this is a chapter from my short story, special, that i wrote back in high school. i’m taking a break from regular blog posts so i can focus on expanding it into a novel for nanowrimo. enjoy!
Today I come in really frustrated about my history class. The teacher had given us an assignment for this three-page report on some dead guy we’re supposed to care about, and the rough draft is due in two days. Now, I know I’m not the epitome of a ‘shining star student’, which is what Mr. Tesh likes to call the Honor Roll kids, but I can say with some certainty that this assignment is just stupid; even the suck-ups were pretty ticked when he gave it out.
Anyway, I walk into the Blue Room a little irritated. Mrs. Brown looks up, immediately sensing something is wrong.
“You okay, Trey?” Her southern drawl is somehow akin to nails on a chalkboard today, its soothing quality snuffed out by my mood.
“Fine, Ms. Emma.” I set my backpack down on the ground, perhaps a little too roughly, and turn back to her.
She raises one eyebrow. “Whatever you say, Trey.” She pauses, looking me up and down, and gives a small sigh. “Well, whatever’s the matter, you best not show it when you’re with Sammy today. He is in a good mood, so take advantage of it.” She holds out a small stack of papers for me. “When he’s done with these, you can take him on his walk… how about you take him to the garden today?”
I nod, but as I’m grabbing the papers, Ms. Emma’s implication hits me. “You’re not coming on the walk today?” I ask, a sliver of panic finding its way into the question.
“Nope, I have too much paperwork to do here. You’ll be fine. This is, what, your fourth week with Sammy?” She smiles up at me and, apparently seeing that I don’t look too reassured, pats my shoulder. “Really, you’ll be fine.” She turns around and walks back to her desk.
Well, there’s not much I can do about this, so I meander through the various tables, making my way back to Sammy, who is working on the Toy Story puzzle at the Game Table. He is intently focused on attaching a certain piece to the frame, which he has already completed, and doesn’t look up when I reach his seat. I smile despite my mood. This kid sure does love that puzzle.
Sammy finally clicks the piece into place and looks up at me, smiling. “Buzz Lightyear, Trey, ‘n’ Buzz Lightyear?”
“Yep. Buzz Lightyear. We need to get you a new puzzle, Sammy.”
He doesn’t seem to get the concept. “Puzzle?”
I sigh. “We have some worksheets to do, Sammy. Let’s go to the Work Table.”
We do some simple adding, practice making capital K’s, and match half a dozen clocks to the digital time they are showing. Sammy is in an especially good mood today, doing everything with a sort of extra energy in his actions.
And then we’re done, and it’s time for the walk. Ms. Emma flashes an encouraging smile as I follow Sammy out the door, who apparently doesn’t notice or doesn’t care that she won’t be going with us. We make our way outside to the garden. Sammy’s making some random noises to occupy himself. It earns us a few odd glances from the students we pass, and part of me feels ashamed by the way it embarrasses me.
But when we arrive in the garden, Sammy’s noises instantly taper off. He walks straight to a patch of bright yellow tulips and points to them. “Pretty flowers, Trey, ‘n’ flowers?”
“Those are pretty,“ I say, following behind him as he walks over to an oak and plops down on the bench situated underneath its spanning limbs.
“Bench. Beautiful tree in the garden, the garden, Trey.” He inhales deeply, then laughs and looks down at his hands, shaking them. I smile a little and look away at some of the other greenery. It sure is a beautiful place; I can see why Sammy likes it so much.
We walk around for a little bit. Sammy keeps on pointing to things, telling me how beautiful they are. We play a color game, to see if he can find the flowers I see. It’s nice… I actually kind of enjoy the walk today. After ten minutes in the garden, Sammy abruptly looks up at me.
“Back to room? The room, Trey?”
I nod and we head back. Ms. Emma is at her desk, reading (and therefore not doing paperwork, I notice). She looks up as we walk in.
“Did you have fun on your walk, Sammy?” Sammy just smiles and looks down at his hands, shaking them. Ms. Emma smiles up at me. “Looks like you did a good job.”
I shrug. “He was good today.”
Ms. Emma nods, still smiling, and turns back to her book.
It’s not until I’m sitting in my fourth period class that I realize I’m not frustrated about anything anymore.