ABOUT THE SERIES: The next several posts will be part of a series I wrote a while back. It’s about two children named Jack and Elaine and some of the trials and tribulations they go through.
A Silent Call for Friendship
There was a cacophony of noise filling the air as children talked and laughed on the bus ride back from the science museum. Ten seats back on the driver’s side, a lone young boy named Jack sat staring out the window. He saw cars drive by, people walking and clouds floating listlessly through the sky. Trees lined the road and birds sat upon the wires as they drooped above the streets. A warm breeze blew in the window, tossing the hair of the six-year-old sitting on the green vinyl bus seat. The bus hit a bump and kids bounced and laughed, but the boy did not so much as smile. He just continued looking out the window.
The boy’s mind wasn’t in the bus at all. He was flying free outside alongside the bus, looking in at himself. That sad, solemn face peering back. He looked down to break the gaze of his mind’s eye, at which point the bullying words from within the bus were audible again. “Hey stupid! Hey ree-tard. Who dressed you? Huh?” a child said from across the aisle. There was a rise laughter from children nearby.
“Stupid. Can’t even hear me, can you dummy?” The voice said, followed by an audience of laughter.
Tears welled up in the boy’s eyes and a lone tear went down his soft cheek as he stared out the window. Jack always tried so hard not to listen to the other boys. Why do they always choose me to pick on? He asked himself. The truth was, he knew why. He was quiet, smaller than the other boys and preferred to read over playing.
“Lackey Jacky the stupid dummy.” The boy said again and staid “Lacky… Jacky.” the other boys started chanting “Lackey Jacky”.
Jack spent so much time in his own world, his own place where he could find solitude. He sat staring out the windows, playing alone in the playground or simply drawing pictures that brought him peace. Trapped here on the bus was like living through his own private hell and no one ever seemed to notice or care. There was a part of him inside that was screaming for them to stop but he had been put down and made fun of for so long that he couldn’t defend himself. Not anymore.
He began to cry softly sitting there alone in his bus seat, as the boy led on the other boys in the chant of “Lackey Jacky the stupid dummy.” Then the boy from across the aisle said in a pouting face, “You crying baby Jacky? Boo hoo. It’s so sad, that he’s so stupid. Cry baby Jack, where’s your Mommy? Hmm?” the boy called.
Jack glanced over at them and then turned and looked out the window, feeling complete and utter shame for not being able to defend himself and yet there was also an anger, deep within him that he couldn’t quite grasp. Just as Jack was contemplating why he couldn’t defend himself and why people always chose him to pick on, there was a loud smack. The sound of skin on skin caused Jack to turn quickly and look at the boy that had been tormenting him from across the aisle. The left side of his face was beat red and tears were welling up in his own eyes. Standing in the aisle was a girl that Jack had seen at the playground. She was tall for a six-year-old, had red hair and freckles and was smiling right at him. She turned and looked at the boy that was bullying him.
“You gonna cry?” she mocked towards the boy, then she sat down beside Jack, his heart leaped. He had never had someone stick up for him before and felt an alien emotion creeping in. Respect? Elation?
“Hi, I’m Elaine.” She said, holding out her hand. He shook it and smiled through eyes that were drying. “I’m new to the school and it looks you need a friend. Just so happens, I need one too.” She said smiling.
“I’ll be your friend. Thank you.” He said smiling.