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Bullseye

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Samuel stared at the bullseye. It seemed to taunt him with his meritless efforts at archery. Samuel’s arrows seemed to lurk at the periphery of the target, his aim hardly ever true. His eyebrows were furrowed into a concerned expression. Samuel was disappointed at his unsuccessful efforts despite his enrolment in the advanced archery class. He appeared to be staring through the target, his mind wandering. He often came to his community center seeking a distraction from his troubles.

          “Something wrong Sam?” asked Dave, a volunteer. Dave stood tall with a thin beard and his face was dotted with more freckles than Samuel could count. He scratched his beard as he talked, playing with the strands of his fiery facial hair.

           “Oh, nothing, it’s fine,” assured Samuel, ripped out of his reverie. Dave walked away and began to patrol the other kids. Samuel returned to practicing, determined to improve. He retrieved a feathered arrow from his quiver, lining the arrowhead up with the sights on his aluminum compound bow. He methodically drew the string back, straightening his lean form and recognizing the familiar rotation of the various wheels and pulleys, both his arms and the bow straining from the pressure. Again, he stared at the bull’s-eye, this time determined to succeed. Samuel channelled all of his focus that he could muster into this one task. Finally, he released the arrow and watched it soar through the air towards its target, amazed that he could even perceive its flight path. Somehow he was able to sense the arrow’s trajectory, although the skeptical side of him came up with a plausible explanation. After month after month of determined practice, it wasn’t remarkable that he could predict his arrow’s path.

The arrow hit its mark with a loud thud echoing in the large chamber. Samuel approached it with apprehension, unsure of where it had landed exactly on the target. But somehow he already knew the answer to his unasked question, just buried beneath a cloak of uncertainty. As he approached he began to see the arrow sticking solidly out of the bull’s eye. He stepped back in awe, giddy with a sense of accomplishment.

            “Ok you crazy teenagers, that’s a rap! Go home and have a fantastic weekend! Nice work everyone!” announced Dave cheerfully.

“Well that was some interesting timing,” Sam muttered to himself. Everything seemed to wind down as everyone packed their things and began to file out of the community center. Dave and a few other volunteers and community center workers stood at the door, congratulating kids, or saying their goodbyes.

“I saw that, Sam. Really impressive! I always knew you had it in you,” congratulated Michael, another volunteer. Sam uttered a grateful reply, but he honestly wasn’t concerned with Michael’s opinions. Most of the other kids had their parents waiting outside, ready to take them home, but Samuel had no such luck. His family had just moved to Mississauga a couple of weeks previously. He had always resented his parents, his father hardly ever around. It seemed that, according to his father, work was more important than his own family. Even now his father was absent, but this time, both of his parents were on vacation, although it wasn’t for the usual excuse. Really? Vacation right after settling in a new town? He still didn’t understand their reasoning behind the impromptu vacation, not to mention their refusal of bringing him along.

Sam attempted to steer clear of the volunteers, wary of conversation at the moment. He didn’t want to be disturbed, and he had a lot on his mind. Dave and the other volunteers uttered a brief goodbye, and then he was on his way. Samuel exited the room and entered the main lobby of the center. The transparent glass door shut behind him as he stepped into the summer air, the heat and humidity hitting him like a massive tsunami. It was extremely unpleasant. Needless to say, Sam was eager to get out of the stifling air.

He began his brief trip home when suddenly he heard a welcoming voice, “What’s up Sam!” He quickly turned around to find his only friend in the new city, Toby, jogging towards him.

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