Montgomery College - Germantown Student Newspaper



Mysterious New Girl Goes to College 

Written by Alice Phann 


I was always watched in the family, 

They told me I never needed friends; 

These friends didn’t cradle my body when I came to,  

They didn’t swaddle me until I couldn’t move— 

Now the old family house still has that caricature of me 

Framed in gold, against the still blue of my old sanctuary; 

The closet is empty except for that swimsuit hanger  

I got from Costco that no one will use, 

The throws and the blankets are in trash bags on that 

Shelf I never grew tall enough to reach; 

The family standard my fingers barely graze, 

The warmth that I craved to earn— 

There’s a lone mattress on the floor when I visit that room,  

But my sister’s room is empty— 

I hate being the last one standing— 

The dreaded favorite.  


I think about that blue room when I enter the small, cream one,  

With its cotton dark blue curtains shading the summer sun— 

A second home I never thought I’d see,  

With the bookshelves I wanted and those draping plastic leaves; 

Pictures of my school friends clipped to the vines,  

Clothes that fill the belly of my closet so full, 

I couldn’t close it, so now there’s a TV on the floor; 

Everything I ever wished for, but who do I have to show? 

These walls aren’t as empty as the old ones, 

I’ll make it all my own— 

I’ll make it the beloved home I couldn’t have, 

I’ll fill it with warmth and heart and soul.  


I post photos of a new haircut, 

Where the tips touched my grin— 

My eyes blazing under the slits of sunlight  

Through the broken blinds— 

All those sleepovers and parties 

All those late nights and bad dates  

All the shopping sprees and latest movies  

Would be within reach— 

But why is it so quiet? 

When will I be invited? 


The leaves fall off the trees, 

As the warmth of the summer fades 

And my breath begins to be claimed by the air 

In pockets of puffs— 

I act tough, no one has approached me 

Because I’m mysterious, the new girl— 

Dressed in a dark turtleneck one day,  

A bright pink dress the next— 

I hope I kept someone guessing 

Though this isn’t a movie, but maybe it is.  


There’s no snow this year,  

So, no meeting the neighborhood kids— 

Most of them my age has moved anyway; 

I think about what my family told me, 

How my friends would never need me  

And that they’re shadows I like to chase— 

How the schoolwork on my desk will 

Get me farther than anyone will— 

Maybe everyone has forgotten me in the ways  

They said they wouldn’t. 


The people here brought their friends— 

I don’t know if I was ready to start my life,  

Or if I wish everyone here would’ve started theirs,  

But maybe they have and I’m being unfair— 

I’m not in a small town anymore,  

And nobody believes that small towns  

Are anything to adore, but 

Where’s the wild extravert who was going to adopt me 

Or the bookworm in a sweater I could comment on? 

I can’t see picture I wanted to step into anymore— 

Suddenly I can’t commit; 

Maybe my family was right and 

I crave the shadows I chased away; 

I wanted the light of the new dawn. 

Do I really miss the still blue walls closing in? 

Should I let it swaddle me like it always did?  


Now with my hair once again draped over my face,  

The walls of the cream room bare, 

Sitting before that TV on the floor,  

Where everything remains black and cold and hollow, 

I can’t recognize the face looking back at me— 

That mysterious new girl is nothing but bitter and lonely, 

But surely, there must be someone on their toes 

So why is it quiet? 

Why wasn’t I invited? 

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Mysterious New Girl Goes to College