these are the next two chapters 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 is Sammy’s birthday, and I’ve gotten him a gift. My best efforts still only produce a pathetic mess of wrapping paper loosely held together by a few snatches of tape, but the way Sammy tears into it, you would think it hangs the moon for him or something.
He squeals as the final layer of wrapping paper is thrown to the ground, holding the revealed box up for Ms. Emma to see.
“Well, Sammy, look at that!” She glances my way, a lopsided half-smile on her face.
I’ve gotten Sammy a new puzzle. It took me freaking forever to find it, but I finally managed to get my hands on a 500-piece gen-u-ine Nascar puzzle with Jeff Gordon on the front.
“Twenty-four, ‘n’ Jeff Gordon, Trey, Gordon!” Sammy doesn’t even wait for me to respond, instead bringing his hands to his face and squealing again.
I’m wearing a big grin. “I’m glad you like it, Sammy. Happy Birthday.”
“Birthday, Gordon, Jeff Gordon, Nascar, Trey. Ms. Emma, Nascar?”
It takes him two days to finish, and after he completes it the first time, he’s able to put it all together in a day. Which is basically what he does every day for the next two weeks.
We are sitting out in the garden today. The sun is being obscured by a heavy blanket of angry dark clouds, and an ominous rumble of thunder draws my attention away from the story Sammy is telling me.
Now, stories are fun to listen to when they come from Sammy. He doesn’t have the best grasp on sentence structure, so he’ll just say random words that relate to the point he’s trying to communicate, and he’ll wait for you to guess correctly. Today he’s talking about either a birthday party he went to or a circus—I’m still trying to figure it out when he suddenly goes quiet. Turning back to him, I see his eyes focused far out on the incoming tempest.
Deciding it would be best not to get caught in the rain, I stand up. “C’mon, Sammy! Let’s head back to the room.”
“Storm, Trey? Storm, ‘n’ rain?” Sammy’s eyes are still locked on the clouds above.
“Yep, a storm’s coming, bud. We don’t want to get caught in the rain, do we?” I turn around and walk in the direction of the school entrance, knowing Sammy will follow after a few seconds.
That’s when the clouds break.
My sprint towards the door is rendered utterly useless, because within five steps I’m completely drenched anyway. I slow to a walk, but sense that Sammy isn’t behind me yet. Whipping around, I see that he hasn’t moved at all from his spot in the garden, except that now he’s standing up. A jolt of icy panic rushes down my spine; he’s never been out in the rain like this before. Is he okay?
I run over to him. “Sammy? You all right, bud?”
He’s smiling, eyes closed. Slowly, he lifts his arms above his head, palms facing the sky to catch the rain. He turns his head this way and that, as if trying to see if one angle will open up to the most rain. A whisper of a laugh escapes his parted mouth.
I watch him like that, arms above his head, smile on his face, the rain pop, pop, popping off of his clothes, and I know—know—that whenever I think of Sammy, this will be the image that surfaces. Standing there, he could be anyone. He and I are the same.
I close my eyes and lift my hands into the air.