Children

By
Some people will tell you they think best in the shower. Others might insist not the shower, but rather their bed at night when all other voices had been silenced. In both cases we are warm. I think warm people are happy people. It’s why children love the sun. And cloudy grey days bring sad minds with sad thoughts. I must admit to you which follows is an account of a cloudy, rainy day. I suggest you read this on a cloudy, rainy day too. There was this boy once. Back when boys still thought they could change the world. They were wrong, none the less. The problem is that there are just too many of us. Plus we’re stubborn creatures who won’t even accept the ideas of someone who has devoted their life to that idea. That’s our downfall. Ignorance.

Today, back then, this boy was not concerned about these things. He had too many of his own ideas. What he had decided was most everyone was mentally ill. He would watch them with great fascination. To watch something, one must blend in. So this boy did; he appeared in every way just like them. Even his emotions were theirs. But not his ideas. Boys were still allowed to have those. This boy had many, and he was confident they were all correct. Nothing could persuade him otherwise.

That day this boy had decided against all that these foreign ways that had been since governing him. He’d had enough of watching these people. He’d wrote in his journal the following about them:

“Unappreciative. They, none of them, have the ability to appreciate a single complimentary thing in their life. Even after they’ve lost it, they still don’t truly appreciate what it is they had.”

“Why do they care so much about who someone’s hormones have told them to like? It isn’t their fault they like them, nor their achievement. Yet they value this information as vampires value blood. Even murderers, when faced with their guilt, don’t cry over it as much as these people do.”

“I took his iPod. A device that allows one to listen to music through earphones. He didn’t know it was me, so he couldn’t blame anyone, although he tried to blame Tom. He became restless and I watched him go home. When he met his mother, she became angry and slapped him for losing it. I left him two iPods the next day.”

“They force me to study. To learn and take tests and read. I find it ironic, today we read a story about a Jewish man who got so fed up with doing what the Germans wanted of him he shot one of them. His dignity had been taken away, if that’s any conciliation to the dead German. They told me the Jewish man was right, the Germans were wrong.”

The boy walked into class and sat down. He looked to the right and saw a boy by the name of Antonio. He said hello, Antonio responded the same. Antonio came from a family where his father beat him for no right reason. His father had been treated the same, and late at night, Antonio cried fiercely (make note, he never cried when being hurt), because he feared he would replicate the actions on to his kids. He had considered suicide because of this. His only means of content were the smile from the girl he adored.

The uneventful speaker greeted them on the radio. The school had long toted their radio intercom system, which was the envy of many bordering schools. Today roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, and pineapple tidbits were being served in the cafeteria. The price had been raised from $2.75 to $3.05. This brought several gasps in the room. The boy did not react in the slightest. The boy was going to do this. He would slam his fists on his desk when they were reading. Before anyone could speak up in protest he intended to be out the door with a girl named Rose, who he absolutely loved. She had no idea she was part of any plan; all she cared about was paying attention in class to please her parents with good grades. It was hard for her to get good grades.

His plan was to then to walk a couple of miles to the city park and lay with Rose in the grass. He would hold her hand and stare up at the sky. In that moment there would be no words from their mouths. Not one. But they would say more than anyone else in the world that day. This was his plan. It wouldn’t work, they never do.

The daily messages finished.

“Everyone, everyone, please pull out your book and read for the next 15 minutes as usual. Remember to take notes on words which you find interesting for our discussion after this, and if anyone can find me an example of foreshadowing, they get five extra credit points.”

The boy pulled out Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. He opened to the first page and pretended to read. Actually, he was on page 98. He kept glancing at the clock, 8:01. They had replaced the old clocks because the principal felt that the clicking sounds on the clock were too distracting. Really, they were just too depressing. One would drive themselves insane watching it click every second. Similar to how when you call the phone number for support of a particular product, the music is continues to keep one from realizing how long they have really been waiting.
Instead the boy was now staring at a constant second hand. Around and around it went, never stopping (Oh, the metaphors I could make). However, his mind was on his now very close revolution. He could feel it building up inside him. Urging him more and more until, he suspected, he would just explode and before realizing what had happened, he would be 100 feet away from the school, running on the sidewalk, the happiest boy that ever existed.

It did not go as planned. The poor boy, he didn’t calculate the force of his fists enough, and the sound he made on the desk was also offset by the girl next to him sneezing. A faint thump echoed in the room. The teacher said, in a polite manner, to not make any noses, as it was silent reading time. Not to blame the teacher, his actions were just as would be expected of anyone.

The boy had dreamed of a dramatic conversation in which he proved himself right. Like in the movies, and on television. The will was not big enough though, that poor boy. A bird without wings. Instead, he quickly wrote out a note and folded it out. It read:

“Dear Rose. I hope you can forgive me for the suddenness, but today I had hoped to take a stroll to the park with you, and lay in the grass with you. I know you have no idea what kind of person I am or for that matter, who I am; I am sorry, my only excuse is my inability at conversation. But if you have ever hoped for a life without such trivial worries as the one you live, take a chance today. I’ll be in the bathroom for 5 minutes. If you don’t show up I’ll go by my self. I leave you with the words of John Greenleaf Whittier,

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

The boy then got up, nonchalantly placed the note on her desk as he walked by to ask the teacher if he could go to the bathroom. The teacher said ok, and the boy waited for 5 minutes in the bathroom. She did not come. In fact, she would never even read the note. When the boy had placed it on her desk, she hadn’t noticed. At the end of class she would find it under a piece of paper, not knowing what it was, and place it in her pocket for later examination. Instead, she would again forget about it, and it would be washed in the washing machine along with her pants. When her mother discovered it, it would be discarded in the trash.

When the 5 minutes were up, the boy waited another 3. Worried of discovery, he decided he had to go without her. Later, after he’d been placed in the instructional assistance school up north, he would cry about her never coming. It’s all he would cry about.

He made it out of the school safely, without detection. He decided to go to the park even without the girl. When he made it there, he too decided to lay in the grass without the girl.

Here is what happened to him. He would lay in contemplation of himself and his actions, filled with much adolescent pride. It would become late, and he would decide not to go home. It would be a cold night, and he would decide instead to go home at 5am. His parents would be mad. Even more so the next day when they he refused to return to school, and then the school called him due to his absence. The principal would say something along the lines of, “Whatever the reason, he left in such a hurry he forgot his backpack, and his book out on the table.”

Eventually he’d end up at the instructional assistance school up north. He’d cry every night for that girl. But the instructional assistance were brilliant at their job, and soon had him believing that he was a child then, and had grown up now. He thought of his actions that day as wrong, for the remaining days of his life.

He would of course grow up to live a fairly uninteresting life. It’s the fate of all of us, you know. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” -Henry David Thoreau

And in the end, I suspect all we can say is, “That poor boy!”. Dreams were a disease to the masses back then. People were all infected and soon became afraid of each other. Nobody wanted to be sick. So they distanced themselves from each other. They bought themselves more and more secluded apartments, replaced human services with machines and computer, argued that they were more efficient and they would save more money to buy more machines. There was a great hypocrisy those days, the saddest part being no one believed it, save for when they died. In their last 3 seconds on earth, people would see the real truth.

That Poor boy.





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