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Jaime watched through the chain link fence. Boys were running around the soccer field, kicking and chasing a black and white ball while a grown-up man in a red baseball hat shouted stuff at them. Jaime thought he might like to play with some of the other boys there, since he knew them from school, but he didn’t want to play soccer. And not any other sport, either. For some reason, which he wasn’t entirely sure he understood himself, Jaime didn’t like sports.Unfortunately, pretty much all the other boys he knew, both from the neighborhood and from the third grade at his school, loved sports. Outside of Star Wars and Pokemon (two other things Jamie didn’t like very much), sports seemed to be the big – actually, the only thing of interest. Jaime sighed.Dad wanted him to play some sport (any sport), just so he could feel like he belonged. Jaime figured it didn’t matter much one way or the other. The problem was compounded however, by the fact that although some of the girls thought Jaime was nice (and not too crazy, like a lot of the boys), they only wanted to do girly-girl things, like polish their nails and sing along with Miley Cyrus or Demi Lovato songs. Jaime wasn’t into that either.“Guess I better go home. Nothing much to do here,” Jaime said to no one in particular.“You wanna do something with me?” said a voice behind him. Jaime turned around to see Mark, a kid who lived at the other end of Jaime’s development, standing there. Mark was a year younger than Jaime. He was born with some kind of spine disease and wore braces on his feet and lower legs. Mark sometimes used crutches or a wheelchair to help him get around, too.“I’m not much into sports either,” said Mark. “You can see why. I sometimes wish I could do it, but that’s the way it is for me. But I like art. I paint and draw and sculpt. I’m good at it. My mom and dad made me a studio in our house.”Jaime’s eyes widened. “I love art! I’ve even taken some art classes at the Art 4 Kids place in town. Cartoon drawing and 3-D stuff and a couple of other classes, too. I thought I was the only boy around here who was really into art like that. I think most of the kids think it’s just weird or something – you know?”“Nope,” replied Mark, “Not weird. Just who you are. Just who I am, too. Right? So...you wannna come over and see my studio? Maybe we can do some drawings or something. I have lots of paper and pastels and paints.”“Thanks, Mark. Yeah - I would like to check it out. Your studio sounds really cool.” Mark grinned. “C’mon then, let’s go.”Jaime turned away from the chain link fence and walked down the street with Mark. It was the first time in quite a while that Jaime felt genuinely happy about things.
I kept my eyes lowered. Thankfully, my bangs were long and fringy, so they hid most of my face. The note felt like it weighed a hundred pounds as I raised it to hand to Mr. Guterez.He looked it over, then pointed to the very back – the only empty seat. Great. I felt like a complete schlep, walking between the rows of battered, scar-filled desks. I could feel the stares, but I refused to make eye contact.As I slunk into the seat, I curled my back over the desktop, letting my bag drop to the floor.A hand reached across the aisle, touching me gently on the shoulder.Damn. No way I could ignore that. I looked up.A girl, brunette with two braids and a brace filled smile, whispered, “Hey, I’m new here too.”My eyes widened. I wanted to say, really? But didn’t.“My first day was yesterday,” she continued.And just like that, my day got a whole lot brighter.
Lightverse & Heather - very sweet stories!