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 books 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 me 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 .
That sounds cool.I said. I was about to ask her another question,but the bell rang.


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


Valeri , come 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 going to do 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 , sweet tune . Then it turned fast , then faster . The music stopped altogether before the 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 .