The contagious cadence of camaraderie within her circle didn’t quite reach her. She was a part of them, but there was a sense of exclusion she knew was completely imagined. Their open smiles harbored no unknown secrets, but she couldn’t say the same for her own. Her lips felt stretched too wide and her laughter didn’t carry the same lighthearted notes of ease that came with being in the company of trusted friends. She’d known these girls all her life and there’d been a time she’d always look forward to their get-togethers. Yet now, she couldn’t help imagining being anywhere else but here with them in the room that preserved their childhood memories. It was as if she no longer belonged among them and she couldn’t explain why.