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The coolest kid in class.

I am the coolest kid in my class. I always have been. It's a gift.

I'm not a showoff. All the kids like me. I just know how to dress, what to say, and how to say it. You know, just cool.

So when Dr. Gonzalez told me I needed glasses, I freaked out.

"Glasses? Naw, can't do it. They wouldn't look right," I declared. I looked in the mirror and smoothed down my hair. I had to squint a little to see myself, though.

Dr. Gonzalez didn't look surprised. "You'll look even better with glasses," he said. "Besides, your eyes are too important to ignore. Remember those headaches you've been getting? They should disappear once you start wearing glasses. Your eyes won't have to work so hard."

I looked at Mom. She was wearing that "don't-mess-with-me-I'm-your-mother" look.

"Let's go pick out some frames," she suggested firmly.

I groaned.

The frames I chose looked pretty good on me, but I still didn't want anyone to see me wear them.

When I got to school the n morning, nobody said anything about my new glasses. It was probably because I wasn't wearing them. I had stuffed them into my backpack as soon as Mom dropped me off. This is going to he a breeze, I thought as I walked into Mrs. Holtkamp's class.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Hello, Sam," Mrs. Holtkamp said as I dumped my books onto my desk. "Your mom called last night to tell me about your new glasses!"

I could have died. All the kids stopped talking an looked at me. I had to act cool! I just smiled and walked to the pencil sharpener.

James followed me.

"Where are they?" he asked.

"Where are what?" I asked back, sharpening my pencil.

"Your glasses," James said. "Why aren't you wearing them?"

I looked at James. He's a nice guy, but we're not good buddies or anything.

"I don't really need them," I said, sharpening my pencil even harder.

"Um. . . " James had a funny look on his face. "Maybe you should--"

"I can see just fine without them," I interrupted. I flashed him my cool smile.

"You're sharpening a marker," James said quietly.

It was a good thing the bell rang just then. I walk-ed back to my seat in a daze, carrying my mangled marker.

James passed me on the way to his desk. I waited for him to laugh and tell the other kids what I had done. But he didn't.

Mrs. Holtkamp made me put on my glasses when class started. Everyone looked at me. I was so embarrassed.

All morning, I felt gloomy. When it was time for recess, I put my glasses in my shirt pocket, but I knew it was too late. . .,I was no longer cool.

"Hey, Sam, let's play soccer," Brandon said as we walked outside.

"Not me. You guys go ahead," I answered.

Brandon looked surprised. "Are you sick? You're not coming down with measles, are you?"

"Why should you think that?" I asked grumpily. "I feel OK."

"Well, you've been awfully quiet this morning," he replied.

"You've been acting pretty weird," someone else agreed.

They finally left me alone, though. While the other guys played soccer, I hung around the jungle gym, trying to be invisible.

Unfortunately, I wasn't. After a while, James walked over to me.

"Why aren't you playing soccer with us?" he asked.

"Don't want to," I grunted.

James didn't look convinced. "It's because of your glasses, isn't it?"

I looked at him, surprised. How did he know?

"I felt the same way when I got my glasses last year," James explained. "I thought they made me look funny."

"But they don't," I said. "You just look like yourself It's different for me."

James looked surprised. "What do you mean?"

I sighed. How could I explain it?

"It's like this," I said. "I'm a cool guy, right? I have a certain look. If my look changes, I can't be cool."

James looked at me like I was crazy. "Sam, you're a cool guy because you're friendly. You're nice to people. Wearing or not wearing glasses has nothing to do with it."

I looked at him with hope. "You mean--you think I'm still cool?"

"Well . . . your hair is kind of messed up today," he said.

I was horrified. I reached for my comb and then stopped. Was James, uncool James, teasing me?

Instead of reaching for my comb, I reached for my glasses and put them on. I looked at James. Yes, there was a twinkle in his eye.

"I guess the glasses do help me see better," I said. "Maybe I'll even be a better soccer player now."

"I hope so," he said, laughing.

Did I say I'm the coolest kid in my class? Well, I am.

Next to James, that is.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:short story
Author:Knight, Melissa
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Mar 1, 1996
Words:806
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