A story about a young boy growing up - with a twist.
|Joseph, or Joe as his few friends called him, was a troubled child. At 12 years old he was small and pudgy. His lack of hair and deep-set eyes added to his strange look. Joe had hair, but it was a light blond and very short. It also covered his entire body except his face. He had the pallor of someone who lived inside his whole life. Those kids who were not his friends and some adults had other names for him. |
Joe’s mother knew it had been a rough day at school. He walked into the kitchen with his head and shoulders down. Joe sat at the kitchen table uninterested in his glass of juice.
“Bad day, my little bug?”
“Mom, why is it most of the kids are scared of me? My friend Jimmy says it’s because I look so different from them. He says he doesn’t mind. Jimmy thinks it’s cool I’m different.”
“Well, Jimmy is a smart boy. How you look shouldn’t matter. Besides you have a couple of friends. You don’t need a lot. Just a few good ones.”
“I guess. Mom, did you and Dad look like me when you were young? I mean, I got it from somewhere.”
“Joseph, how you look doesn’t count. And yes, your father and I looked a little weird when we were young. We grew out of it and so will you. Then you’ll be a tall handsome adult and all the girls will want to know you.”
“I hope so.”
“Now, drink your juice and go do your homework. Then you can go play.”
Joe quickly drank his juice and headed for his room. None of his teachers assigned him a lot of homework so finishing his studies didn’t take long. He daydreamed about a day when he would grow up tall and strong. A day when maybe everyone would like him.
Joe knew that day would come. Waiting for what he wanted was hard. So hard he tried to think up shortcuts. Nothing came to him.
“I guess I’ll have to wait.”
In the backyard Joe played on the swing. He loved the sensation of flying it gave him. He hoped someday maybe he could fly. It couldn’t be hard, and he knew lessons were available. You just had to be old enough.
Joe heard that a lot from his parents. Be patient. You have to be old enough!
School the next day was mostly a continuation of the previous day. Some kids said hello, most didn’t. The bell sounded for recess, and everyone ran outside to play.
“Hey Joe, let’s play some sugar ball.” Before Joe could say no, Jimmie called out to the other guys, “Anyone want to play sugar ball?”
The answer was a resounding Yes. Everyone rushed over and teams were quickly picked up. Joe was the only one not picked. Jimmie looked at him with sadness. “Joe, you’re on my team. You know that. We’re friends.”
The sugar ball was tossed straight up and the two team captains went for it. Jimmie was faster. The boy was all arms and legs. Jimmie looked for an opening and found it. Joe had managed to move slowly up to the basket. Jimmie was flying towards the basket when Sluggo swooped out of nowhere. The ball was tossed to Joe who managed to almost catch it, but Jen rushed in, caught the ball, and make the basket.
Before long the bell rang, and everyone slowly and reluctantly returned to their classes. Before long lunch came and went. After the afternoon recess and more instruction, it was time for everyone to buzz home.
Joseph’s dad was home early this day. “How was your day, son?”
“Same everyday, dad. We played sugar ball today and I almost caught it, but my arms are too short. Jen flew in and saved the day. So, it was okay.”
“Don’t worry son. Soon you’ll be able to play like the other kids do. Everyone develops differently.”
Joe’s mother was sitting next to her husband. “Your dad's right sweetie. Everyone goes through different stages at different times. You’ll get there. Just be patient. Hungry?”
“Mom, I’m not hungry. Not for dinner either. I’m just tired. Can I go to my room?”
“Does it hurt anywhere?”
“Kind of everywhere. I just want to sleep.” Joe fought a yawn off.
“Ok, sweetie. I’ll check on you later. Now buzz off and sleep.”
Joe left and headed for bed. “Husband,” Joe’s mom said, “our little boy is changing – growing up. I think I’m going to cry.”
“Sugar, it had to happen sooner or later. He’s weeks behind schedule.”
Little Joe was changing as his mother said and through the next few days, she kept a keen eye on her little guy. Joe stayed buried under his cover and slept dreaming of growing up big and strong. Handsome too. His mother said so and she never lies.
On the fourth day Joe woke up starving. He didn’t do any of the things he usually did in the morning. Instead, he headed straight to the kitchen. He felt different but better. Everything seemed different to him. He had to ask his parents. They’d know.
Little Joe entered the kitchen.
His mother saw him first. “Look husband. Our little maggot has turned into a handsome fly. Just like us.”
Prompt Word: Maggot