Endingt he But t erfl yKsses I (W

Wit t en byCharl es Sebian-Lander Sa t u r day, 03 Apr i I 2010 16: 33 -

The fi r st t i rre that To rrrry fl i es, he is unpr epar ed. He wakes up float i

nigh t be n eat h a h a I f rID 0 n, I 00 kin gin t 0 his be d roo m wi n dow and pad d I subrrer ged in wat er. He is Vl.€ar i ng onl y hi s baggy paj arms, hi s favor i t e rabbi t s hoppi ng down t he leg searrs. To rrrry has never fel t col d like t t hi c k gl 0 v e s 0 ron e 0 f his rID the r ' s s car ve s . Th e wi n d s c r e e c he sin t 0 numb.

To rrrrv can not con t r 0 I h i rrs elf. He t h rows his a r rrs a ga ins t the sky but

a pap e r p I an e i nth e I a 2'f wi n d . Su bu r ba n ba c k }8. r d sci 0 a ked by t a I I 1M

be fo r e him and be hi n d . He be gi n s t 0 fl 0 at toM s s Sal I Y s ba c k }8. r dan

rID the r let him swim info r the fi r s t t i rre jus t fi v e rID nth s a go . A P I

now; To rrrrv doe s not wa n t t 0 be ba n ish e d fo rever fr 0 m M s s Sal I Y s h 0 us b rea kin 9 t his s hie I d. He t r i est 0 swim a ga ins t the air cur r e nt, pus his e ')€ san d fo c u sin 9 his vis ion t 0 wa r d his roo min s tea d the wi n d u p

body like a wi ndrri I I bl ade. H s paj arm shi r t sl ips over hi s e'}€s and

coar se and he begi ns to cr y. To rrrry s t hr ee-,}€ar -01 d cocker spani el, F

rra n gy d 0 gh 0 use t 0 ba r kat the sky.

To rrrrv iss til I c r 'i n 9 and s til I can not see wh e n h e s lid e saga ins t t h I on hi s shi r t unt i I he can see wher e he is and wi pes hi s e'}€s and nose

ba r k saga ina n d To rTl'Tli s bo d Y fl us he s red and hot. He fe e I s ash a rre fu I

not wa nth i s rID the r t 0 wa k e up and see t his. Sh e rri gh t s col d him a I

s c rea man d run away i n fe a r, 0 r hat e him fo rever . To rrrrv wh i rrp e r sat t

po s s i bl e h 0 r r 0 r s. He gr a bs his wi n d 0 ws i I I and p u I Ish i rrs elf ins ide.

dew- s t a i ned fl 0 VI.€ r s gr e e t s him ash e en t e r s; the wa I I pa pe r i s wa she ( t he dar kness of t he r o o rn but its farri liar i t Y cool s To rrrry s ner ves. j be d roo rn he pre sse s his p a I rrs a ga ins t the pap e r d a ffo d i I san d use s t cont r 01 hi s rro v e rre n t s as long as he has r esi st ance, sorret hi ng to pu revel at ion e xi t es hi rn but at t hi s rro rre n t he is t 00 e xiaust ed and

So, fo r now, To rrrrv k e e pst hi n gs s i rrp Ie: he c los e s his e')€ san d pre ten d as t ron aut , ret urn i n 9 t 0 his spa c e s hip and the co mfo r t 0 f fr i end s wi t his c e iii n 9 and fa I 1st 0 his b I a n k e t I ike a fe a the raga ins t d e a d air

To rrrry fl i es agai n on t he n e x day, just out si de t he cr acked br i ck wal He i s run n i n 9 tot he p I a ~r 0 u n d fo r r e c e s s ,on est e p be h i n d his c I ass inc h too fa r fr 0 m the gr 0 u n dan d los e s his ba I a n c e . Ps s 0 0 n ash ere he st i fl es a pani cked sob and i nhal es t he blood pool i ng in hi s nose. fe eta n d t r i est 0 i gn 0 ret her a w p a i n 0 f his s c rap e d k nee s . Th ere a r gr 0 u n d be n eat h him; he doe s not k now how he co u Ide )f) I a i nth e fa I I t woul d see any e xrl anat i on as anot her reason t 0 rmke t hei r jokes. 1 j 0 k e sat his e )f) ens e; tho ugh h e has n eve r t 0 I d his rID the r a bo u t t h i him c hoc 0 I ate chi pic e c rea man d a I lows him t 0 wa I k Pa t c h est h r 0 ugh

d a 'f3 wh e n his fe eli n gs are h u r t the rID st. He doe s not wa n t t his s c e

