Reggie was never a normal boy, let’s be honest.
He was hopeless at school. Bright enough, but never in sync with the other kids. A loner they said, though you could see him sometimes, sitting on his own, gazing at the groups of children with a kind of longing that would break your heart.
But what can you do with childhood gangs and groups? They have their own rules and if adults tried to force someone on them they’d move pretty quickly from just being outcast to being the target of bullying.
No, it was best to leave it all be and hope for Reggie’s sake it would pass. These things have their time, we’d tell ourselves, watching from the teacher’s lunchroom. In time he’ll find his groove and be accepted. Just leave it aloe.
Except, this time, he just never did. And I watched him through middle school, his fear and anger and rage growing. By the time he was going to high school he’d started acting up in class, but not in a way that brought him friends. I think if any of the children had tried by then he’d have rejected them anyway. He wore his strangeness like a cloak, like the big dark coats he always wore as he reached teenage years.
They say he’d skip school a lot by high school. His parents gave up on him, or as I suspected had never really been that interested. Surely that social isolation, that dislocation, he evidenced had to have begun at home? No real intimate relationships, no real caring, no normal interactions to model his behaviour on?
That’s my theory anyway.
Now he lurks in the forest, and I’ve heard stories of people going missing there. People whisper its him, but if it is, the police haven’t gotten anything on him yet.
I like to think it’s because he hasn’t done anything to them. That if something dark happens to them in that forest it has nothing to do with the strange, dark loner Reggie has become. Yes he seems angry. Yes, sometimes if you get physically close to him he shakes, like rage is just about to explode out of him. But still, I like to think that lonely little boy hasn’t gone that bad.
It’s ok not to be normal. That’s all I’m saying. Being different doesn’t make you bad. It’s not enough, is it?
(c ) Helen M Valentina 2019