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To Dare

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Zeke

Zeke was daydreaming when he saw the wheelchair kid go down. He yanked his mind out of his imaginary plane ride, stopped, and watched the boys run, the kid stuck under the chair, apparently unable to rise. Surely someone would help him; they couldn’t all stare as they passed by. Zeke waited a few more seconds, mentally fighting with himself. He had long ago learned that people were going use favors against you, no matter how innocent they looked. But the kid didn’t look like he could get up on his own. He struggled for a minute, swearing under his breath, before collapsing.
“The things I do.” Zeke said, walking over to help the kid.
He lifted the wheelchair, and with a small clang set it back upright. One of the screws was missing. Zeke knelt and found it after a few seconds search. He screwed it back together while the kid sat up and wiped the rain out of his face and ran his fingers over his legs.
“They should make these things studier.” Zeke said, now testing the chair for stability.
“Thank you.” The kid said, pulling himself into the chair. The screw would hold, but not for long. Hopefully the kid had somewhere he could take it to get it fixed.
“Zeke.” he replied, as if that was enough, “I should apologize for those guys as well.”
Not that he really had to, but at that point Zeke was unsure of how to continue the conversation.
“Theodore.”
There was a name no one heard anymore. He probably had a sister named Claudia, a mother named Eleanor, and they lived on the upper west side. Zeke almost snorted.
“Don’t worry about it. You get used to being an oddity. Besides, I usually enjoy my time face first on the sidewalk.” Theodore added.
Zeke paused. It was in the way he dropped the last line, casually, and almost as if he was unaware of what he was saying. He looked at the kid again, and a small smile broke out on his face. Perhaps he wasn’t so bad after all.
“I should be going, I’ll be late. Thanks again.” the kid said after a minute.
“No problem. See you around.”
Theodore wheeled away, a movement that looked so natural it took Zeke a moment to realize that he was still staring after him. He shook his head, and turned down a side street, determined to put some distance between him and the impromptu meeting.

It was later, when Zeke was lying on his bed, that he remembered something Theodore had said. You get used to being an oddity. Zeke swallowed. Maybe the kid did get used to it, but that didn’t make it any better.
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