|Image courtesy Magpie Tales|
Thomas had spent his day, in classes, watching the rain stream down the rooms’ windows in varying sized rivulets; blank faced and alive only in his imagination. He was safely tucked away in his own mind, and the taunts of other children, stresses of incomplete homework assignments, and disappointing looks from teachers went unnoticed. His diminutive size, and shyness, made him a target of ridicule and mischief, but his wont to fantasize never left him defenseless.
At times Thomas would let his thoughts dwell in realms of the future or magical nations, but today his mind drifted to the last bell of the day releasing students from captivity to freedom. His father had just started a new business down the road from the Junior High, and Thomas loved to go and work on his homework and play computer games in the pristine office area. He had no idea what his father did, and it didn’t matter. All he craved was his time in the presence of his paternal idol.
The day passed in a haze of unfinished works, and the final bell rang through the din of sneers and jibes.
The rain let up several hours ago. Grey storm clouds had broken up, or moved on, making room for blue sky and sunshine. Thomas took a deep breath as he stepped out from the front doors of the institution; closed his eyes and smiled into the ball of warmth. The race to his father’s office was short and, panting, he found himself outside the buildings main door. Inside the lights hummed, casting their dimness about the hallways filled with stale office air.
Stairs where mounted two at a time. Upon gaining the second floor, the junior high student raced to the second office on the right. His shaking hand reached for the door handle while multiple forms of hello flooded through his mind.
The door was locked, and the discovery was heart rending.
An hour later Thomas found himself trudging along downtown sidewalks; sinking within the thrall of disappointment. Black and white converse sneakers splashed through puddles. Clouds slowly gathered overhead, and the young boy’s tears flowed over flushed cheeks. There was little joy found in the nuances of the town’s shopping district. The drug store, and book store drifted by unentered, the pet store couldn’t break through the gloom that gathered in the student’s heart.
The downtown scenery slowly changed to a residential backdrop.
The soft click of bicycles coasting brought Thomas back to reality. He lifted his chin from his chest and wiped the tears from his face and eyes with the back of his hand. Clouded vision cleared and he turned round to catch glimpse of the riders. His attention rolled over the colorful metallic frames of three bicycles and their riders. Had his heart not been properly resting in his chest it would have slid out to rest among the fall puddles rippling with the wind.
The riders swiftly approached and slowed to match the sluggish gate of Thomas, who’s eyes had began to water.
“Oh God, not now,” thought the young school boy as the three riders began to torment their fellow classmate. These three were the main causes of his distress between starting and ending school bells, and they seemed even more blood thirsty now without the confines of educators and adults near by.
The insults grew vulgar.
Thomas ran for all his worth.
Out of breath, and stumbling, Thomas turned down his street and began to trek home. The three youthful riders must have sensed his confidence swelling with home in sight. They took flight in the opposite direction.
The young school boy was sobbing with disappointment and terror when he reached the small ranch house in the middle of the block. He craved nothing more than to be sheltered by his mother and held; to be told everything would be alright. His staggering feet brought him to the front door. He reached up to open the front door, and found only further dismay when the door refused to be breached. Thomas’s shaking fingers found the bell in tear filled blurs and rang it. There was no answer.
With no where to go, and his heart breaking, he trudged through the mud along the side of the house. Again, he wiped the tears from his face and eyes and sought about for something to occupy his time.
He rounded the back corner of his home and found a fallen branch upon the porch formed of laid brick. It was small enough for him to manipulate and he crouched down and began to dig through the grouted joints. His mind drifted to realms of magic and space aged wonder.
He was alone, again, and safe within the confines of his own mind. The clouds broke once more and let the sunlight beam down upon the brick porch, and Thomas closed his eyes, turned his face towards the warmth and inhaled deeply. The smell of spring was powerfully present, and the warmth of summer was making it’s first appearance.
The young schoolboy smiled, twisting the fallen branch about the mud that had collected in the joints of the bricks.