M y sleep was fitful on Thursday night. Actually, I barely slept a wink. My conversation with Dassi, and the other events of the day, kept repeating themselves in my head, spreading an unease through all my tired muscles.

Dassi realized there was something going on as soon as she met me in the morning, cocoa aloft and long brown hair flying in the wind.

“Good morning, dearie!” she chirped. I grunted.

“Looking a little serious for this time of day, Lib. Care to share?”

I thought for a second, debating it, but still unsure what was making me so uneasy. “Nah, just a bit tired. Was up a lot of the night with a headache.”

Dassi winced slightly in sympathy, and said no more. We walked the rest of the way in companionable silence. I was relieved she didn’t feel the need to prattle, and she sensed that I needed time to think.

As we walked into school, Mrs. Gordon asked me how my head was. Before I had a chance to answer, Dassi abruptly turned to me and asked me my name. I looked at her confused for a second, and then grinned back at her.

“Hello Kitty!” I said, playfully.

“See, I knew she had a concussion, Mrs. Gordon!” Dassi said in mock-serious tones. Mrs. Gordon laughed and waved us on.

The morning went by, as Friday mornings do, in painful slowness. Mrs. Feldman told me off for dreaming, Miss Greenberg gave me one of her looks, and I took three separate trips to the bathroom. It was on one of these trips that I bumped in to Leah.

Leah was a quiet, blonde, delicate girl in ninth grade, whom I knew vaguely because she lived on a street near mine. We’d never really talked, though, because I usually met her when I was on the way home, a time I was generally occupied listening to Dassi.

“Hi, Libby,” she said shyly.

“Um, hi,” I said. “Is your timetable on Friday as bad as mine?” I winked and made a pained face.

But Leah only gave a small grin in agreement, before blurting, “I just wanted to thank you for the program you ran. No, really!” she said, as I looked at her in slight confusion. “I don’t think you realize,” she continued, “how many girls are learning more about themselves through this. And maybe… about others, too.” She stopped for a second, with a sad look in her eyes.

She looked like she might cry. Oh, no. Not now! I looked around desperately, panicking. The pale-blue walls looked back at me. Leah, in a world of her own, continued.

“Sometimes I wonder if anyone really appreciates uniqueness,” she continued. She seemed to have composed herself, and I breathed a sigh of relief. (Mental note to self: never, ever become a therapist!) (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 659)