September 2, 1996
Harmony sat in her seat quietly and waited for class to start. The three girls who shared Harmony’s table talked and giggled as they told stories about summer, the other kids in class and how cute their teacher was. No one was paying any attention to Harmony and she liked it that way.
“Excuse me, we’re talking to you.” Harmony looked up to see the girls at her table staring at her.
“Is there something wrong with you? Are you sure you’re in the right class? They have a class for the slow students down the hall.” The little girl who seemed to the be leader of the three said smuggly.
“I’m new here.” Harmony answered.
“Oh, well, I’m Brooke and this is Ashley.” She said pointing to the girl with long auburn hair. “That’s Hayley sitting beside you. We’ve been friends since Kindergarten.”
“Hello” Harmony whispered as she smiled at the three pretty friends.
Brooke continued to talk for the group. “Everyone wants to be friends with us. Would you like to be our friend?”
Harmony sat up a little straighter in her chair. “Yes, I don’t have any friends.”
All three girls laughed. “You don’t have any friends? That’s messed up. Are you weird or mental.”
“I don’t know what that means.”
Brooke looked back and forth between her friends and exhaled loudly. “Why don’t you have any friends?” She asked Harmony exasperated.
“I’m new here.”
“Well, that explains why we’ve never seen you before. Where did you live before?” Brooke pressed for details.
“I lived with my Grandma Pat.”
The three girls rolled their eyes at each other, before Brooke continued with the questions. “You lived with your grandmother. That’s so sweet. My mom teaches fifth grade here and my father is a policeman. Ashley’s dad works at one of the big banks downtown and her mom stays home with the baby. Hayley’s family own a restaurant on the beach. What do your parents do?”
Harmony lowered her voice as she answered. “I don’t have parents.”
The three girls exchanged looks sending secret messages to each other, but Brooke continued to do all the talking. “How can you not have parents? Everyone has parents.”
“I’ve never had parents. I lived with my Grandma Pat until she got sick and now I live with The Harrisons. They‘re friends of Grandma Pats from church”
All three girls moved as far away from Harmony as they could get without actually leaving the table. After a few moments of silence Brooke once again spoke for the small group of friends. “I don’t think our parents would want us to be hanging around with you. After lunch, you better move to another table.”
The three girls spent the rest of the morning ignoring Harmony.