37. Belong“I don’t belong here,” Maddie said. “I’m not one of them. I’m out of place.”

“Why do you say that?” her mother asked. “What makes you so out of place?”

“I’m not smart like them. I hate it here. Why did we come?”

“You’re as smart as anyone there. And we came because we had to. Your father’s job moved, so we had to.”

“It’s not fair,” Maddie said. “No one asked what I wanted to do.”

“No one asked what your father or I wanted to do, either,” her mother said. “Right now, we needed him to keep the job.”

“I hate it here,” Maddie said.

“It’s a good school. We did some research before we came here. The high school got some of the highest rankings in the state.”

“Yeah, it’s a little too good,” Maddie said. “My old school apparently sucked. I feel like I’m just falling further and further behind.”

“There’s an old saying that the smartest fish would be judged stupid if the only measure you took was its tree-climbing ability,” her mother said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means, my beautiful, intelligent, wonderful daughter, that you need to change the game. Don’t worry too much about the things that ‘everyone’ else is good at. What are you good at? What do you want to do?”

“I like English,” Maddie said. “I like to draw. I think I might not suck at it.”

“Not sucking is a fine place to start.”