Skinny girls with perfect tans lounge in the pool like models on the front cover of Vogue. As I survey the scene from the porch, I feel uncomfortable that I’m the only one wearing a one-piece swimsuit. I decide to wait inside until the party is over. I turn around, but Kayla’s mom stops me. “Honey, why don’t you go have fun with the other girls? I’ll call you all in when the cake is ready.”
“Okay,” I mumble. I feel naked as I step into the sunlight. I curse myself for bringing an old swimsuit that’s much too small. I can almost hear the fabric ripping with every move I make.
After what feels like a journey of several light-years, I make it to a poolside chair. I wince when the chair creaks as I settle back.
I’m not even sure why I’m at this birthday party. Kayla and I used to be childhood friends, but everything changed when she started hanging out with the popular kids at school. Kayla’s mom obviously forced her to invite me.
Everyone I make eye contact with quickly averts her gaze. I find myself wishing to be invisible so they can’t see me in the first place. Finally, I hear Kayla’s mom call out from the house.
We all pile into the living room. Kayla blows out the candles on the cake, and her mom serves us each a slice. I sit quietly at the edge of the room when the rest of the girls begin discussing the latest dieting fads.
“Obese people should just eat less,” Kayla says. “I mean, it’s all their fault that they’re fat, right?”
The bite of cake in my mouth suddenly tastes rancid. I force myself to swallow, and try to stay calm. My ears are turning red, and now I actually wish I were invisible. No one in the room looks at me, but I know…