A LITTLE BOY’S WISH, A LITTLE GIRL AND A BULLY NAMED JOEY.
On October 18th 2011, there was been news all over the television and in the newspapers about a suicide Al Qaeda bomber that broke into a classroom in a small Missouri town elementary school in the middle of the night and set off a bomb just after a certain John Hargreaves shared his seventh birthday with his classmates. The room erupted in flames and it was reported that twenty three six graders, their class teacher Miss Gloria Simpson and Johnny’s aunt Maude Hargreaves were declared dead. Little Johnny and another six year old from his class, Sally Thompson survived the incident because they both fortunately went out to pee just before the incident.
It was believed that the bombing was a reaction to a prior shooting that had occurred in Afghanistan where military troops had raided and bombed a seemingly desolate home, killing an infant that had been left alone in the house.
There is a little girl and a little boy I know whose story amazes me and I sincerely hope that after you read this, you will surely understand why. Their story is not a typical once upon a time kind of story about a lost princess, a castle, prince charming, a dragon and a villain, but then again, it just might eventually in its own unique way present itself as one.
So this little girl in particular is six years old and her favorite color is yellow. Now you might think; why surely yellow is an unusual color for a little six year old girl to like but you see, that is probably because when you were her age, you or perhaps the little girls you knew then liked bubble gum, berries, Barbies and pink frilly things. See, this little girl is special. She loves to play in the sun and actually looks down entirely on little children that like to play in the rain. For one, it is wet, messy and when the kids at her school run in the rain, they tend to get the class floor all wet, sloppy and muddy. See, this little girl cannot for the life of her understand the liberating feeling that other children her own age typically have when they storm out in the rain getting all wet and dirty; doing the exact opposite of everything the grownups have taught them to. Why? She wonders, would one want to risk catching a cold? It makes your throat feel really bad and itchy and more often than not, it gets you all hot and sweaty at night making the sheets feel icky and sticky when you get up in the morning. It smells a little funny too.
This little girl also likes to sew and sing with her mother because it makes her really happy. When she sings, her mother tells her she has the voice of an angel favored highly by the good Lord and when she sews, her nana tells her she will make a fine gentleman a good wife someday.
This little girl also does not particularly like the little boys in her class because they have no manners and tend to fart and barf in public. Why they find it funny, she does not understand but her mother says it was the worst thing a girl could ever do in public so she takes very special care to be sure not to ever let it out when there are people around. Her aunt May from Sicily actually informed her just last week that it was proper for a lady to walk to the ladies and let it out there. Her teacher Miss. Simpson is worried that she goes to the bathroom too often and is always asking questions like, “Sally honey, are you OK? You keep running off to the bathroom.”
This little girl pays her no attention because for one, Miss. Simpson’s breath smells a little funny and her voice is too raspy. Miss. Simpson clearly does not take a spoonful of honey in the mornings like every lady should. Her nana told her the reason she sings like an angel is because she remembers to take her spoonful of honey every morning just before her milk which by the way she likes to drink in the lemon yellow tea set that her nana bought her from Italy last Christmas. She particularly likes that tea set because if you clean it just right, it gleamed and sparkled perfectly in the midday sun if you lifted it and turned it to a certain angle by the kitchen window in the corner. The little girl only uses this tea set when the weather man on the seven o’clock news says it will be a sunny day, because on a cold day, she couldn’t be too sure that she had cleaned her tea set just right.
And then there is the little boy, who is turning seven tomorrow and hopes to have a really swell party. He wonders what his mama is planning to surprise him with. This little boy also hopes his father will not be there for his birthday because every time he is, mother is not happy and you see, it would really make him happy if his mama is happy too on his birthday. This little boy doesn’t understand why some people like to hurt other people and make them sad. It feels nice to be happy so he wonders why anyone would take that feeling away from another person just like the way Father likes to do when he hurts his mama. His mama tells him that it’s just the way the world is and that he needs to pray for all the lost souls and wish all the pain away. She told him it could go away if he did.
This little boy particularly does not like Big Joey the eight year old class bully that makes fun of the little boys in class. He wonders why Big Joey likes to hurt people and he thinks maybe it is because Big Joey does not know what it is like to be happy. This little boy thinks of how happy he will be tomorrow during his birthday party and wishes that Big Joey will come so he can see what it is like to be happy.
In the early morning of his birthday, restless with anticipation, this little boy gets up to pee, walks in to the bathroom and finds his mama lying on the bathroom floor. He thinks it strange that she prefers to sleep on the bathroom floor instead of her bed but then again, grownups are strange. He thinks that maybe she had been working so hard to make him a big birthday surprise and had decided to nap in the bathroom while she brushed her teeth before bedtime. Carefully on his tippy toes, he makes his way around her to the toilet and attempts to pee as quietly and silently as possible because he really does not like to upset his mama. He even decides to pee like a girl and silently hopes that Father will never find out because he would greatly disapprove. He wonders if father knows that mama is taking a nap in the bathroom floor but then again, maybe father is the reason mother is sleeping on the bathroom floor. Maybe mama wants to keep away from Father so she can be happy for his birthday. The little boy decides not to wash his hands after peeing and silently makes his way out of the bathroom and back to his bed anticipating the arrival of the morning.
In the morning, this little boy wakes up not to the sound of his mother singing happy birthday but to the noise of police car sirens outside the house. He quickly dashes out of his bed and walks out of his room to go find his mama and ask about it but when he does though, he is graced by the unsettling presence of his Aunt Maude sitting staring creepily at the wall in the dark hallway. The hallway lights are turned off because the crystal chandelier that had been in the family for generation had been broken last Christmas as mama and father were having their usual fights. She notices him, looks at him funny and whispers, “Oh John, I am so sorry” and then starts to cry.
