The desk tipped over underneath him. He went down with it, sounding a yell. The desk crashed forward, the top of it popping open like it was on hinges. He landed on the top and cracked it with his weight. The small club erupted in laughter. The guy was on the brink of tears as he stumbled back up. Looked like a pretty bad fall, since it brought a large kid like him to the edge of crying.
“Excuse me! Brian! Everyone Quiet!” The teacher yelled, silencing the room again. His face was red and had beads of sweat going down his forehead. He walked over to Brian and picked up the desk behind the kid before handing him a pass to the nurse. “Do you need anyone to help you?”
Brian shook his head and slowly walked out of the room. The club was still softly murmuring to each other behind the teacher’s back. When he turned around, they went silent. Eyes silently blinking at him. He scanned the room.
“Now,” He said with a heavy breathe. “Who finished their essay and would like to share?”
Everyone looked around at each other: they all looked back at me. I sink closer to the desk and move my arm in front of my mouth, keeping my head down on the desk. After a moment, I look down at the purple composition in front. It was open to the essay he was talking about. Four pages and it was correctly formatted to his criteria. I wasn’t going to show it though. Instead I grab a pencil and start shading the top of the page. I ignore the coughs for attention, the dropping of books for recognition and the not subtle whispers of my name. I’m not sharing this essay.
“Aiden.” I look up as the teacher clapped his hands. He smiled at me. “Why don’t you share? You always have an interesting essay to show.”
I looked back down at the book. By interesting, he means completely messed up. I read over the begining:
The world is a huge place. Seven billion people are on this planet and it’s hard to keep up with that many life forms. So if one suddenly dies, it wouldn’t be such a disaster, mainly because there are still six hundred, ninety-nine hundred million lives identical to it. It’s replaceable. It’s recyclable. Even the Earth reuses the physical being to create nutrients for something better to grow in its place.
The more I reread over, the more I realize that I went off again. Most of the time I can just rewrite an essay to keep myself out of the counselor’s office, but I couldn’t disguise this one; human recycling. I bury my face in my arm and try to quiet my breathing. I don’t want to share and go to the counselor’s office, get my parents called down and have them fight there, then get grounded again, get the notebook taken away and if they are pissed enough, get my room searched for the other one.
“MR. LUCAS!” I jump and snap back on the chair.
I see everyone look me over with skepticism. I bit my lip and just look at the teacher.
He gestures for me to stand up. I do.
“Now please. Share your essay.”
I take a breathe, slowly pick up my composition book, looking around around at the faces staring at me like I’m a exhibit. I turn a page back and look at the previous essay, but remember that it was the one that sent me to the office two weeks ago.I don’t want to do this, I don’t like talking. I don’t talk. My arms are weak. My heart is barely beating. My mouth isn’t working, and once again I hear a siren in my ears. It could be for anything, but I wish it would be ambulance coming. I can’t do this.
My arms snap in front of me. The book slaps against the table. I blink and the teacher is right beside of me. He has an arm around me. I see everyone standing up, looking at me. I didn’t realize my sudden tilt.
“Sit down Aiden, I’ll read it.” He said. I took a seat and looked at the clock as his hand brushed over the book.
He took my book, looked at the page, then glanced at me while taking a deep breathe, and then flipped the page. He read over the first sentence and made a sound. “ The world is a huge place. Seven billion people are on this planet and it’s hard to keep up with that many life forms.”
I make a faint noise, acting like I was ready to pass out. My head slipped forward and I grabbed it to stop it from hitting the desk. The teacher instantly stopped talking and walked back over to me. He put his hand on my forehead.
“Aiden, can you hear me?”
I nod my head while letting my head slip further towards the desk. Out of the corner of my eye I see the other members turn around to each other and then back at me.
“Is he serious?”
“Dude, what is wrong with him?”
“Maybe his legs are bothering him.”
