the valid dictorian

30/09/2010 § Leave a comment

On top of a hill, on a long veranda, on a chair. he sat and dipped ginger snaps into his black coffee and wondered how he got there.

He was older, but not old. He could not remember his first steps or his high chair or the first time he climbed the stairs. He remembered the sound of his mother’s voice, “Oh, you were something, you were such a hoot. The sound of a great thud and running to the bedroom and seeing you climb the ladder to the bunk bed. You wouldn’t walk, but, man, you would climb everything!” She told him that story a lot. As it turned out, he decided to skip walking and chose to run or leap or fly.

He was harder, but not hard. He knew he liked salty crackers and sweetened tea and the bitter taste of dark chocolate, but he could not put his finger on it. He did remember the early mornings with his cousin and grandmother, rising before the crack of dawn to watch the weather station and dunk ginger snaps into a mug filled with black coffee. “Morning, Fred. It’s going to be sunny today. What do you say we go to the beach and do nothing,” his grandma would say. As he grew older, he noticed that the jar of ginger snaps would always be full. She only bought ginger snaps for him and his cousin.

He was wiser, but not wise. He knew he got decent grades and was mediocre at sports and wondered what everyone else was doing. He learned a little bit of everything from the things that he tried and discovered that he liked language and freedom. Everyday in French class, he was sent into the hall. “No, Monsieur, I will not go into the hall again! It takes two people to talk and disrupt the class and I will not be the martyr of consequences!” At recess, he apologized to his friend for sending her out into the hall and she told him it was nothing. It gave her the opportunity to do something other than work, like colour and listen to her tape deck. Later in high school, he, too, enjoyed the moments in the hall during math class.

Sitting alone with a glass half full of coffee and cookie crumbs, he said out loud, “To most I am nothing, but to few I was something.” He laughed.

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