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Endingt he But t erfl yKsses I (W

Wit t en byCharl es Sebian-Lander Sa t u r day, 03 Apr i I 2010 16: 33 -

he co v e r s his bl 00 d Y lip wi t h a co at s lee v e and t r i est 0 pre ten d t ~

Andy, one of t he second-gr ader s, sees TorTTTV s di r tied face fr om t he swi and laughs. To rrrry t ur ns away t 0 face t he br i ck wal I of t he school. A h air I ike b r us h fi r e . re s tan d s t wo inc h est a I I e r t han To rTTT¥, car r i e ~ k n 0 ws t hat To rrrrv i s t err i fi e d by him Fa r a rm rre nt, t hat t err 0 r 0 u t , fe a r s : To rrrrv s tan d son his toe san d c len c h e s his fi s t s, try n 9 tor e c c fo r a fe w sec 0 n d s Ion ge r soh e can hid eon the s c h 0 0 I roo ft 0 P . 01 c e t pan i c, the WJ rid wi I I s low e n 0 u gh t 0 a I low him tot h ink 0 fan e )f) I a n

B e fo r e h e can s u c c e ed, To rrrrv fe e I s a I a r ge han d res t u p 0 n his s h 0 u Ide pre sen c ere rn n d s him 0 f his rm the r; s \I\€ a t be ads a c r 0 s s his fo r e he a d a To rrrry t ur ns to face a tal I, gr ay rmn ina fl annel jacket wi t h a face I has see n him be fo r e; the rra n i s a sec 0 n d - gr ad e tea c her wh 0 , a Ion 9 wi t teacher s, has seen Andy push and bul I y To rrrry befor e. The teacher br i n ins ide t 0 see M ssG ads ton e, the i r fi r s t - gr ad e tea c her . M ssG ads t whose hai r rem nds To rrrry of hi s rmt her, has known To rrrry wei I si nce hi s Sh e has don e eve r 'J.. h i n gin her po \I\€ r t 0 be a fr i end t 0 him r\b w, she k nee, a s the fo u r per c h u po nun d e r s i 2e d P I a s tic c h air s, and ask s him An d yin s tea d '}e I 1st hat h e has los t t 0 day s r e c e s s fo r nor e a son . H have t ripped hi rrsel f because To rrrry i s a fr eak. He st ands and cont i n u. fo r e h e add ark ens tot he color 0 f his h air. To rrrrv k e e p s his fa c e bur i e ( i rmgi nes t hat he can hear Pat ches bar ki ng wi t h t r i urrph as she chases gr ass hop per as tho ugh i t we ret he 0 n I y i rrp 0 r tan t t hi n gin the wh 0 I e

01 ce the t wo tea c her s rea I i 2e t hat An d Y wi I I not s top '}e I lin g, the y chi I d r e n ins epa rat e roo rrs . M ssG ads ton e b r i n gs To rrrrv tot hen u r s To rrrry t hat he' I I be fi)€d right up, but t he nur se cannot r ermve TOrTlTl) t rea t him He WJ n ' tie the r, not eve n wi t h the d i r t s tin gi n 9 his r to Mss Gadst one as she wal ks him back to horreroomwhil e pat t ing hi hi m t hat she under st ands how har d t hi ngs can be sorret i rres. To rrrry ha G adst one because she is nice and gives hi m his own boxof cr ajo n s at ~

horrer oom, but he does not want to list en to her right now. In hi s

Pa t c h e s ba r kin g, and he jus t wa n t s togo h 0 rre .

