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!
Ms. Emma doesn’t come on walks with us at all anymore. I figure this is going to be the case when she starts using the ‘paperwork’ excuse more frequently, but, to be honest, it’s sort of nice being able to spend some time with just Sammy. Walks are times of freedom for him, without any work or jobs to worry about.
He’s recently watched Peter Pan, and it’s the only thing he’s talked about all week. “Sword fighting, ‘n’ Peter Pan and Hook, Trey, Hook?”
“Peter Pan and Hook were sword fighting?”
Sammy nods, smiling. “Sword fighting, ‘n’ fighting, Trey. Fighting.”
I laugh to myself and look up to see Calvin, one of my buds, walking down the hall towards Sammy and me. “Hey, man!” I say, waving.
Calvin looks up, raises an eyebrow. He pauses for a split-second and does a bad job of covering it up. “Hey, Trey.”
Sammy has gone completely silent beside me. I look over to see him staring nervously at the floor.
“What’s, uh… what’s with the sped kid?”
I look up sharply, realizing two things in the span of a second: first, I would have referred to Sammy in the exact same manner two months ago. Second, hearing someone else call Sammy a ‘sped kid’ now makes me instantly defensive. Excuse me?
“I’m working with Ms. Emma in the Special Needs room this semester,” I say.
He laughs like I’ve told him a joke. “Um… why?”
Reflexively, I prepare to tell him about Mr. Tesh’s ultimatum, but something stops me. Is that really the only reason I’m still working with Sammy?
“Why not?” I answer evenly. Then, as an afterthought, “Sammy’s a good kid.”
Calvin nods slowly, as if deciding to humor me. “Sammy. That’s cool, Nelson.” And he laughs again, walking past us, leaving me to wonder why the heck I ever liked the guy.
We start walking again and Sammy says, “Good kid, Trey?”
I pat him on the back. “You’re a great kid, Sammy.”
And in the span of that second, I realize that my priorities have changed.