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Lucy the Elephant
By Counterpunch


Lucy Caboosey isn't even the worst of it.

Sure, she's been called names before. She's gotten stared at, ignored, always picked last for everything, sat by herself for more lunches than she could ever count, and spent more time reading in her room than is probably healthy for a girl her age. But most of the time, it's manageable. She sinks into her own head and things are…okay.

But nothing compares to the seemingly innocuous day when she goes to school and dozens of pamphlets tumble out of her locker. She bends down to collect them from where they're scattered across the floor and freezes.

She sees the elephant. She sees the name. And she's never hated New Jersey more.

Her face flushes with shame and tears well in her eyes. Everything is blurry, but she can still make out the words that tear through her confidence like claws.

"Six stories high and listed on the National Park Registry of Historical Landmarks, Lucy the Elephant is located along the beach in beautiful Josephine Harron Park in Margate, NJ."

Kids are walking through the halls, kicking pamphlets as they shuffle to class, to their own lockers, through their own lives. No one bothers to help. As they walk, the papers just fly father out of her reach.

Tears are freely flowing down her face now as she goes to clear the rest of the hallway from her embarrassment, picking papers up along the way and shoving them into the recycling can.

She makes it back to her locker in time before the homeroom bell rings. She starts to grab her notebooks when she sees a Lucy the Elephant bobblehead with a photograph of her face taped on, mocking her as it bounces.

She can't even move for a full minute. Everything is numb as she closes her locker, walks to the bathroom, and sinks against the floor until the humiliation swallows her whole.

She doesn't make it to homeroom. Instead she spends the day wandering outside, walking until her feet ache and the pain in her heart ebbs enough for her to stand going home.

Years later, she'd wonder if everything she suffered through as a kid was some sort of preemptive karma for this.

And while she doesn't want to punch Rachel in the face, the last thing Quinn wants to have is Rachel sitting right next to her. Honestly, Quinn doesn't even have the energy to be angry about anything. Because if there's one person she can't be angry at, it's Rachel Berry. She doesn't care about pretending to hate her right now, she's too busy being empty. Just eternally disappointed in herself and at her life. She can only hope that one day she won't be as big a disgrace to her unborn child, or (and she'd never admit this to anyone, barely herself) as big of a failure to Rachel.

Instead, she asks Rachel to leave.

And so, for the first time, Quinn sits alone in school.

The End

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