Sixth-period lunch is truly the worst lunch period ever. Natalie isn’t there. Nick is in class. I’m all alone in the cafeteria. There’s no fate worse in high school than being alone in the cafeteria. It’s worse than if you accidentally wore white pants and got your period or if you borrow someone’s deodorant and handed it back with a giant hole scooped out of it. If you’re eating alone in the cafeteria, you might as well be socially dead.
The seconds seem to drag into infinity as I walk around awkwardly with my ham sandwich, milk, and apple. I wish I had packed my own lunch so I could eat it while hiding inside my locker. It would be a tight fit, but I am a fast eater.
“Hey,” I say as I see Jake sitting by the door to the cafeteria. At least he is by himself too. He doesn’t acknowledge me. He’s too busy checking his phone. “How’s the writing going, Mr. Famous?”
“You again,” Jake says without looking up. “Haven’t found a group of girls to sit with yet?”
I pretend to laugh off his comment. He’s such a jerk! He naturally assumes that I’m only here because I don’t know anyone else. That might be true, but still, he could be polite about it. It didn’t look like he was swimming in friends here at Piotr, either.
It’s amazing how being assigned to the wrong lunch period spells the end of your high school social life. If only I had fifth-period lunch, I could be with Nick and his football buddies at the pizza parlor instead of eating a cold baloney sandwich with a smear of sour mayo. By sour mayo, I meant the human turd sitting across from me who still wouldn’t make eye contact. I don’t know what he’s doing on his phone and requires his undivided attention. I wonder if he’s checking up on his writing again, the silly Sci-Fi story that no one wants to read.
What would Jake think when finally finds out that I am WilderLuna15?
I’m sure if Jake knew, that moment would be etched into his memory forever. I’m like a celebrity to him. He actually ranted about my alias online! Cori might be afraid of him, but WilderLuna is not. He might hate WilderLuna15, but he’s just another internet nobody to her. I have so many haters online that I’ve lost track of their names. I’ve heard people tell me that there is even have a club dedicated to smearing my works.
When there are that many people who are annoyed at you - it means you’re doing something right.
It’s better to be hated for being your most authentic self than to live pretending to be someone else.
WilderLuna15 believes that. Cori doesn’t.
I hunch my back and force the crumbly baloney sandwich into my mouth faster. I nearly choke on the salty, greasy mush-ball. Just a couple more bites! Once I finish eating, I can sit by my locker and play on my phone in peace for the next 35 minutes before seventh-period.
“Done eating?” Jake asks me as I hold the last corner of my sandwich up to my mouth.
“Yeah,” I snarl back. I swallow with difficulty and gulp chocolate milk straight from the carton. I am in such a rush; I couldn’t even find the time to unwrap the straw. “I’m leaving, okay? So that you know, I do have friends. They don’t happen to have this period free for lunch, that’s all.”
“That’s what all the losers say,” Jake replies with a mocking tone. It’s the only tone he has really. Oh yes, Jake wants to get under my skin, just like with that essay he wrote. He wants to kick down my self-esteem so that I might trip up and sleep with him. He’s so wrong; I have so much self-esteem. My notifications are going through the roof as we speak. I might not have many friends in this lunchroom, but I have enough fans to fill Citi Field Stadium in the virtual world. I shove the last of my baloney sandwich into my mouth and stand up.
“You didn’t eat your apple.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Why did you take it? You shouldn’t waste food.”
“What? Are you the food police?”
“No, I’m from Brooklyn. We’re into conservation and shit like that. You’ll learn. Where are you from anyway?”
“What’s wrong with Queens?”
“I could have sworn you’re one of the UES bunch.”
“Well, you are wrong about things a lot, aren’t you?”
Jake smirks at that.
“Okay, Queens - now you’ve hurt my feelings. Here I was, about to share the location of a secret hideout with you too.”
“Oh?” I ask. A secret hideout? Now I am interested. Every school has its secrets, and I wanted to find out everything I can about Piotr so I can stop being the stupid new girl.
“Why don’t you take the apple and come along? Let’s go before we’re caught eating in the cafeteria like losers.”
Jake stands up, throws his beat-up backpack over his shoulder, and motions for me to follow him.
“Come on; there are people waiting for me.”
I suddenly realize I was the one being the jerk. Jake was only impatient because he wanted to go meet up with his friends. All this time, he had to wait for me to finish eating my baloney sandwich before getting up.