A pair of pine wood eyes roamed over an emerald metal shelf with mild interest. The shelf was adorned with gold and silver trophies: All District Track, All-State Cross Country, National Youth Soccer Team, 1st place Palisades Tournament, 1st place SadeBerg track meet- 400-meter run... 800-meter run...2nd place 4 by 4 relay...A small smirk crossed the lips of the owner as the eyes scanned more trophies. The athletic talents and accomplishments were the things made dreams and desires.

The recognition seemed to mean very little in her immediate world. She could escape into the shelter of the rubber tea track verdantly field, but she couldn't even escape the stench of mediocre and belittling that seemed to follow her day in and day out.

The girl tore her eyes from her only pride wall and proceeded to dress for another day of school at one of California's finest public schools: Paulson High. Noted for its prestige, although public, it is ranked among the top schools in the state for academic performance and teacher credentials.

Like any other school, Paulson Senior High School was divided into cliques though she did not care to note their existence. Her mind was concentrated on the two most prominent things in her life just after her father: school and soccer. Just as she didn't note their existence, they didn't note hers except on special occasions of course: needing homework numbers, help on something, asking what's for lunch, the random need to satisfy insults, etc.

Though she never wanted to be a part of a certain group, Selina Konstantinidou often wondered which group would suit her the most. Being an odd ethnic mix of half Greek and half Lebanese, or a mutt according to some of her less than cordial classmates, where could she go? Past attempts had proven to be less than fruitful.

Soccer was her love, running her escape. Her start in sports was an unusual one. Her parents had decided at their daughter's young age that the only form of enjoyment in the house was to be books, newspaper, magazines, and the occasional radio; no television. So, as a child, while others were hooked on Saved by the Bell, Family Matters, and Mickey Mouse Club, she read about Ramona Quimby, The Babysitter's Club, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the occasional comic strip. Selina was a quiet child, who normally kept to herself.

Her parents often worried about her; their answer was to nurture her with love. The downfall was with resulted in the inadvertent seclusion and isolation of their child. Her seclusion was so extreme that it was ultimately recommended that extracurricular activities would benefit her: sports, Girl Scouts, etc.

How ironic it was that of all the activities she attempted, athleticism was her forte. Even with her skills, forming solid bonds with her teammates evaded her. Besides being a 5`4 nine-year-old, she was considered weird because she had never seen The Fresh Prince of Belair, and her eating habits weren't exactly often tried: cucumbers and peanut butter, pickles with chocolate syrup, Doritos in chocolate pudding, crab salad on apples. Most people chalked up her odd taste buds as appropriate for an odd girl. She would try to have conversations, but it seemed as though no common ground could be found, except for the ground she and her teammates played on.

So Selina spent most of her life as the apple of her parents' eye since friendships were a rarity. There was one person she confided in, Christopher Secrest, who lived across the street, two houses down. Her family and his family bonded with each other almost immediately when Selina's relatively newly wedded parents moved into the neighborhood. The Secrests welcomed the family with open arms and often attempted to have their baby boy interact with their new neighbor's baby girl.

Sparks flew and friendship was formed. For some reason, Chris, even at a small age, saw her as one of the most intriguing people alive, and by all rights, perhaps she was, but most people didn't stick around to find out after they saw that first dipped pickle in Hershey's syrup. His parents adored her and said she had personality. Chris was her mentor to the outside world for most of her adolescent life.

With only one true friend to her name, occupying her time became the highlight of her life. Besides going to the park and beach with Chris, Selina did everything from reading to building mini-cities(promptly destroying them afterwards), making mud baths, birdhouses, a treehouse, pictures out of dried rose petals, mobiles, picture frames from cereal boxes, painting, writing, sports and a host of other things.

Everything turned dark when her mother died at the hands of a drunk driver. Selina could feel herself shutting down and shielding herself where it even the playful banter of the loyal friend from forevermore could even cheer her up. There was no solace at that time, no coping mechanism. Just loneliness and guilt.

Consoling a father is a hard job for an almost ten-year-old, especially when he was a doctor. He was distraught from his wife's death, and although he cared for his daughter more than his own life, he couldn't comfort her. How could he when he couldn't comfort himself? So instead, he turned to work, his only release from the pain.

Even at ten, Selina understood why her father would work so hard and maybe even distance himself from her. She looked at her little art masterpieces and thought of it as the same thing.

So here was little Selina Konstantinidou, 17-year-old senior, misunderstood and secluded. Welcome to her life.