Personal Narrative: The Smartest Kid In School

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He’s always there: next to me in class, across from me at lunch, following me at recess. There’s no escaping him. I could take a step to the left, and you could count on him to close the gap. His words taunt me every day. His cruel jokes, his unnecessary teases, his painful truths, they wear me down and make me beg for the day summer would start and the second grade would come to an end.
“I knew that,” he would remark every time I answer a question wrong. “You need more friends,” he mocks as if I had none, and I would believe him. “Don’t listen to him,” my mom would likely say if I ever mentioned the harassment to her. Which I would never do. But why shouldn’t I believe him? I know I’ll never be as smart as the smartest kid in school. I’ll never have close to as many friends as the most popular kid. I’m stupid and nobody likes me.
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The teachers see the school as “bully-free” because their soft eyes refuse to see the brutality of some kids and the fragility of others. My teachers would never suspect I cork my emotions into a glass bottle with the word caution smeared across the front. To them I haven’t a care in the world. They refuse to believe that I am alone, or that I’m not as smart as they may expect, or that I care about being these things. They ignore the years I’ve spent alone. They don’t know that I squeeze myself into the lunch table, between two groups of friends. I don’t have any “friends.” I only have a few people who tolerate

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