The Beast

The cool, salty air blew against his face as he stepped out the front door onto the porch. “Here we go, day one,” he thought to himself as he paused for a moment before continuing off the porch, down the steps and into the back seat of  his mom’s four door sedan. “Great, first day of high school and I’m getting dropped off by my mother from the back seat of the car.” His inner monologue was going on and on about how awful this day would be. It was the first day of school, which meant the lazy days of summer were behind him. That meant no more Xbox until midnight and sleeping in until lunch and the start of teachers who would whisper behind his back and older kids that would talk to him like the baby they all saw in him.

“Can’t I sit in the front seat yet?” He whined to his mom as she got into the car and buckled her seat belt.

“No, its not safe for you until you’re 12 years old. Remember you’ve been reading this warning ever since you were one” she said as she flipped the passenger visor up to expose the warning label to her son in the back seat.

“I’m taller and bigger than most 11 year old, surely I measure to be about the size of a 12 year old,” he argued.

“Beau! This is not up for debate! Now buckle your seat belt, we’re going to be late!”

Beau grumbled and clicked the seat belt. He rolled his eyes and let out a deep sigh to let his mom know he was irritated with her decision. His eyes wandered to the tops of the evergreen trees as they drove inland, down the winding road toward Brunswick High School. Turning down the school’s long driveway he could see blueberry fields and a large brick building in the distance. Mom pulled around to the back of the school and parked the car.

“Um, what are we doing?” Beau inquired.

“I’m taking you in, sweetie. I always walk you to your class on the first day of school. It’s been our tradition since you started kindergarten! Remember, you were just 4 years old and it was the first time you spent the whole day away from home!”

“Yeah, but I’m not 4 anymore, Mom! And this is HIGH SCHOOL!” Beau’s voice cracked as he was pleading with his mom.

“Yes, I suppose you are growing up…” she conceded.

Beau jumped out of the car before she could change her mind. As he reached the sidewalk he paused, turned around and waved to his mom. Yes, she was overbearing at times, but he knew she loved him with everything she had. As he made his way into the double glass door entry of the school, he heard a quiet plea.

“Please, they’re brand new. My dad worked a second job this summer just so I could have them. We waited in line for hours.” Down the hall and right inside an empty classroom  Beau saw a couple older kids holding some limited edition retro Jordan sneakers while a smaller kid stood against the wall in his brown tinted “white” socks with his big toe sticking out of one and his heel poking out of the other.

It was the first day in a new town, at a new school, with new people. All Beau wanted was to simply “be one of the kids” but hearing how hard that kid’s dad worked just to get some shoes, when they couldn’t even afford socks, made the hairs on the back of Beau’s neck stand up. He didn’t want to be this person at all in his new home, but he couldn’t ignore what he heard and saw.

“Hey, give him his shoes back,” Beau suggested to the bully. He hoped he could “talk it out” instead of resorting to something else.

“Get lost kid,” one of the bully shouted back at Beau.

“Look, we’re all going to be late to class on the first day if you don’t hurry up and give him his shoes back,” Beau urged him to do the right thing so he preserve his secret.

Having run out of patience the bully swung his fist toward Beau’s chin, but Beau ducked out of the way and grabbed the bully’s fist in one swift motion. He began to twist the bully’s arm while he struggled to get free. The bully was shocked by Beau’s strength and dropped the shoes and ran away.

“Don’t tell anyone,” Beau made the kid promise to keep his secret.

The bell rang and they were officially late for class.

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