Letting my head slide down on the desk with my arm to cushion it, I let myself be forgotten as the clock sounded and the audience stood up to leave. The teacher quickly ran away from me, I peeked over at him as he ran over to the doorway to hand out the pamphlets and flyers he had. I carefully retracted the book underneath me and slipped it in my bag. I then got up, slung my bag on my shoulder and headed towards the door. Unfortunately I was the last one so the teacher took a moment to stop me. He looked me over with a suspicious expression.
“Storm passing now Mr. Aiden Lucas?” He crossed his arms
I averted my eyes and nodded.
“I hope I can read the essay in the next meeting.”
I want to take a hike so bad. A hike far, far away from this place. I wish the words would come out and tell him something he wants to hear. Anything would work.
“Hopefully it won’t end in bedlam, will it?”
I shook my head. Finally he walked away from the doorway and went over to the oak desk on the opposite wall, leaving the stacks of paper where they laid. I was halfway out of the doorway when he interrupted again.
“Oh, Aiden, I would suggest you take some of those.”
I keep my eyes down as I threw them. A couple for a writer’s meet, one for an online class, another one for a summer writing course, and a bright yellow one screaming in faded grey text ‘Horror Writing?! Come show us what you got!’
I glanced over to the teacher, he was distracted by the book on his lap, I think. Rustling the papers around, a couple slipped into the recycling bin. Then I hurried out of the room and down the hall. Lockers decorated the sides, the occasional classroom interrupted them along with the occasional lone student. Getting past everything with no conflicts, it’s almost a blessing as I see the lobby in sight. Then it was blocked by four guys packed from shoulder to shoulder. They sneered down at me.
They went with their plan without an hesitation. It wasn’t like they were inflicting any pain on an actual person. No, I was something else. An object to abuse and then throw in the trash. Which they did. They laughed and high-fived each other for it. I keep quiet. If I spoke like everyone else, move like everyone else, then I would be more of a fool as they already are. I watch them from my silent cell, and from it I can see what they do wrong, their mistakes, and their silent secrets spilling out behind them. No one can see mine. The only thing they can see is my physical disaster. And they terrorize me for it.
I never wanted any of it. It’s not natural. I hate it. For some reason though I pity myself. It’s not deserved and it confuses me. Sometimes I lie in my bed for hours on end just wondering if it would be so bad if I couldn’t walk. A wheelchair wouldn’t be bad. I would get upper arm strength and get to use the elevators. But technology has instilled it’s useless reason on me and attached itself so I can walk. I don’t complain though. I don’t even open my mouth, cause I forgot what’s it’s like to talk and speak.
The late bus takes me home after cleaning the spilled can off me and putting my long sleeved sweater on so it doesn’t show. The bus stops at the corner and I’m careful getting off. I walk down the rugged sidewalk. The old neighborhood had a cool canopy made by the large trees by the curb. They uprooted the sidewalk, making it difficult for me not to slip over myself but made awesome ramps. When I get to my house, I go around a blue four door vehicle obstructing the walk with its rear end. The license plate read: WLK 4 U. A sigh slips past despite myself as I glazed over it. That man really needs to stop.
As soon as I step in the front door, the same man jumped up from the couch with a plastic smile on his face. He clapped, bringing the attention of the two others from the dining room. The women looked up and one of them smiled. The woman then pushed her brown ringlets off her face, gracefully glided out her chair, and right up to me.
“Well isn’t the man of the house finally home!” She said happily as she pulled me in for a tight hug.
It was uncomfortable, for me and for her. I was pressed into her chest and thru my ears I could listen in on to her heart beating. I started to breathe heavily, trying to give her a hint to let go. Now. But yet she stayed hugging.
“Kelly, remember. He has to breathe.” My father reminded lightly.
She let go and giggled. “Sorry, haven’t seen much of you. Missed you sweetie.” She showed me a smile, and I forced a smile one back to her.
My father gave me a quick nod before guiding Kelly away to the side, allowing me to see my actual mother. She still sat at the dining room table, still picking at her plate that was laid out in front of her, still not happy. I walked up beside her, waved and quietly waited for her to notice me. Several minutes passed, the house silent even though there was living people in it. While I waited, I could feel the eyes of my father and Kelly. In fact, it seemed like the whole house was waiting. After a while I just walked away into the kitchen. The door swung shut behind me and with my absence everyone sighed, my mother being the loudest.
