“An Excerpt from ‘Direct Contact’ ” by Iman Ilias

After a while, I went out on the deck to take a breather. I was promptly joined by who else but Ray, who apparently needed to go out just when I did.
I looked around, acting natural.
“Look at me,” ordered Ray. I did so.
“So, the nerd stepped up a notch on the rank,” he mocked. “You’re so popular now, but I came to tell you that even though you have more friends and look better now, we both know you’ll always be a nerd inside.” Now normally, I would have just looked down with shame and skedaddled away, but today, something struck me. I had found out too much about myself through this new experience that I was in no way willing to let someone bring me down again.
“I actually don’t think so, Ray,” I told him.
“Well, if someone isn’t lamely defending themselves, huh,” simpered Ray.
“Ray, maybe the contacts did help me get attention, but they’re not the reason people like me,” I shot back. Ray folded his arms, urging me to continue.
“I helped people, gave back, was a good friend, and that’s why they like me, I know that people have found me for who I really am, and not for someone with glasses or without, they’d like me either way, because they know I’m a good person,” I told, “ before I got contacts, even I thought people didn’t like me because of who I was, but ever since I had people noticing me, I understood that it was just because of those nonsensical labels that people like you put on us that people stayed away from me.” Ray furled his eyebrow.
“How do you know that if you went back in, wearing glasses, people wouldn’t laugh?” asked Ray Stevens.
“You know what?” I responded, “Let’s find out.” I took the plastic circles out of my eyes and took them and the complete case of contacts and threw them in the pond across from Jennifer’s deck. Ray was aghast with shock.
“Y-you-you actually, literally threw them,” he panted, “I thought you were just trying to prove a point but, why?”
“Because there’s more to who I am than what I wear on my eyes, Ray,” I informed, “and you know it.”

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