Luna had never been one with the crowd. Strange. Weirdo. Creep. That was what they called her, even when they were just children. You’ll never be one of us, they jeered, poison filling their words, you don’t belong here. She remembered the first time her teacher confessed to her parents that he was worried about her. There’s something wrong with your daughter, he said, concerned. Don’t be a fool, said her mother, dismissing the topic completely, my baby Luna’s just shy. They didn’t know. They didn’t understand. After all, how could they?
It was hard for her to connect with others- it was like she lived in her safe little bubble, where socializing was unnecessary. All the other children at the kindergarten were playing together, sharing their things, while she was struggling to simply approach another child. She shied away from her teacher’s touch, instead of leaning towards it like another child. They spoke to her in slow, dramatic words, but she couldn’t understand anything they said, she thought it was too loud, too close for comfort. So they ignored her.
At the beginning, being ignored was nice. Over time, it grew lonely. Her bubble of safety became a cage, closing in around her. Time passed by, as all the other kids developed friendships and hierarchy between themselves.
Everything changed when the new primary teacher arrived. She was gentle and thoughtful, everything all the other teachers hadn’t been. The best thing? Luna felt like the new teacher understood her. The new teacher took the time to speak to her one on one, not singling her out, but trying to help her fit in. It was strange, and new, and she wasn’t used to it. But over time, she grew fond of it. For the first time in her life, she was growing.
Over time, the cage around her felt like it was loosening, growing, allowing her to wander.
Maybe she’d never be truly free of the cage, but now she knew that as long as she was confident, she could change, and so could her mind.