"He's very quiet"

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"Is he may be autistic, I've heard people on that spectrum have trouble speaking to others well and socializing"

"No, I don't think it's that he hasn't tested positive for it"

"He never says anything, he spaces out most of the time, do you think they're seizures?"

"Oh no, I think he's just shy...the doctors are calling it selective mutism, he's said to grow out of it when he gets older."

"Oh my, just try to have him talk for himself once in a while."

"I've tried, but he just walks or way or doesn't say anything, I'm beginning to get worried, his voice at home is getting quieter."


I watch my Mom and her friend sit and talk about me, I sat on the edge of the ball pit at the fast food restaurant, and stared at them from afar and they never looked over at me.

"He's going to struggle in school, making friends."

"The kids will poke fun...what does his father say."

"nothing, he left because he didn't want to raise a child on the spectrum."

"oh dear, but he's not on it is he?"

"No I've told him that, he doesn't listen though."


I was 9 when my dad first called me stupid.

I remember looking up at my dad, he leaned down, his brown hair growing down to his shoulders, his mighty beard made him look like a bear.

"Kid my friend asked you for your name, now tell him." He told me, I looked at my dad's friend who gazed down at me with a sympathetic smile.

silence

"I'm sorry Josh, the kid is just stupid, his name is Luke."

I looked at my Mom who gave me a thin-lipped smile.

I was nine when he finally left, I remember him yelling at Mom, his voice reminded me of thunder.

"I'm not going to be raising a kid like that, he's stupid."

He shouted at her.

"He's not stupid Jack, he's just quiet-"

I crawled out of my bed and tiptoed down the hall to the top of the stairs, I peeked my head through the railing down at them.

"He just stares at you like a fucking idiot Sarah, he's going to cost money that I'm not paying for, I'm done with it."

I watched him grab his jacket and head towards the door. He looked up at me briefly, I wanted to tell him to stay, I wanted to call out and plead for him to stay. But he just looked away and slammed the door. I looked over at Mom, she didn't notice me, not until I walked down the stairs into the living room.

"I'm sorry"

I say

Her head snapped up at me quickly making me feel like I was in trouble.

But she pulls me close as she sat on her knees and she cried on my shoulder.

"You're not Stupid Lucas Onward, don't let anyone tell you that, you're just a very quiet boy, but you're just like everyone else."


I'm not stupid, I'm just very quiet.


Seven years later

"Luca don't be late for school" I heard her call down from the attic. I stood up from the couch and I close my book gently not making a sound. "Ok" I reply quietly, I wait for a response from her, but she says nothing "yes, Mom I won't be late for school." I reply in a full sentence.
"Ok Luca get to school"

I zipped up my book bag and flung it over my shoulders before grabbing my house key from the kitchen counter and hurrying out the door. "Love you mom" I whisper to my self before closing the door silently.

Walking to school wasn't a hard task, I lived in a city, so I could either take the bus, or walk a block or two there. I often walked but when I really wanted to finish a book I used someone of moms bus money she kept in a jar on the counter.

We live in New York, after moving out of the house I had once lived most of my childhood we came here. Mom took up writing and other small jobs she could find.

She worked at a tattoo parlor part time. The other part of the week she was a waitress, and when need she was a substitute at my high school. She was always doing so many things at once it made my head spin. But she never once let me think that she didn't enjoy it.

After every work day she comes home, and sits down sighing deeply before she turns to me to tell me the stories of her day. My favorites are at the tattoo parlor, the stories she tells about the people who come in the shop. It sounds like something from stories, I think that's why she writes. She makes anything sound magical.

I started to board the bus when I glanced over at something that caught my eye.

A boy with dirty looking hair, it looked disheveled and tangled. He laid out in the two seats and his back was cramped against the window. He had his face leaned against his hand and he snores lightly. I sat down behind him, all though there were a few open seats.

I sat there the entire bus ride trying to make up an excuse as to why I choose to sit by the tall, sleeping boy.

I couldn't find one.

Walking into the school with all the busy people, talking and whispering about their weekend plans. I just hurried to my locker, stuffing my book I was reading into the small slot between the large text books that cluttered my locker. I grabbed my book back hanging on the hook at the top of the locker, after I jumped a few times. I then grabbed my history book and shut my locker. I walked towards my classroom, bobbing and weaving between the mass of people.

"Good morning Onward" I smiled at the grey haired man called Wilson.

Mr. Wilson was a short man, two inches over my 5'5 height, he balding on the top of his head and he had a generously long beard painted in a grey white color.

"Hello" I whispered quietly." He grins and waved my over. "This weeks words is Orphic it means mysterious and entrancing, beyond normal understanding." I nodded at him, Mr. Wilson loved giving me a weekly word. He gave them to me on Monday and told me to find at least one thing that really held the meaning of the world. "Now give me a sentence."
I sight slowly, I ran through my head trying to find the right sentence.

"The mother's Orphic love for her child was lovely."

The bell rang and everyone came to class piling up in the desk and sitting by their best friends. I sat in the middle of the bunch far enough for my glasses to work well enough not to give me a headache. I sat there every day, Wilson passed out notes for the class we simply had to fill in the blanks. It was harder than it seemed because he would talk and we had to guess what went in the blanks. But he always went back for those who needed it really.

He talked about World War Two, and he went on about the lesson for the day. I couldn't pay attention because I was thinking about my bus ride.

That boy was very strange indeed.

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