Your name is Kurloz Makara, you're nine years old and you're now the weird kid.
At least, that's what everyone else says.
You have Meulin and Mituna and Latula though! But Meulin's deaf and basically just as weird as you according to some of the other kids, and she can't hear some of them who sometimes talk about her behind her back saying things like she dresses like a baby and she needs to grow up more and stop being freakily obsessed over cats and other dumb things. But you don't mind if she dresses the way she does or if she acts a little immature compared to them or if she loves cats! You have never minded. That's what makes Meulin, Meulin! Mituna is different too and gets made fun of by Cronus mostly even if he denies it. He's autistic, but you don't mind one bit and you treat him just the same as you do with everyone else! Latula is normal like the rest, but she still hangs with you, Meulin, and Mituna and she's really quite rad! Well that's what she says, but you agree with her, whatever rad means.
It's also been harder for you to concentrate in school! Grade four is harder than grade three and your dad never helps with homework so you just end up scribbling little doodles all over the paper and the little lines where you write your answer and your marks get really low and then your dad gets mad at you for it. It wouldn't be like that if he just helped you. You don't like when your dad gets mad at you because he always ends up yelling about mom and you don't like when he does that either. It makes you sad. It makes him sad too.
At recesses when you're not inside finishing up some of your work you try to find Meulin outside to hang out with her but she's usually hanging out with Latula on the swings and you don't feel like waiting around counting on them so you can have a turn swinging so you usually end up standing by Mituna and his special helping teacher until the bell rings to come inside and everybody comes rushing past, but Meulin stops and walks inside with you, giggling and telling you about what her and Latula did. You smile and head to your desk to eat your lazily packed lunch that you threw together in just about five minutes before running to school.
The skeleton themed facepaint that started when you were younger is a thing that still happens whenever your class is painting in art class or for any other project. Your teacher says not to but Meulin does it anyways and recreates the really cool skull design on your face. The bristles of the brush dancing across your skin almost feel natural now and she's became an expert at painting it on for you. She concentrates really hard when she does it and you can tell because she purses her lips and her brows knit together and she holds her hand steady so it doesn't shake and mess up. You smile and shake your head no politely when the teacher tells you to go to the boys' washroom, look in the mirror, and wash all the gunk off of your face. You never do, you don't want to ruin Meulin's masterpiece, after all.
You're allowed to start walking home after school now, so after getting your backpack together you slowly trudge home with Meulin. You would walk with Latula and Mituna buit they live in other parts over town and Mituna can't walk from school and he gets a ride. Latula walks with Porrim and Meenah when she does anyways. But you enjoy the walk home with the laughs and silent moments and the times when she grabs your hand and you run across the street. The untied shoelaces and unzipped backpacks in which contents spill onto the sidewalk but you laugh anyways. You like it.
You don't like the way that Meu's mom looks at you when she opens the door to let her daughter in their tidy cute little home. She looks at your unkept hair and painted face and baggy skeleton hoodie and jogging pants. You can tell that she doesn't want Meulin hanging around with you and she thinks your no good to have around. But Meulin waves and shouts a goodbye to you and your gaze breaks from her mother's cold stare to her bright face and you wave back eagerly before her mom tucks her under her arm and pulls her inside gently after shutting the door. You stand there for a few moments before pulling yourself forward to your own house where you don't get a nice hello from your dad. In fact you don't know where he even is.
Because of her mother's new attitude towards you, (or maybe she always didn't like you) you usually hang out with Mituna when you can. Sometimes with Kankri, but he ends up babbling on about how the kids on the swings at the town park take too long to get on and off and how they need to obey the 100 second counting rule better. You stay silent and tune out his talking and just sort of stare at the trees as they sway back and forth in the new autum breeze. It's not like you can do anything other than stay silent. You don't mind that though.
Except for when it's lunch time in your class and everyone is chanting together "Kurloz likes Meulin! Kurloz likes Meulin!" Meulin flushes bright red and looks at you and you wish you could tell them no. You would never like a girl in more than a friend way! Never! Meulin is just your best friend and you intend for it to stay that way! You enjoy listening to her and just being in her presence because she's cheerful and fun and she makes you happy just like her. She doesn't call you weird or make fun of you and she's kind and gentle like the trees at the park that sway gracefully. Fragile. She's fragile but strong in her own way and you like that about her. She puts up her hands and shakes her head no once she sees you're uncomfortable and says something along the lines of, "You guys stop it!" She struggles to read their lips and someone near her screams out "Meulin likes Kurloz!" She shakes her head no but they continue and tears fill her eyes. You curl up in your seat, sinking away.