We n To rTTTV s rm the r fi n a I I Y a r r i ve sat the s c h 00 I, she s pe a k s a Ion e wi To rrrrv wa t c h e s his rm the r lis ten and nod her he ad. Aft era rn nut e, s backpack fr om t he closet, pul I s To rrrrv i nt 0 her ar rrs, and rest s hi m a. p I u c k sci u rrp s 0 f d i r t fr 0 m his b Ion d e h air and wh i s per s t 0 him t hat ~ ga 2e sat fr a'}e d s t ran d s 0 f his rm the r ' s po n 'J.. a i I ass he t a I k s toM s s

t i rres t hi s has happened al ready t hi s school '}ear. TorTTTV s rmt her is I

fe e Ish e r gr i pup 0 n him t i gh ten eve r y t i rre she s a'f3 his n a rre . Sh e s a 'f3 t hat An d Y chi I d t 0 be a I I 0 \I\€ d n ear To rTTT¥, she k n 0 ws t hat her ba by bo a Iso k n 0 ws t hat h e WJ u I d be 0 kay i f the yon I y k e p t him away fr 0 m the t what she s ajs confuses TorTTT¥, but her embr ace is war m and he knows t he his d e fe n s e .

TOrTTny'1 i kes it when hi s rmt her car r i es hi m rer e he is suspended but

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ash ere rra ins s I un 9 0 v e r her s h 0 u Ide r, he doe s n ' t \MH r y abo u t wh ere she set s hi m i nsi de t he car, TOrTTT¥ s rro t her kneel s down and buckl es Th i sis an 0 I d r 0 uti n e , so ITB t hi n 9 she doe s eve r y day aft e r s c h 00 I ; To r the r are d a'f3 wh en i t has s lip P e d her m n d . Sh e p u I I sat iss u e fr 0 m wat ches her wi pe di r t fr om hi s face. rer e~s ar e hi dden behi nd I ar ge wear i ng br i ght I i pst i ck. To rrrry k n o ws t hat she is unhappy about I eavi I the day t 0 s a v e hi rn eve nth 0 ugh she n eve r ITB n t ion sit wh i led a bbi n ~ wh i s per i n 9 t 0 him t hat he' s a I I be t t ern 0 w.

Wen t he t wo ar rive at hOITB, TOrTTT¥ s rro rn gi ves hi m hi s backpack and t E hi s ho rre vo r k, and she goes back tot he car. To rrrry st ands in fr ont of townhouse and col I ect s hi rrsel f. Wen he wal ks i nsi de, cl osi ng and I ( behi nd hi m just as he was taught, he put s t he backpack on t he couch ba ck ja rd. Pa t c h e s pre sse she r nos e a ga ins t the s lid i n 9 gl ass door a: tor sot r e mb I e sun d e r the fo r ceo f her t a i I . Pc he 0 pen s the d 0 0 r, s I gr ound, try ng tor each hi s face so she can lick it. To rrrry kneel s dow re r we t ton gu e e a s est h e s 0 r e n e s sat the edge s 0 f his e ~ s . Pa t c h e s t hough she s rre l I s like rrud and hot br eat h, To rrrry want s t 0 hug her fo

To rrrry fl i es for t he t hi r d t i ITB on t he n e x day wi t hi n t he local gr o ce his rro man d her new fr i end, a s I u rrp i n 9 rra n wi t h a go ate e and a c h est I a I wa 'f3 fo u n d the gr 0 c e r y s tor e be wi Ide r i n g, wi t hit s poor I i gh tin 9 a n ~ s k 'f3 c rap e r san d ace iii n 9 too high t 0 fa tho rn bu t t 0 day his a n x e t y s t not wa n t t 0 be see n fl y n 9 r i gh t now. re iss til I not sur e how his r and that uncer t ai nt y r ermi ns rro r e t er r i fy ng t han any s ha rre he can a c I u t c h est he gr 0 c e r y car tan d t r i est 0 p I ant his s hoe sin tot he t i hi s rro t her looks t owar ds hi m because he k n o ws that if she sees hi s wi t hat s 0 ITB t h i n 9 i s wr 0 n g.

