I look at spiders and butter-flies . I watch caterpillars and moths . Sometimes I think I'm the only one who notices these things . But if it hadn't been for a crowded cafeteria , I wouldn't Have ever noticed Valeri . After all , I wasn't looking for new friends .



Valeri was a new student . She walked to class with her boooks huddled against her chest and her head down . He talked only when the teacher asked her a question . After a month at our school , she hadn't made any friend . At recess , she sat on a bench and read . If you asked who she was , you'd get a response like this , "She's in my PE class , I can't remenber her name ."



One day at lunch , I had nowhere to sit . Most tables were full , my friends scattered among them . But Valeri sat alone , book in hand , I walked over to her .



"May I sit here ?"I asked .



"Sure ,"she said .



The cafeteria was noisy , but silence hung between us . Valeri didn't seem to mind , but it drove me crazy . I searched my mind for things to say .



"So,"I said , "is that a good book?"Valeri gave a small nod and went back to reading . "What's it about?"I asked , after several more agonizing seconds of silence . She looked at me , her eyes sparkling .



"Well , it's called Eragon , and it's about a dragon!This boy , Eragon , finds this dragon egg when he goes hunging one day . He thinks it's a rock !The egg hatches and Eragon hides the dragon from his cousin and uncle until it gets too big ." 



As I rushed out of the cafeteria , I called to Valeri , "See you later ."



"Yeah,"she said,"see you later."She sounded doubtful .



A couple days later , I spotted Valeri looking for a place to sit at lunch .



"Valeri , ouer here."I pointed to an empty chair .



She sat down and pulled out her book . Everyone was talking about next week's talent show . "So ,what are you doing for the show? "My friend Erin asked my friend Kelly .



"Oh,I don't know , probably nothing,"Kelly sighed ."What are you doing?"She pointed to Valeri.



"Oh."Valeri put her book down ."I don't know . Maybe nothing."



The week flew by . Before I knew it . I was sitting in the auditorium , listening to a group of girls sing the latest pop songs at the talent show . I was bored out of my life , and I wanted it to end so I could read Eragon . I'd checked it out at the library , Then a shy girl walked on stage . I recongized her immediately . Valeri clutched a violin in one hand and a bow in the other .



She stared to play . The notes formed a soft , weet tune . Then it turned fast , then faster . The music stopped altogether before the soft tune retumed . Valeri ended the song with one hard , fast , loud note . The auditorium fell completely silent until we realized the music was finished . Still in a halftrance , we burst into applause . Valeri took a swift bow and walked off stage .



I smiled to myself . Valeri wasn't just a "quiet girl" .She knew about wonderful books and could play the violin like nothing I'd ever heard . Like a caterpillar or butterfly , she was beautiful and amazing when you looked closely .