As I reblogged just a moment ago, LyfWithEm is hosting a short story competition, closing tonight; here is my entry!
As I stood, halfway up the stone stairway leading up to the imposing, dull-coloured brick school building, I observed the scene before me. It was spread out before me, the people like pieces in an intricate, fast-paced game of chess, but a game in which rules do not apply, and victory only comes to at the sound of a bell. It wasn’t a chess game though, although I wish it was; chess has rules, and logic, and reasons for actions. Instead, here on the school playground, logical thinking was about as likely as a polar bear growing three heads and learning to speak English.
I dropped down, perching myself on the fourth or fifth step up, and shuffling myself towards the edge of the stairway, where the drop from step to step became deeper. Here, I let my legs swing freely in the chilly winter air, and shivered, alone. I was still watching the students ahead of me, laughing, shouting, running, smiling, chatting. I wondered, as I always wonder, how they did it. I wondered how they socialised with such ease, and with so little fear of judgement, or negative comments from others. Maybe, I thought, it’s me that’s the odd one out, the exception. Maybe it’s not them after all, because there are hundreds of them, and one of me.
I sat, alone, as I did every day. A younger boy – maybe one, or two years below me -, approached me, slowly, tentatively. I instinctively shook my head at the boy, warning him not to approach. Instantly mentally scoulding myself, I stilled my head, and set about forming a warm, inviting smile, but by this time, it was already too late; the boy had lost interest, or confidence, or whatever, and turned away. I thought about standing, for a moment, to follow him. Maybe we could talk, or have lunch together, or whatever. Maybe I’d find that he was a nice person, or he’d have similar interests to my own. But who was I kidding? There’s not a chance in heaven or hell that i’d follow this boy, because even maintaining a conversation initiated by someone else was well out of my ability, let alone initiating a conversation with an almost total stranger.
It’s lonely, I suppose, being this way. I don’t talk to people, and people, over time, have learnt not to talk to me. Even the teachers, after many months, have concluded that asking me a question is just a waste of their time. My silence, it’s for a reason. I’m not one of these I’ll-look-wise-by-keeping-every-thought-in-my-head-to-myself people; far from it. It was about nine months ago now. It was after school, during the spring, just before the February holidays. My mother, for one reason or another, came to pick me up from school. ONe thing you should know about my mother: she’s in a wheelchair. she’s simi-paralised, and uses a wheelchair to get about. i’m used to it; she’s been that way for pretty much my whole life, and for all of my life that I can remember. Nothing was said about my mother in a wheelchair, nothing, that is, until the next morning. Leo, the school bully [you know the type] began to say things. Horrible things. I’m thick skinned; I can take an insult. I struggled to contain my anger; he was constantly saying these things. It made me scared, to go outside, and see what the latest oh-so-amusing-comment was. One day, I snapped. By this point, the whole bullying thing had spread, and this one boy came out of the English department, sat in one of the chairs. He’d clearly dressed up for the occasion, making himself look like a fool, but a fool who was insulting those who were wheelchair-bound. I snapped.
When I snap, i don’t show it. I don’t aet angry, or start shouting, or hit walls. I just go quiet. I remove myself from the situation, and go silent. I don’t speak, and I purposefully reject others. Nine months later, in November, things hadn’t changed.
In one way, I was just fine with that.
In another way, I wish I could change things. But it’s too late now.