TOrTTT¥ s rro t her is wear i ng her hai r down in st r earrs and has pul I ed a I ear s. To rrrrv and she ar e, as al wa'f3, wear i ng rra t chi ng bl ue wi nt er coat h a v e be e n t a I kin 9 wi tho u t p au s e sin c e the y ITB tat the s tor e en t r a r t 0 To rrrrv a s G 0 r ge . To rrrrv i s not wo r r i edt hat the rra n wi I I not ice a r fr 0 m a br 0 ads rn I e and a han d s h a k e wh en the y fi r s t saw e a c hot her, t I hi s way to avoi d I ooki ng at To rrrry Inst ead, t he fr i end has focused on I a u gh san d nod s eve r y t i ITB she s pea k san die a n s his s h 0 u Ide r sin t 0 urge n cy.

To rrrry has not been list eni ng tot hei r conver sat i on, however, be c a us. fo c use don try n 9 t 0 rra k e h i rrs elf i n vis i b Ie. re not ice s eve r y t i ITB S 0 his direct ion; he cat ches t heir e~s st r a y n q downward, perhaps at hi not. To rrrry takes qui ck gl ances at t he e~s of passer s- by in an at t err t hat the y not i ce not hi n g: ~ u n g, ga n gl y ITB n wa I kin gin co n fi den t s t r i him as i f t 0 s h are a sec ret ; tee n age co up I e s gi ggl i n 9 and k iss i n 9 and

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di r ect ion fr om behi nd loose clot hi ng; 01 d Vl.GlTBn st r ai ni ng agai nst t I t hr ough t hi ck gl asses. TOrTTTV i spar t i cui ar I y Vl.Gr r i ed about t he 01 d \I tel I wh ere the y are I 0 0 kin g.

In t he check-out line, the bubbl ycashier tries tot ell To rrrrv h o w cut pre 0 c cup i edt 0 a c k n 0 wi edge her. H s rID the r has t 0 a pol 0 gi 2B fo r his I rra k est h i n gs VI.G r s e ; To rTl'Tlf s rID m s tar e s down a t him and ask s him i f s 0 r To rTTTlf, wh 0 can h ear the i mp a tie n c e i n her v 0 ice, s h a k e s his he ad fu rio legs top ret end t hat h e i s wa I kin 9 nor rra I I Y. He wa t c h e s his rID the r fr i end, wh 0 0 n I y nod sin res po n s e.

Wen t he t hr ee of them r each hi s rro t her's car, she opens t he back do wa n t s t 0 he I p To rTTTV i n t 0 his sea t , a s a I wa 'f3. M.. the rID ITB nt, howe v e i f she gr a bs h i rn she wi I I not ice his h 0 ve r i n 9 fe e t. B e fo r e her a r rrs c h i rrs elf i n tot h e car, u sin 9 the d 0 0 r a s I eve rage, and b u c k I e s his see rID ITB n t t 0 s a v 0 r vic tor y, To rTTTV rea I i 2B S t hat t his i s the fi r s t sea t I rID the r has a I wa 'f3 bu c k led his sea t be It, 0 f co u r s e, bu the r e he has ~ ins tin c t i vel y, and To rTTTV t h ink s t hat i tis not sod i ffi cui taft era I

To rrrry s rro t her st ar es at hi rn her ar rrs st i I ex ended as if t 0 pi ck ~ iss til I, her lip s han gi n gop ens I i gh t I Y as i f fr 02B nat the end 0 f a k pre s sin gaga ins t the sea t be It; he k n 0 W3 his bo d Y i s try n 9 t 0 fl 0 at pan i c dis t r act s hi rn sot hat he doe s not not ice 0 r VI.G n d era bo u t t ~ rID the r c los e she r rID u t han d lowe r she r a r rrs, 0 r the s I u ggi s h con gr at him fo r be i n 9 so ca pa bl e. AI I t hat he ca nth ink t 0 do iss m I e and I rea s sur e her t hat the rei s not hi n 9 ton 0 t i ce.

It i san 0 the r we e k be fo r e To rTTTV fl i e s fo r the I as t t i ITB, bu the has be an ex r ash i r t t 0 be d eve r sin c e t hat fi r s t nigh t , and he i s pre par E i s jus t a fo 0 tor s 0 away fr 0 m his wi n dow, and i tis not qui tea s col (

wi n d 0 W3 i I I and p u I Ish i rrs elf c los e tot he a I u rn n u m sid i n g. He can't

t hat she's asl eep.

