I love books. Today’s story day at the library. I have to walk. Mom would drive me but she has to work today. So does Dad. I put the books I need to return in my backpack, pull my hood over my head to block the wind and the rain. I ignore the girls on the street who call me names, ugly, dark, nerdy, weird, nappy-head, it’s all background noise. One of them tries to grab my bag. I dart away and they all laugh.
I make it inside just as story time is starting. The book today is a fantasy, my favorite. A new world where mermaids rule, where girls float on the backs of gentle sea monsters, staring up at the stars. I glance outside and see my tormentors, staring at me, waiting for me to come out. I’ll have to wait until mom gets off so she can drive me home. Or maybe Miss Ashley, the librarian, will take me. She’s done it before. I’m her favorite. Until then, I’ll close my eyes, listen, and float away.