“Not that hard?” Butch exclaimed. “Everything about this sport is hard.”
Bernie stepped forward, joined the conversation. “I don’t think Kassie was talking about fencing.” Annie nodded as she turned her attention to Kassie.
These were the moments that Kassie always greeted with eager dread. Yes, she was among a small group of friends, but the comfort of her setting was offset by the knowledge that, yes, everyone was looking at her and, yes, they were expecting an answer but, no, they could not see beyond her surface, they saw her thin black hair and pale skin and they would reach for easy words like loose change in their pockets, shy, geek, weirdo, Goth, and, yes, they would listen to her words but, no, they wouldn’t be able to hear the voice inside her because they could not see who it was inside her that was speaking, yes, the voice in her was screaming to be heard but, no, they would hear her words but not her voice.
She looked at her teammates, waiting anxiously for her words. Yes, they were her friends and she knew instinctively they would accept her, yes, they were different. But. No. They were not different, no, they only saw surfaces, they would not hear her voice, no. They were like all the rest, with eyes that made them deaf.
“Yes, fencing is hard,” Kassie said, her words soft. “That is why I like it.”