We n To rTTTV wa s a I I 0 VI.€ d t 0 swim at M s s Sal I Y s fo r the fi r s t t i ITB, she

I a p s by pus h i n 9 his legs a ga ins t the sid e 0 f the pool top r 0 pel him be tor e ITB rrbe r her ins t r u c t ion s ash e p I ace s his fe eta ga ins t the wa I I k nee s , cur lsi n t 0 a fe t a I p 0 sit ion, hoi d sit fo r a rID ITB nt, and pus h E 6t e n wi t h a I I the fo r c e h e can mu s t e r , To rTTTV 0 n I y rID V e sat the pac e 0 del i gh ted t hat the rra n e u v e r VI.G r k sat a I I. He a I I 0 W3 h i rrs elf tor e I upon t he air.

Below TOrTTTVis his quart er-acre ba ck ja r d : his muddysandboxfull of forg d 0 gh 0 use wi t hit s red fa u * ba r n}8. r d roo f; and his rID the r ' s fl 0 we r ga r d

n e gl e ct. Th e fl 0 we r ga r den has 0 n I y be en i nth e ba ck ja r d fo r the pa s I

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wa n ted 80 ITB t hi n 9 t hat wa 8 her 8 a Ion e, 80 ITB t hi n 9 a 8 ide fr 0 m To rTTTV and e xrl ained tot hi s to TOrTTTVon the d a y s he pi ant ed the fi r s t r o s e , a s b I u e j e a n 8 and a n 0 I d col lege t - 8 h i r t. Sh e had tap p e d To rTTTV 0 nth e and I aughed at t he di r t I eft behi nd, but TOrTTTV pout ed, hi 8 feel i n qs I Th e fl 0 we r 8 we rewa t ere dan d I 0 v e d fo ron I y t WJ we e k 8 be fo r e hi 8 rID t h H3 p a s s e s by t hem now and I OOk8 tot he back of t he fence, t r errbl i ng \ d r 0 p 8 fr 0 m h i 8 vie w.

J.J8t be jo n d To rrrry 8 ba ck ja r d i 8 a s rra l I pat ch of for e s t t hat he has ne e n t e r. H3 c I 0 8 e 8 h i 8 e ~ 8 fo r a rID ITB n t a 8 h e a p pro a c h e 8 the t r e e 8 a

pap e r - 8 h u ffI e r u 8 t lin 9 0 f the bra n c he 8 . It i 8 0 n I y wh e n he 8 we e p 8 hi 8

br anch t hat he real i 2B8 t hat he has been fl y ng upwar d a s wei I a s for c h e 8 t , and To rTTTV I 00 k 8 a r 0 u n d fo r 80 ITB t hi n 9 t 0 8 e cur e hi rrs elf wi t h, a i n tot he end I e 8 8 8 k Y. Aft era fe w rID ITB n t 8 0 f bl i n d 8 C r a rrbl i n g, he br l rra 8 8 i ve pin e t r e e . H3 gr a bs hoi dan d r e fu 8 e 8 t 0 I 0 0 8 e n h i 8 gr i p, eve hi 8 pal m

To rTTTV t a k e 8 a rID ITB n t t 0 I 00 k 0 uta t the fo r e 8 t , wh i c h he fi n d 8 t 0 be i rra gi ned fr 0 m h i 8 ba c k }8. rd. Gee n t r e e top 8 fo r m a rID u n t a i n ran ge a 8 f

h e can 8 e e . To rTTTV P u I I 8 h i rrs elf c I 0 8 e tot h e pin e, try n 9 t 0 ge tab E

The cr e s ce n t rro o n pr ovi d e s t 00 lit tie light for TOrTTTV t 0 8ee below f

t r ee8 appear t 0 s i nk endl e881 y be jo n d t he cent er of t he ear t h. TOil roo t 8, bu the doe 8 not k now wh at pre d at 0 r 8 rra y lie i n wa i t fo r him t Th i 8 j 0 urn e y h a 8 be e n a I a r ge e n 0 ugh r i 8 k , he t hi n k 8 , and he h a 8 8 wa I fe a r j u 8 t t 0 rra k e itt hi 8 fa r . H 8 he art rn gh t bu r 8 tat the 8 t r a i n a n x OU8.

