“Hey, Brenda, is is it okay if I sit here?”

“Sorry. Our table is full.”

I was in fourth grade. I was new at school. And each day I ate lunch alone. I would often sit at the end of a long table of people—near enough to try to blend into a group, but far enough away not to face an overt rejection.

I tried to look busy, taking long, slow bites of my favorite bologna...
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