The Anti-Compliment Game

I look around me, watch smiling faces tease each other, and try to commit each of them to memory. This circle has been my company for the better half of the past month. They regarded each other with amicable familiarity, a sentiment I long to share. One day, not many months from now, I will be a familiar face to smile at, to tease affectionately. I would just have to bide my time. 

They were playing a game of anti-compliments, shouting out mundanities phrased as sweetness.  

“Kate, your nose is well proportioned despite your forehead.”

To which Kate replied,“Your IQ is quite adequate despite what your hair would lead one to believe.” 

It was a fun trainwreck to watch. 

A chair was pushed roughly into the circle, which parted like the Red Sea to accommodate it. Its occupant was a smiling boy, his light brown hair was matted down with rain and thin rectangular spectacles framed his smiling eyes. He interjected the jubilant chatter with news of his recent travels, of the delays on the Marta and the unfortunate weather that plagued his journey. All who listened did so eagerly. 

Someone else called out a jeer at his company’s expense. The retort that followed elicited laughter. 

When I heard my own name called, I sat up, scrambling for a possible response. The boy who called only smiled, “Don’t worry,” he said,“We won’t take a swing at you for a few more weeks.”

I smiled, relieved yet deflated. 

“Give it a month,” he smiled, before his neighbor stole his attention, saying he was well spoken despite his eyebrows.  

I sat back, smiling despite myself, and watched the mess I’ll belong to some day unfold before me. 

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