Graduation

Liz sat alone at the bar with a half-full cocktail glass in hand. Her peers at the plastic tables glanced at her and gossiped, but few would make eye contact. The boys bold enough to do so presumed potential in the neighboring stool, but she played coy much too coolly for even the most persistent alumnus.

Despite how casually the boys crept up to her, not one of them remembered her from high school. She wore her name on the tag stuck to her green blouse, but nobody could recall a Lizzy Smith in any of their classes, especially one as dazzling and unapproachable as the woman at the bar. Some suggested she might just be somebody’s escort, but they only did so after their attempts failed.

She remembered all of them. She had known some of them her entire childhood; time hadn’t changed them at all except for the wrinkles that hid beneath their foundation. In the few moments before she had moved to the bar, she overheard the same conversations she remembered in high school: the girls gossiped about old classmates as the boys pecked each other like peacocks. They used new words and dressed in expensive-looking suits and dresses; she found it cute.

After their efforts proved fruitless, the boys snubbed her as blatantly as the girls had done from the moment she entered the gymnasium. They repaid her apathy with silent scorn, escalating the race as she sat in place. After an hour of their fruitless stalemate, the boys no longer approached the bar except for drinks.

She no longer wondered if they remembered the girl in the corner; she now knew she never existed. In the four years she spent in high school, she had not made a single friend, but in the four hours she spent inside the high school gymnasium, she had made dozens of bitter admirers. With that, she tore off her name tag, flung it into the plastic trash bin, and proceeded out the double doors. The chatter, the eyes, and the nineties pop muffled into a slight murmur as she walked away from her high school and into her new car.

Critique

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