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She was shy and uncomfortable, so she kept to herself and sat unaccompanied in the cafeteria and walked alone on the college campus to her classes. She took up smoking cigarettes to have the companionship of something that gave her confidence, that made her look sophisticated, that gave her an air about her. Boys and girls passed by and gazed upon her pretty face, but no one stopped to get to know her. She walked taller, took longer strides and planted her feet with purpose. She sat with one leg over the knee of the other and pulled her broad shoulders back as far as they could reach. She flipped her long, wavy, blonde hair over one shoulder at a time, and with one finger wrapped the remaining strands around one ear. She took a drag of her cigarette, looked around at the campus cafe lunch crowd, exhaled and pretended to read her textbook. After awhile, she raised her head and held it as if she was a puppet on a string. She looked around and waited for someone to come over to talk to her, to introduce her to their friends, to invite her to their parties. She turned her chair so that she could see the other half of the room, and it was then that she saw them whispering, and she could tell they were talking about her. They said she thought she was special. They said she was conceited. They said she looked unapproachable. She took another drag of her cigarette, raised her head even higher and slowly and deliberately let the smoke dissipate, encircling the room. She reapplied her lipstick, looked in the mirror and watched her eyes fill with tears. She lowered her head. Still, no one came. I was this girl.

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