not nerdy at all!

At least not to my friends.

Which is why I love them.

I feel like I need to remind myself too many times that I should embrace my nerdiness (i.e.  reading comic books before/during Bio, watching cartoons aimed for kids like Stevie U and VLD, and being the only senior to carry around a lunch bag). I have to tell myself all the time to forget the judgmental people in my life.

It’s hard listening to myself. Hopefully I will someday and soon.

Because if I had today I would’ve avoided the main tragedy–not realizing the three books I requested were middle grade books.