I look to my right at the beautiful boy sitting next to me and I wonder how anything so shattered could look so perfect. We sit in silence in the library, quiet moments we steal from the universe like thieves taking what they know is not rightfully theirs. I gaze down at my book, my mind not on reading it but on how I will survive without it. I ask myself if I should take a risk and start a conversation that exists outside the protective walls of my much beloved books. Will he remember my name from the first time we met, months ago, two outsiders bonding over a novel? Over mere combinations of the limited twenty-six letters, arranged in such a way that they actually carry meaning. Over recycled trees, compressed and beaten down until they are no longer recognizable. I look to my right at the beautiful boy sitting next to me and I wonder if I am good ENOUGH. Good ENOUGH to engage in simple conversation, a basic human right, but still I wonder if I am good ENOUGH. I am conflicted and bombarded with society’s view on encounters. There are advice columns online that tell people what they should be wearing and how they should be speaking and how they should carry themselves and how they should look when they meet someone but all I can think about is how I am not worthy of this simple indulgence, a sip of dialogue, one which many drink and take for granted each day of their life. I look to my right at the beautiful boy sitting next to me and I wonder what he thinks of me. Me, who is not wearing the right clothes or speaking the right way or carrying myself properly or looking beautiful, and it pains me to ask myself this but still I ask. I ask myself what reason have I given him to remember me? What reason I have given him to acknowledge that I am still a person, not just a nondescript face pasted carelessly onto a body, as if my maker wanted to create me as unremarkable as possible? Like my much beloved books, I have had notes scrawled carelessly across my margins, marking me with inked advice and analyses of what my life should’ve become. Been beaten into something unrecognizable, and glued together with a crisp new cover, one that I fear will be ripped from my spine if in the hands of a careless reader. I look to my right at the beautiful boy sitting next to me and I wonder if he is like me. Is his outside just a facade, one that hides a crushed heart straining to be released from the fist that continues to tighten around it? One that hides a throat full of words wanting to be set free but constantly being pushed deeper and deeper, choking the boy who only wants to stand up for himself. His mind is his prison and he has been held captive for his entire life and will never be set free until he can find a way to tunnel out of the cells of the cowards and out into the courtyards of the courageous. I look to my right at the beautiful boy sitting next to me and I know that this day will not be our last.