See, you might think, why this little boy should be freaking out a little by now but you see, all that is on his mind is his birthday party. He has been looking forward to this day all year just so he could be happy with his whole family. So, this little boy starts to think that the grownups had probably started to take the whole birthday thing too far and he smiles, runs to his aunt and hugging her, he asks, “So what did you get me Aunt Maude? And why are you here so early? You know I have to go to school before we can party! Oh wait, now I know, you guys are throwing me a surprise party at school aren’t you? Oh don’t cry, I promise I won’t let anyone know I ruined the birthday surprise you have set up for me. Do you have a birthday surprise for me?”
His aunt looks sadly back at him and says, “I’ll take you to school today honey and make sure you have the best birthday party after school today, OK?”
Now this little boy starts to feel funny because something suddenly doesn’t feel right. He looks into the bathroom from where he is standing and sees that his mother is not sleeping there anymore, but rather, a pool of blood is. He tenses up and tells himself he is still stuck somewhere in his dream. He shuts his eyes and opens them again and everything appears to still be the same. He hopes mama can explain to him what happened. Maybe his birthday is going to have a spooky theme this year and the bl;ood in the bathroom is actually fake.
“Where is mama?” he had asks his aunt.
His aunt starts to cry again and this little boy runs out shouting for his mama. He stops and looks out the window and sees that his father is being escorted to a police car. He is suddenly really scared and starts to freak out because he might know what has happened. Actually, he does know what happened because it happens a lot only this time, it might be the very last time it is happening. Mama had said this day would eventually come. She had said it would all come to an end. Suddenly the world starts to spin around him and then everything turns black.
See, this little boy’s Father likes to hurt mama a lot, and this time hurt her a little too much.
This realization as you might expect is an unusual shock for this little boy and it renders him unconscious for a while. This little boy faints from the shock.
This little boy wakes up because he starts to feel a hand shaking him on his shoulder and looks up to see a cop that looked just like the one from the showInspector Derrick that airs on cable every Friday.
“Now what would you like to do today young man? Anything, you name it and I’ll make it happen,” the cop says hoping to somehow distract the little boy from the chaotic reality is surrounding him.
This little boy looks up at him and calmly asks if he could have a birthday party at school with a big cake and candles that he could blow out in front of his whole class.
As expected, the cop finds it strange that a kid with a father that has just killed his mother would ask for something like that but, heck, anything to get the boy distracted from the cruel reality that is at the moment is more than welcome. He arranges for the aunt to take this little boy to school and make proper arrangements for his birthday party.
This little boy surely gets to have his party at school and everyone including big Joey is present. You see, all that this little boy wants is to make his wish, because he remembers what his mother had told him; you could wish it all away. When he is just about to make his wish though, he looks at all the faces on the class room and makes up his mind that his wish is the best wish he could possibly ever make and knows it will be perfect because mother told him so. He also makes sure to ask Sally to leave the before he makes his wish because he wants to keep her. She hesitates and asks why and Johnny lets her know it’s because he wants to keep her. After he is sure she has left the room, he looks at the people in the room, looks at the seven candles on his cake, smiles and blows them all out with one blow. He closes his eyes and silently wishes that everyone in the entire class would just go away. After he opens his eyes, he remembers Sally and decides to run out of the classroom to explain to her why he had asked her to leave. See this little boy really likes Sally and would hate to have her worked up with worry.
The eight o’clock news the next evening is of particular interest to this little girl this time not just because she needs to know if the weather will be right but because this time she is on TV. She watches with pride as the camera puts her in focus and thinks that mama and nana would be proud to see how lovely her hair and yellow frilly socks look on TV. On the TV she sees what happens to be a video recording of her as she smiles and speaks in the proper way a girl should when the man with a microphone asks her about what had gone on. See, she knows something they don’t but she only tells them that she had left the bathroom to go pee, and on her way back from there, she had met up with Johnny and they had decided to go sit on the swings and talk. It was while they were there that they had heard a loud thunderous noise from what appeared to be where their classroom was.
See, when this little boy had asked this little girl to leave the room, she had wondered why because she had actually always thought that Johnny was quite different and had often thought of him fondly. Johnny was clean, and he spoke politely like a gentleman should unlike the other kids so, it had been somewhat of a surprise when he had asked her to leave.
“But why Johnny?” she had asked.
“Because I need to keep you,” The little boy had replied.
She had promptly left the room. Miss Simpson had looked at her strangely and shrugged because she figured Sally needed to pee again and had made a mental note to remember to address her mother about it later in the evening.
So you see, this little girl and boy both knew a little secret. The little Boy had wished the entire classroom away as he blew out his candles. He had wanted all the sadness to go away and everyone in the class that morning besides Sally’s sunny face had made him sad.
Big Joey’s parents are a little shaken by the news but they think their sadness has finally been acknowledged by the Lord. Both being MIT graduates, they had never really understood why they had been cursed with a child of extremely low intellect. At the end of the last school year, he had returned home with grades way too incompetent for a first grader and they had been afraid that if they let him continue along, he might never really be able to catch up with his peers intellectually. They had decided much to their embarrassment to convince the school administration to allow him to retake the grade on the basis that he had a learning disability that they had preferred to leave undisclosed. Their burden of living with a child had slowly become a strain on them because of the uncertainty it presented. Big Joey’s death therefore is a blessing more for him in their opinion than for them. There really isn’t much room for a stupid person in this world and the good Lord had finally decided to save him from the uselessness that would have otherwise awaited him in it. Just as they had both dropped their son off at school that morning, burdened by the stress of having a stupid child, Big Joey’s mother had shut her eyes really tight and silently wished it all away. Little did she know moments later, a little boy would make the same wish that would actually come true because his mother had told him so.