I'm sitting curled up in a tire on the playground with my book in front of me. Island of the Blue Dolphins. I really don't care who wrote it. I'm reading the part where the girl has just found her brother dead, killed by wild dogs, and realizes that she's alone on the island. That's how I feel. Alone. Left behind by everyone I thought I'd be with forever. My best friend as good as killed by a girl who is more dog-like than human. No. I remember the book saying something about the tame dogs joining the wild pack when their owners left. That's my best friend.

I try to concentrate on the book to find out what she did with her brother's body, but tears cloud my eyes. Tears of rage and sadness and hurt and fear. I'm angry at the leader of the pack of dogs that the girls in my class have become, and my best friend for falling in so easily with them. Totally forgetting that I've been there for her for over a year. I'm sad and hurt by this as well. I just want everything to be the way they were before that horrible wolf came into my life.

To add to all of this, I'm afraid of what I'm going to become. Or have become. Or once was. I'm not sure if I'm still me or half me or totally lost. I get my tears under control. I start to read the book again.

I know that the bell to end morning recess is about to ring. I've come to this tire so often that I automatically know when the bell rings. The next thought to cross my mind is, I wonder if anyone will miss me if I go don't back to the room? Tears obscure my vision again as I answer myself, No. They wouldn't.

The bell rings. I don't want to go back. I don't want to face all those people who hate me. Hate me because a stupid wolf whose life is nothing but causing misery tells them to. But I have to go back. I'm the good little girl that always gets perfect grades and is the smartest in the class and always does exactly what she's told. I force myself to get up and walk all the way to class.

In the hallway I'm not noticed. If I am, I'm not acknowledged. As I walk into the room I hear the twin sisters that help the wolf in spreading hate speaking.

"Hey. I wonder why we never see Lauren at recess anymore."

"Who cares what she does? It's not like we want her around. I mean, think about it. Only third grade and already a social reject."

I turn and head towards my little desk at the back of the classroom. I sit down. I take out my English book and start working like the good little girl I am, the lonely little girl I am, as tears cascade down my face.