After class I head outside and meet up with some people I know. They are standing around in a group talking.
'Hey, what's up?'
'Not much,' says Brian, the tall, dark haired one, 'Just talking about that weird kid over there.' He points his finger to the kid sitting under the tree.
'Who's that?' I ask, 'I don't think I've seen him before.' Brian laughs, 'Yeah, he's new here.'
Alex, the short, blond haired one cuts in, 'Yeah, he's a retard.'
I frown at him. 'What's wrong with him?'
'Dunno, but he never talks to no-one and he's just so weird. See the way he arranges all of his food? It's probably in alphabetic order.' Alex laughs and his friends follow suit.
My stomach is turning. What has he ever done to you guys? 'What's his name?' I ask.
* * *
I open my eyes. I switch off my alarm. It's 8.00. I look out the window. I can only see about three meters, it's snowing. I brush my teeth and then put on my school clothes. Downstairs. I make breakfast, Cocopops. After I wash my plate I open the front door. The snow has covered the driveway. It is about six inches thick on the doorstep. Lounge. I switch on the television. The man in the suit in front of the coloured map says that it will be snowing all day. He says that all of the schools are closed for the day. What will I do for an entire day?
Mum's room. It's 9.00. I walk up to her and shake her. She opens her eyes.
'Hey sweetie, what's going on?'
'Is it? Heavily?'
She opens the curtains and looks outside. 'Wow, it's really coming down. I doubt there will be any school today.'
I nod again.
'What do you want to do?'
I shake my head. 'I don't know.'
'Well,' she says, rubbing her eyes, 'Would you like to play some board games?'
'Yes. I would like that.'
Lounge room. I sit on the ground and we play board games and dice games and card games. Rummy. I get six three of a kinds and two four of a kinds and a straight. My score is 134 and mum's is 82. Yahtzee. Mum gets two Yahtzee's and I don't get any sixes so I lose points on my top half. Cluedo. Mr White committed the murder in the library with the candlestick.
At 12.00 mum says, 'I really need to go shopping. Would you like to come?'
Supermarket. I follow my mum around the supermarket. We get eggs and milk and bread and pasta and two cans of beans and one of sliced pears. Checkout. The bill comes to $50.66. Mum pays with her blue credit card.
Car. Home. Dinner. Bed.
* * *
I leave the group of boys and walk over to where Dot is sitting. He is cute: he has short blond hair and a cute face, big green eyes. His eyes look sore though, they look red and dry. I sit down next to him and he shifts over.
'Hel-lo', I say slowly, then feel instantly embarrassed. He just stares at me so I smile at him, hoping to get some sort of response from him. 'How are you today Dot?' His face doesn't change. He looks over at the boys in the distance; they are laughing. He looks down at his food and starts to eat his sandwich. 'You don't want to talk hey? Well we can just sit here then. My name is Zip by the way.' After that he goes completely catatonic. His breathing slows and he just sits there and eats his food like a robot. He doesn't even look at me anymore. I get up and leave for my next class, English.
We are reading The Hobbit. It's pretty cool I guess, but I just can't focus on anything. That boy Dot just keeps running through my head. What's wrong with him I wonder? After the class I stay behind to talk to the teacher, Mr Woodward.