She doesn't attract a lot of attention. Her friends are funny and get loads of laughs. People don't notice the one in the corner, at the end of the table.
She goes to college. Others win awards for brilliance and attract huge crowds of friends. She goes out, is social, but somehow she fades into the background.
Through junior and senior year, into real life where she gets a job, she wishes that she was more vibrant, more alive. That she could tell a story or a joke and make the whole room listen. That when she walked into a party, everyone would stop and look and be happy that she arrived. But when she speaks, somehow people don't hear her soft voice.
People like her, but they say that she is "very quiet." And so she is. She discovers that it is best if she holds back, is the audience, allows others to have center stage.
And as life continues, the quiet girl keeps observing. It's second nature to her to watch a conversation on a train between a pair of lovers. To see a family have a squabble after church. She sees how two people have a long chat at a party, but she also sees how the talk is filled with undertones and hidden meanings.
She sees how one gesture can convey an entire range of emotions. How one sentence can destroy a mood. And how very often people say too much when they don't intend to.
The quiet girl writes stories. The conversations and interactions she watched her entire life now flow onto the page. She is able to create characters that live and breathe because she has been an observer for so long.
She begins to suspect that her silence, her ability to blend into the background, is something else. She has an extra layer of protective coloring that allows her to watch what happens. And since she is so nondescript, no one realizes that she is there.
Perhaps, after all, this silence is a gift.