The young girl sat in the back of the classroom. Not by choice but rather by alphabetical order. Last name order. And that particular year, she ended up sitting in the fourth row, last seat.
She actually didn’t care. Didn’t even really notice. It was just the way the teacher chose to sit all the students. And, anyway, the girl made no issues with having to sit in the back. Like some of the other kids did.
One morning, after she had arrived to class and put her things away, the youngster sat quietly, in her seat, awaiting instructions. She felt tired. Assumed she probably didn’t sleep well the night before. It seemed that there was more noise around the house than usual. Just people, her family, talking into the night. About everything. And their muffled voices kept waking her. As the late hour progressed.
The girl yawned. As she had before. Like many people do. In the classroom. While waiting for the teacher to call them all to attention.
The boy sitting in front of her turned around, and looked at her. His mouth was open as if he were going to ask her a question. But then he closed it back up. And turned his whole body back around facing the front. Face toward the chalkboard.
Not a minute later, he turned again, and asked the girl, “Why are you always crying?” She said not a word, and just looked at him, confused. He continued. “Your eyes are always watering. Like you’ve been crying.” She wiped the back of her hand across her eyes and saw that, yes she did have tears. “Oh. I’m not crying, I just yawned. I guess it made my eyes water.” The boy just looked at her. Didn’t know how to respond, so he simply turned back. And faced the front of the classroom. Again. And she yawned. Again. Feeling the tears pool in her eyes. And wondered who else thought she was always crying.