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Jane L. called my brother stupid. I remember that’s how it all began.
Simon is the kid on the block that everyone pities and points at. He has no friends except for me, and that’s because I let him play with my gameboy. Even so, sometimes I wish he isn’t there, and maybe that’s why I hate Jane L. for what she says.
Every day, Simon sits on the curb by our mailbox and waits. He waits, humming to a tune in his head that only he can hear. He kicks his legs with a thump on the pavement, his body swaying and twitching to an imaginary breeze. After lunch mama gives him a sucker, so usually he sits, sucking his sucker. I come out to bring him in at three, and his breath smells like grape, and he’s wearing purple lipstick. Jane L. and Morris Bay laugh, but Simon doesn’t really know. Not really.
Your brother is a retard, Jane L. snickers. I call her one, too.
Simon stands holding my hand, staring at the clouds. I glare at Jane L., and he pushes up his greasy glasses. I taste bile in my throat, but thankfully he only tastes grape.
I wonder if it’s contagious, says Jane L., then you’d be stupid too. You should confine him in a cage.
Jane L. and Morris Bay flaunt their fancy shiny bikes by their sides. I clutch my three year old gameboy in my hand, Simon’s hand in my other. I squeeze his hand, trying not to let that single drop slip down my cheek.
He’s my brother and I love him. I love-
Simon tugs my hand, gazing at the sky. Fly, fly, he says. Fly.
My dog is smarterer than he is, Jane L. says, ‘idiot’ in her eyes.
Anger. Simon’s hand slips through my fingers, gamebody dropping to the ground.
Smack as my fist connects with Jane L.’s nose. Ow.
What did you do that for? She whines.
I back away with Simon. They will leave us alone from now on.
Fly, he says, staring at the sky. M and Simon fly, he whispers. I squeeze his hand. Simon and M will fly. Someday.
Every day, Simon sits on the curb by the mailbox and waits. He wrote a letter to God, asking, ‘wy?’
He’s not stupid. He’s waiting for an answer.
And I’ll wait with him.