22. Short story: Going to school

I could not move my arms as the man pinned me against the chair. My legs were of little use either kicking against the air. The room was full of adults, some with concern on their faces, others with annoyance. Not again, they were probably thinking. “Calm down” someone said, but I could not respond, I was not there. My body did not belong to me; I am a passenger looking through the window, analysing what was happening, planning my escape route, points of weakness. Was his hold slacking? No, not yet; should I pretend to be normal now or would that be too obvious; six people in the room, 2 men and four women; one door; the man who is holding me is wearing a watch, the only one to do so, he does not look at me, is he tired, no he has done this before, I know he can keep going for a long time. “Should we call his parents”, one of the adults asked, “Maybe its better if they come pick him up”, “Just need to hold him for a while and he’ll calm down, it’s always been like this” the man holding me said. “But we can’t keep going on like this” one of the woman said as the others left for class not wanting to get involved. They have seen it all before, they know how it goes.

“We’ve talked about this before”

“Yes, and I still disagree with how this is handled we are teachers not wrestlers, are you sure you are not hurting him?”

“He’s not struggling anymore, he’ll be fine”

“How do we know he doesn’t walk out the moment you stop holding him”

“That rarely happens”

“But it does”

“His mother should be far away by now he won’t run after her now, please let him go”

His attention faded as he was talking to my teacher who was making the same objections she did every time this happened. Time is on my side, they need to teach soon, go to the classroom which means I will be put on my chair next to the window and can follow along until breaktime after which I can walk out of the school, take the bike and be back home in five minutes. My wrists hurt, his grip is strong. I have given up struggling for now, better save my strength for later. I wish I was taller and stronger, like my brother or the characters I see on television. This would not happen to them, they would not be pinned down by some middle aged teacher, the only one who has done so. They did not do this at the other school, does he enjoy doing it? You are not special he told me once as I was leaving the classroom refusing to take my feet of the chair. But if I am not special then why can’t I go to school and do the things I want to do. Why can’t I go out and play with the others or go to the supermarket. Or say what I want to say. Perhaps I am not special but I am certainly not normal. So where does that leave me?

“Let’s go to class” my teacher says reaching out her hand. The man steps aside and I take her hand, it is warm like my mother’s hands. Women always seem to take pity on me, perhaps they know what it is to not belong somewhere. She guides me from the teachers room to the classroom as my classmates greet me on the way but I do not answer, I cannot speak yet, I am still inside my castle. I sit down and focus on my desk. Each object is unique and I have mapped out every scratch and marking on this table; I would be able to recognize it amongst millions.  My friends say Hello and with all my effort I manage to greet them back. The teacher claps her hands and we start the day.

Three hours more of this before the break. Should I go back home or shall I stay? The same dilemma I have everyday.  As I return to myself the pain in my wrists greets me. I am exhausted. My classmates are so full of energy I wish I could be like them. If I am not special then what am I? The same question I ask everyday.

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