I dropped my bag by the table and went in the refrigerator for soda. It was right near the door so I casually eavesdropped on my parents.
“Frank! We are not send him to a camp. He can barely walk as it is. With all the sticks and rocks and all, do you want him in the hospital again?”
They were whispering as best as they could. Fortunately it was not good enough.
“I had nothing to do with that!” My father answered sharply. “And yes, maybe some time in the outdoors will help him. All you do is let him stay inside!”
My mother scoffed. “And what do you try to do sir-I-got-all-the-answers? Woodcarving? Automobiles? How is that all working?”
I jumped when Kelly walked threw the door. I slammed the fridge and went to the table without a glance towards her. Whipping out my books, I open one and start to browse through the pages. Kelly sits in the chair next to me. She’s biting her lip and tries to speak, but nothing comes out. Thankfully I don’t have that problem.
“So, Aiden?” I glance at her in the corner of my eye. “Uh, what do. . . how was your day?” She fidgeted in the seat.
I shrugged my shoulder and went back to the book. The words breeze past me in blurs, the pages swish in my ears. The pages smelled like peanut butter and felt damp. My school needs to invest in some new textbooks rather than a new soccer field.
“So I was thinking,” Her voice jumped with sudden excitement.
I shut the book and turned myself to the thinking woman.
“Maybe you would like to come over to my house for a couple days?” She offered with a smile. “Isabelle and Jimmy were asking about you, when you were staying over again and if you were working on stories.” She went off into a tangent about what her kids were wondering about me.
I sat there wondering if I just collapsed onto the wooden ground would she actually stop talking. I was much more curious about what my parents were talking about, since their conversation had gotten very quiet. Not sure if that was good or bad, but it made me uneasy.
Sitting up straight, I start to watch Kelly intently, waiting for a moment of breathe from the moment so I could elope. When it finally happens after a few minutes. I shoot right out of my seat. It makes her jump, but by the time I noticed it was from a backwards glance as I pushed passed the door. Poor thing.
My parents weren’t in the dining room. They weren’t in the living room. Instead they were outside by the car. I pulled a chair up by the window, lean against the glass and watched them like if they were cartoons. Arms waving, mouths gapped open, the expressions of their emotions came off crystal clear. Through the window I couldn’t hear the exact words being said, but common sense said it was something about me.
It is. They spot me in the window and both turn to me. I pick my face off and start to pull away when I bump into something. Kelly, she stares out the window at them. Looking at her face, it seems like the fighting has her strained as well, but that’s to be expected by someone who doesn’t usually deal with the two. Maneuvering around her, I pull the curtain closed, take her hand and lead her upstairs. It seemed like I was leading a puppy dog rather than a human. More like I was leading a child, her hand squeezed mine. It didn’t feel like she was confident on what to do, luckily for all of us I did. Pushing open a door set to the left of the staircase, I led her into my room.
She loves the green of the walls, it bothers me now. Tracing the white trimmings mid wall, she walked around my room until getting to my bed in the corner. I had my old rainforest comforter on. It was embarrassing but the creatures hidden in the greenery gave me something to do at night when the insomnia hits. We sit on the bed, after I straightened it a bit, in silence. It perks her up though, being in my realm, the little space not touched by either biological guardian.
“What do you think of a new comforter? I could get you a new rainforest.” She looked at me with such hope, refound energy that was just previously sucked out of her.
I didn’t want a new one, even when she was twirling a broken open corner of it. I didn’t even like the rainforest anymore. A navy blue one would be nicer, maybe make my room a bit maturer. Looking at her though, I swallowed my opinion and smiled at her. Watching her clap, she started to drone on about different countries and their own forests. I laid down on the edge and stared at the ceiling.
Happiness is received when someone else gives you the opportunity to get it. It’s that simple. Sometimes you gotta swallow yourself and just let them be happy once in awhile. It may be the only way.