Th ere i 8 a 8 i I ve r 0 wi 0 nat r e e a c r 088 fr 0 m To rTTT¥ To rTTTV k n 0 W3 t hat i t can 0 n I y 8 e e the gl i mITE r 0 fit 8 e ~ 8 and be a k a ga i n 8 t the rID 0 n I i gh t .

i t I i ve 8 her e, bu tin 8 tea d he j u 8 t wa v e 8 t 0 it, a I I 0 wi n 9 hi 8 bo d Y t I whi ch gr i ps t he pi ne br anch. The owl d o e s not r e s p o n d : it 8 e~8 twit I eft and right, but it d o e s not s e e m t 0 not ice TOrTTTV at al I. To rrrry owl 8 are 80 ITB 0 f the 8 rra r t e 8 t bi r d 8 i nth e WJ rid, and he wa n t 8 t 0 c TOrTTTV has never hear d an owl ' 8 hoot e x.e pt on tel evi s i on 8hoW3; he we co u I d h 0 0 t fo r h i rn a 8 lou d I Y a 8 p 0 8 8 i b Ie, and 8 how him how t 0 h 0 0 t a t 0 a 8 kif i t I i ve 8 her e, and i fit doe 8 n ' t , To rTTTV wa n t 8 t 0 k now wh y i t and 8 t a y a tho ITB fo rever rat her t han per chi nth e col dan d the dar a 8 k the 8 e que 8 t ion 8 , tho ugh, and the 0 wi ' 8 d i 8 tan t ga 2B rra k e 8 him t any c I 08 e r tot he bi rd.

6tent ual I y TOrTTTV deci d e s that t he pi ne br anch hur t 8 hi 8 hand t 00 rruc go 0 d b~ tot he fo r e 8 tan d tot he 0 wi , wh 0 fa i I 8 t 0 a c k n 0 wi edge the ! fe eta ga i n 8 t the c e n t e r 0 f the t r e e and I a u n c h e 8 h i rrs elf h 0 ITB wa rd.

h i rrs elf down wa r d 8 , c I 0 8 i n 9 h i 8 e ~ 8 and t h ink i n 9 a bo u t P u 8 h i n gaga i n 8 t r u 8 he 8 i n fr 0 m be h i n dan d wh i P 8 h i 8 bo d y a r 0 u n d . H3 k e e p 8 h i 8 e ~ 8 C I c try n 9 not t 0 be co ITB too d i 80 r i en ted. H3 i 8 ve r y pro u d 0 f hi rrs elf fo r i rrp r 0 v i n g, by hi rrs elf. To rTTTV u 8 u a I I Y h a 8 t r 0 u bl e ge t tin 9 be t t era ttl and M88Gad8toneandtheprincipai trytohelphirn but thi8i80r

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al ready he has sorre cont r 01

Wen TOrTTTV opens hi s e~s, he can see past t he hi ghest poi nt of hi s hOL

s t rip 0 f po c k rra r ked r 0 ad t hat lie s be jo n d the d r i ve wa y. H3 iss til I

but he cat ches t he t op of t he roof. If om her e he can see Pat ches' de asl eep and snor i ng just like he had hoped. H3 hopes she is dr earri ng gr asshopper s. If he want ed to, TOrTTTV coul d cl i rrb down hi s chi mney like TOrTTTV doesn't want to do that. H3 coul d tel I hi s rro t her about t hi ot her rmrrent, but he decides to rmke it his own, sorret hi ng separat I s c h 0 0 I and Pa t c h e s . It i s a sec ret t hat h e wi I Ike e p p r i vat e fo r t ~ down the roo f I ike Sp ide r rra n now, a s i len the r 0 s n e a kin 9 t h r 0 u gh his fl 0 at i n 9 ba c k t 0 his be d she e t s.

Ch a r I esSe b ian - Lai rsd e rh e aut SI.l IT ra roge r sin t .h e Bra i n

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