He knows, of course, he has it good.

He’s got friends. He gets good grades. His family is loving and whole. He’s not made fun of or bullied. He’s taken care of in all his needs.

But.

Sometimes when he’s sitting in the cafeteria with his friends, he feels kind of alone. It’s a deep alone–not quite up to the surface, but enough to make him feel it. Being with his friends is a lot better than being by himself, but he’s hardly with them. He’s usually far away, thinking and smiling at his friends’ jokes and pretending.

The feeling goes away once lunch ends, but a hovering shadow stays.

He likes his friends, no doubt. And they probably like him back, the ones that have gotten a glimpse of who he really is. It’s just that… There’s so much they don’t know. So much they never find out.

He’s not exactly shy. In the right situation, around the right people, he’s outgoing and constantly smiling and completely enjoying himself.

But.

Not around his friends. With them, he’s never in the right place. Never truly himself. Always reserved, hiding his soul, keeping to himself.

They never ask him questions about his summer. Never wonder about his passions. Never seem interested in the things he says.

He knows they have their own busy lives and are often too wrapped up in their own schedules to think about him, but it always feels like they care about everyone else before they think of him. He doesn’t feel like he fits in, not completely.

He knows he has it good.

But.

There’s so much he wants to say, so much that needs to escape, so much hidden beneath the surface.

So much.

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