The New Kid
(Art and Story)
By Karen Teranishi
When I arrived at my new second-grade class, I was excited. There was a new play structure to play with, new classmates to meet, and new friends to make.
The teacher asked this girl sitting a few seats away from me to show me around for the day. She was friendly, and everything was going well… until lunchtime.
I walked behind her as she showed me the dining area, which was a group of several long tables under a big overhang, and me, not knowing anywhere else to go, followed her to where she would usually sit. I walked with her to the table where a lively group of girls sat. I assumed they were her friends.
They asked her who I was, no, who “that girl” was, and the girl showing me around replied to them, “oh, she’s new.” But what she really wanted to say was apparent in her tone: The teacher asked me to show her around so I’m stuck with her. I was a burden to her. An annoyance.
She asked me if I wanted to sit with her, and I declined, because they were already friends; I was the outsider. I didn’t want to force myself into the tiny spot on the edge of the bench.
I ended up sitting alone at the empty end of a table, knowing that I wasn’t welcome here. I was the awkward new kid no one really wanted to spend their time with— and that was the truth.
Karen is a young aspiring author who loves to read manga, or Japanese graphic novels. Her favorite series is “A Silent Voice” by Yoshitoki Ōima.