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!
It’s Wednesday and I’m helping Sammy turn a bunch of construction paper and some tape into a flower magnet for his mom. He’s clumsy with the scissors, and it takes a few tries before we get the shape just right. Sammy has spread an ample amount of the gluestick’s purple goo all over the stem and is attempting to place it in just the right spot.
With my help, he writes April showers bring May flowers, one word on each petal. He is so intensely proud of his work when we finish that he keeps pulling it out of his backpack to look at it when he thinks Ms. Emma or I aren’t looking.
I love this kid.
Things happen fast your senior year. I mean, they always say that it’s a time for change and all that, but it doesn’t really sink in until I’m looking at the acceptance letter for the college I’ve applied to. I’ve shown all my friends and told my parents, but for some reason, as I walk into the Special Needs room, I feel a slight apprehension to tell Ms. Emma. It’s stupid, of course; she knows I’ll be gone next year. But Sammy doesn’t. I don’t know, maybe I’m overestimating the impact I’ve had on him, judging it by the impact he’s had on me.
Ms. Emma makes all the appropriate oohs and ahhs and congratulates me on my achievement. She asks about the campus, other people I know that are going, and what I plan on studying.
Sammy, who has switched back to the Toy Story puzzle the past few weeks, hears us talking and wanders over.
“Letter for Trey?” he asks.
“Yep, I got a letter, Sammy,” I reply, looking at Ms. Emma. Oddly enough, she seems to know exactly what I’m thinking. She nods in encouragement. Tell him.
“Letter for Trey? That’s Trey’s letter,” Sammy says.
“That’s right.” I pause for a few seconds. Sammy is looking at me, mouth open slightly, eyebrows raised in interest. “I got accepted into a college.”
“College, ‘n’ Trey? School?”
I swallow. “That’s right, Sammy. I’ll be going to school at college next year.”
Sammy closes his mouth and blinks slowly. I can tell he’s processing what he’s just heard. For a moment I don’t think he’s going to say anything. Then, “Trey, ‘n’ Sammy? College?”
I sigh a little. “I won’t be here next year, Sammy,” I say gently.
Sammy’s eyebrows twitch, then meet together. “Trey?” he says uncertainly. I don’t say anything. Distressed and unable to express it in any other way, he shoves a stack of worksheets off the table in front of us and storms over to the Green Room, a few pitiful wails following him to the couch.
For two days, he doesn’t talk to me. Ms. Emma tells me he’s never withdrawn this long before. Over the weekend, I have an idea. I glue together a popsicle stick frame and decorate it with some Crayola markers and stickers I find tucked away in our old craft closet. Searching through my computer files, I select and print out a picture of Sammy and me, taken a few weeks back. I slide it into the frame and bring it with me the following Monday, placing it on Trey’s desk while he’s on a walk with Ms. Emma. I’m doing some homework when they walk in.
I don’t look at Sammy, but I can hear his distinctive shuffle across the floor as he moves to his desk. He stops at his chair, picking up the frame. I’m waiting, mentally crossing my fingers. Sometime between five seconds and five years later, I hear him shuffle over to the desk at which I’m working.
“Trey, ‘n’ Sammy?”
I smile and turn around. Sammy is looking down at the ground, holding the picture out to me. I shake my head. “I made that for you, Sammy. It’s yours.”
Sammy hesitantly pulls the frame into is chest, cradling it in his arms.
I try to think of what to say. “That’s so you can see me next year, even though I’ll be at college.”
“College, Sammy, Trey. College.” Sammy’s eyes travel up to my face. He holds out the picture and points to it. “Sammy’s?”
“That’s right, it’s your picture, Sammy.”
“Trey ‘n’ college. College, Trey.”
A tiny part of my heart breaks for this kid. “How about this: I’ll come back and visit you a few times next year, okay?”
Sammy’s eyes widen a fraction. “Visit? Trey visit, Sammy?”
I nod. “Absolutely.”
Sammy nods and sits in a chair next to me. A full minute of silence passes by. Then he turns to me. “Trey, ‘n’ Sammy?”
I smile. “That’s right, bud.”