Ellie Echo was a beautiful nerd, fond of video games, sports, and playing the trumpet in the school band. She only had one failing; she was too fond of talking, and always insisted on having the last word.
One day, Julie Juno, the most popular girl in school, wondered where her boyfriend, the star quarterback, had ran off to after third period. She suspected that he was with the band geeks, as he had taken up a recent interest in Beethoven as of late. Ellie, who was guarding the band room door for her best friend and the quarterback, received a call that Julie was on her way. Ellie distracted Julie from entering the room by discussing the upcoming pep rally. All was well until the quarterback and her friend exited the room together. When Julie discovered what Ellie was doing, she insulted Ellie’s conversation skills so much that Ellie was scared to say any words that weren’t previously said in a conversation.
After fifth period, Ellie saw Nate Narcissus at his locker. She pined to go and talk to him, but she was too self-conscious about her conversation skills. She was still so in love with him that she followed him out to the parking lot at lunch.
Sensing that someone was following him, Nate called out, “Who’s following me around here?”
“Here,” Ellie said.
Unable to see her through the crowd of people, Nate said, “Why are you hiding from me? Don’t get me wrong, but we don’t even know each other.”
“Get to know each other,” Ellie spoke back when she appeared in his sight.
Nate jumped back when he discovered who was talking, for he was far too good looking to be seen with someone in the band. “Back off! I would rather die than have you be with me.”
“Be with me,” Ellie pleaded.
Nate quickly jumped in his truck and drove away. So hurt by his rejection, Ellie spent the rest of her days under the bleachers to hide from embarrassment. The only talking that she participated in now was reciting the chants back at football games.
During lunch that same day, Julie’s best friend grew upset. She, too, loved Nate, but hated how he thought that he was too beautiful to date anybody at their school. In an attempt to knock Nate down a few steps, Julie introduced Nate to Instagram in seventh period. Surely he wouldn’t get as many likes on his photos than what he would hope, so it would knock him down a few steps.
Nate took multiple pictures in multiple angles with multiple filters. After debating which ones were worthy enough to post, he would be glued to his phone and watch how many likes his selfies would accumulate. Soon enough, he became so consumed with the number of likes he was receiving that he felt the dire need to always get more. This idea expended him to the point where he lost sleep trying to think of new poses for his selfies. He stopped eating as he worried that his thin layer of body fat was what was holding him back from all of the likes, and stopped cutting his hair, since shaggy hair seemed to be the style for guys right now. Finally, he reached his breaking point and screamed at his phone, “What? What do I have to do to become more beautiful than my last selfie?”
That same day, he was sent to the principal’s office. His Instagram addiction had caused him to fail his senior year, and he would have to repeat the semester. To top it all off, his phone died by the end of the conversation. Defeated, he sat on the bleachers and watched the cheerleaders the way he always used to. Although his beauty faded, Ellie noticed him sitting above her, and matched his gentle cries of frustration, as she too knew what it was like to have a personal strength betray her.
At their graduation, Ellie and the other band members paid a tribute to Nate who had to repeat his senior year. In a purple vase, they all dropped their band pens inside, and played him one last song that projected the kind of beauty that he once possessed.