The excitement of holiday has waned & suddenly I am on the playground again. I am thankful for my gifts, but they are not enough. I stand at the corner watching all of my friends. Everyone has seen my toys. They are not impressed, no matter how much I love them. No matter how much I love them. Laughter & affection, like Ring Around the Rosie. Another game I am not really a part of. I observe. I see desire on the lips of every child. The way their fingers itch to play with my friends. They glance back from time to time, and a smile I’ve learned to force from the pit and pain of my stomach leaves them satisfied. They carry on playing their games that I don’t really understand the rules of. I’m fine. I am angry. Someone speaks to me. I’ve learned to lie. Even my stories are pathetic. Tales that claw at the base of my brain like the tears kept caged in my throat. No one wants to see me sad. No one wants to see me. I impress no one with my hand-me-down genes. Even I grow tired of them. My blessings are robust but that is not enough for friends. I am not picked. They all wear rings and play house, and in my head I entertain dead things. I better not tell them that. It’s not that we don’t like the same things, they just don’t like me. Can I hear them snickering? They won’t say no but they won’t sleep over. I am the joke when I have no games to play. If I could disappear, maybe then I’d have friends. Don’t they love to watch me go? On this playground full of girls & boys, lingers the stench of envy & top shelf rivalry. My artifacts & ancient dolls, the historic volumes I collect, treasures only precious to me. Let me hide away with these while they show off their shiny things. Perhaps in class I’ll find a friend. Someone with whom to share & offend. To play games no one else understands. Finally. So I wait for that sweet release, A ground on which they can’t compete. A friend to which I am their toy, whom they proudly show to every girl & boy. It is a playground still, it seems. They don’t even know they’re being mean. I just want someone to like me. I’m still waiting for that bell to ring.