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The Lonely Boy
“Thank you Stanley. That was a very impressive personal essay. You can sit down now.”
The little boy smiled at his peers and walked slowly to his desk. The fourth grade class was to write personal essays about themselves and there was one more person to read theirs.
“Martin, it is your turn to read your personal essay.”
There was no answer
“Martin! It’s your turn!” she repeated. A few kids giggled as Stanley turned around in his desk to face Martin.
“Martin, will you go already?”
Martin slowly stood up and began to walk to the front of the room with his head pointed towards the floor. After making his way to the front, he turned around, still with is head down.
“Martin, are you ready?”
Martin looked up and smiled. “I sure am Mrs. Winkler.”
“Then go ahead Martin. We’re waiting.”
“Ahem,” he cleared his throat. “My personal essay is called ‘The Lonely Boy’ and it’s all about me!” Martin looked at the class and smiled a goofy smile. A girl in the back of the class giggled.
“Martin, we know it’s about you. That’s what a personal essay is. Now go on.” Now several people began to laugh.
“Okay, here goes something,” he said. “I’m known as ‘the lonely child.’ As a baby I never played with the others in daycare. All through school I sat in the corner during story time. Nobody ever takes me as a friend. Not even as an acquaintance.”
“Big word!” a boy in the back of the class said.
“Be considerate and listen! Go on Martin.”
Martin nodded and continued. “During my mom’s pregnancy she didn’t take much caution. Usually she would be seen smoking a cigarette or drinking some whiskey. They were her best companion; second to men. There were and are men; before and after I was born. My mom liked to party a lot. She still does. She used to tell me it was all fun and games until someone got conceived. I wasn’t sure what that meant before, but it just means that I came along. She calls me the “accident” in her life.”
Martin looked around at the class and smiled. When he looked at his teacher, she had a look of disgust plastered across her face.
“Did I do something wrong?” Martin asked.
“No Marin. Please continue.” She looked at Martin with a soothing smile and gestured for him to continue. Martin nodded and once again began to read from the papers in his hands.
“When I was born, the doctors told her that my defect was a mix of the drugs, alcohol, and stress from the parties. They told her that that’s what caused my eyes to be so close together and my forehead to be bigger than many would think possible. They said it wasn’t too much of a problematic deformity, and that my brain would work just as fine as everyone else’s.” Martin tapped the side of his temple and smiled at his average intelligence.
“They also promised her that I would grow out, or more like in to my forehead and that my eyes would straighten out. They were wrong as you can see. I think that’s why most people don’t want to be my friend. My face looks funny! That’s okay because I have a friend. Actually I have a few friends. Well, they aren’t live people, but they are comforting just the same. They’re sock puppets and I have twenty-three of them! My best sock puppet friend is Eduardo. He’s the most understanding. He also is ‘the lonely child.’ It’s nice that we can relate, which is why we get along so well.”
A loud roar of laughing broke out across the class. It was pure chaos. Martin looked around confused at first.
“What did I say wrong?” he asked out loud.
“You’re crazy!” a kid yelled.
“But wait! I haven’t finished my essay yet.” Martin looked at Mrs. Winkler with pleading eyes.
“Quiet down class! Let the boy finish!” The class was quieted down to a dull roar. “I said QUIET!” The class shut up almost instantly. She looked at Martin with the same sympathetic and soothing smile. “Go ahead Martin.”
“Well, my sock puppet, Eduardo, and I have fun together. Because neither of us have good friends, we support each other. He’s always there when I’m sad or scared or right after I get a beating from my mother. Sometimes we sing together too. Well, I mostly sing because Eduardo isn’t that good, but don’t tell him that. He gets upset easily. Sometimes we even skip around in our underwear and I sing Happy Birthday to him. That’s his favorite song!”
That was enough to make the class explode again and his teacher had a scared and sad look on her face. Martin began to think the worst about what was happening.
“Was it that bad Mrs. Winkler?” Martin began to cry.
His teacher jumped up and led him out of the class and sat him down on a bench in the hallway.
“Honey, is it that bad at home? Are you lonely?”
“No, I’m not lonely. I have my sock puppets. My mom is always out. She doesn’t like to bother me she says. I don’t mind though. I kind of like the quiet.”
“What about dinner time? What do you eat?”
“I know how to cook. I like Mac N’ Cheese. It’s my favorite!” Martin began to perk up and smiled wiping away traces of tears.
“What about when you get in trouble. What does your mother do?”
“My mom says I’m a bad kid. I don’t try to be. I try to listen, and sometimes I don’t know what I’ve done. It’s usually a switch. My mom says it gets the job done.”
Mrs. Winkler looked at him with fear in her eyes. “Honey, I have to go make a phone call. Can you wait right here? I won’t be long.”
“Yeah. I won’t move!”
His teacher hurried down the hall to the school office. Around ten or fifteen minutes later, Mrs. Winkler and a man and a woman in a suit walked down the hallway and stopped in front of Martin.
“Hello Martin. How are you?” The woman in a violet pant-suit kneeled down and looked into his face.
“I’m okay I guess. Who are you?” Martin looked up at them confused. “Did I do something wrong? I’m confused.”
“Martin, we’re here to help. Would you like to come with us?”
“Why do I need to go with you? I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Martin, are things at home bad?”
“NO!” Martin stood up and shouted again. “NO! I didn’t do anything wrong. Now leave me ALONE!” Martin ran down the hallway away from the man and woman and his teacher.
Back at home Martin sat in his room with Edwardo on his hand.
“How was school Martin?” Martin made the sock puppet say.
“School was weird today. My teacher brought these weird people to me that wanted me to go with them. Then they asked if things at home were bad.”
“Oh my,” Martin made Edwardo say again.
“I know. Then I stood up and shouted at them. Then I ran.”
“You did the right thing Martin.”
“I know. So Edward, how about singing a song?”