Thursday, 11 September 2008
Waiting for life to begin.
I watch him walk in the school gates. His backpack looks heavy, but I don't think that is what makes his shoulders so slumped. He is somewhat hesitant, his eyes darting around. Looking for a friendly face, perhaps. He doesn't seem to find one. He walks slowly, and seems to shrink into himself as he watches the other children, all in happy, loud groups of three or four or five. None of them seem to notice him. He's bigger than many of them, but he knows he's invisible.
I want so badly to reach out to him. I want to tell him he'll be ok. That he's 10, and this, and the next few years may seem endless to him. But they're not. This will change. He won't always be invisible. He won't always be alone.
I want to put my arm around him and tell him that one day, he'll look back on school, and while it might not be a happy memory, that's all it will be. A memory. It won't be the most important thing in his world. He won't have to be that sad, lonely boy he is now.
Our eyes meet, and I smile at him, a gentle, understanding smile. My eyes tell him I know, but that's it's all ok. He looks at me a moment, then smiles back. It's a small smile, but I can tell he means it. It's a tiny thank you. I want so badly to reach out to him, but it's the best I can do. There's so much I'd like to tell him.
He'll have friends. A job. A girlfriend or wife, probably children. He'll be happy one day. I want him to believe he'll be happy one day. That this state he's in now, this limbo, this waiting, it's temporary. Bide your time, sweetheart. They aren't always going to hold the same power over you they seem to have now.
Work hard. Be kind. Make friends where you can. One day. One day, this will be nothing but a memory. You'll show them all.
Most of all, I want to believe it for him.