The Glow of the Firefly-Lit Dance (unfinished draft)

Authors Note: This is a work in progress but feel free to leave any comments while I keep this story going. 🙂

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In every school there would always be an invisible line that divides the popular from the not, two factions that will co-exist in any given time and space. It cannot be helped, I guess. It has always been that way. A status quo that has always been naturally maintained.

For three years I have always been among what I would like to call The Band of Misfits of our batch at Luna East Arts Academy. No, we’re not an actual band. Just a group of people who have been called or regarded as “weird” too many times to count ever since we started studying here. But that hasn’t always been the case for me.

I almost had a chance at a spot at the popular crowd once when I was a mere freshman. I was nominated to represent the batch as muse in the annual intramurals at school which was just like being appointed to be a member of the popular crowd.

A muse has always been regarded as someone attractive; someone who walked with grace and stood with poise, and while I did get a few second glances by classmates and upperclassmen during my first day at Luna East, I neither had grace or poise. Neither did I have the confidence to interact with people I was meeting for the first time. Why I was chosen as batch muse for that school year, up until this day, I do not know. For a fact I know that I do not have any athletic fibre in me. In fact, the only time I ever sprained my ankle was because I was such a klutz that I tripped in the comfort of our own home without any other reason but me just simply being clumsy.

After it had been announced who the muses were for each batch, I was greeted by almost everyone in campus. Most people would probably feel good about being acknowledged by a nod or a smile whenever they walk along a corridor but not me. I wasn’t exactly what you call a social butterfly. If anything, I was a wallflower. I’d rather just stand on the side and observe everyone else do the interaction without any care of being noticed because I absolutely hated being forced into having to make small talk with people I barely even knew. I fidget, I cold-sweat, and I start to feel all clammy and end up just making the most awkward and unattractive smile I could possibly come up with. Way to go, Madeline, I would tell myself whenever I end up feeling like I got a facial stroke from forcing a smile.

Of course with good attention comes the bad attention. I didn’t really hate the attention I was getting nor did I dislike it but everyone else was just making such a big deal out of it. I would rather be left alone to my own devices and just do what got me here in the first place which was to draw to my heart’s content.

Soon enough the glances were accompanied with an occasional side eye, eye roll, or whisper that I would notice. Sometimes I’d hear rumors that I have told Sophomore A that I was badmouthing Sophomore B, who I haven’t even interacted with except for that one time she smiled at me while I was only my way to my Literature class and I awkwardly smiled back.

My social awkwardness did not help either. Some people would perceive my lack of social skills as my being aloof or cold towards them when I didn’t really mean anything bad.

One time, I actually heard someone whisper that Senior A was telling them how disrespectful I am towards upperclassmen and I just ended up asking myself, How are they even making all these stuff up?

 

For a while I hung out with a group of friends who had the hobby of reading mystery novels. We would usually hang out after school at a café just two blocks away from Luna East and discuss our current Agatha Christie favorite.

No, this was not The Band of Misfits I was talking about earlier.

How I got into The Band of Misfits would entail a whole other story but in a nutshell I guess I can say that the harsh reality of getting backstabbed and bullied and not knowing who your real friends are took its toll on me as early as freshman year. Getting rid of all those bad vibes also meant letting go of the fun, popular, and glamorous crowd I was in.

Don’t get me wrong, the (good) attention was fun for a while but eventually it started getting stressful when I felt like I was being pressured into being someone I’m not. And it was horrid and painful to find out that the people I trusted to have my back where actually the people behind all of the rumors about me.

I soon got over that when I moved up to my second year and got separated from that crowd. By the middle of my second year at Luna Arts, I finally got to settle with a group of friends (The Band of Misfits) who shared not only the same interests as me but also didn’t care about who my last boyfriend was or how much money my parents made. They weren’t popular but they were real and I knew we had each other’s backs.

 

Fast forward to two years and here I am now: Madeline de la Torre, fifteen years old, and a Senior at Luna East Arts Academy.