Note: I’ve just posted this over at MyTrendingStories.com, and thought I’d show it here too. I hope you like it.
I think at this time where tolerance is in short shrift, this true story should see the light of day. We should always venture to look beyond the end of our own noses to the truth that is always there just harder to see.
The boy with no name condemned himself to the accumulated barbs of youth. It wasn’t his voice, as we never heard it, nor his appearance, nor even his outdated bike, an insipid viridian color that singled him out, but his helmet. What boy wore a yellow skateboard helmet, whilst riding around on a bike.
He took the doled out abuse in good spirit. One would think he’d not even heard most of it, so nonchalant did he ride on by. A little too nonchalant for the liking of my more loudmouthed friends; they saw it as a personal affront.
When a group of boys get together, there are inevitable consequences to the ones who remain outside the circle. Helmet-boy was the undisputed king of the outcasts. He would ride on by in blissful ignorance of the tongue-lashing the other children gave him which I’m ashamed to say include myself, although less. I think there were others who would have left him to his own devices, but like me, dared not.
Helmet-boy did not play sport. When one lives in a small community with nothing but a half-descent sports field for amusement it’s unacceptable to not use it. Despite hosting such a wide variety of sports that everyone could find something to participate in, Helmet-boy did not. I wouldn’t say he hated the place, I couldn’t say that, but his little legs did peddle harder whenever he reached the field’s graveled entrance. We would watch him approach through the threadbare hedgerow in languid brushes of his peddles, only to accelerate across the twenty-foot gap as though his life depended upon it. Was that his reaction to being odd? Did he at last realize the ire he caused in the rest of us? Who could say?
Helmet-boy’s family moved away from the outskirts of our village before the rest of us even noticed. When, how, and with what, they moved was a mystery that added to their queerness. We weren’t even given one last opportunity to set him straight. Like a ghost, Helmet-boy peddled away for good.
It was some time later, perhaps months, that I grumbled to my mum about Helmet-boy. She’d never liked the way his yellow-helmeted head would race across the front of our bay window. I bemoaned his absence as I might have a familiar weed. One gets used to such things being there even if their purpose is to annoy.
“Who you talkin’ about?” asked my brother. My brother was another of the children the others avoided; he never quite fit in. He had the uncanny knack of starting every conversation with a question without ever really being bothered about receiving an answer.
“The kid in the helmet,” I said.
“The one on the bike.”
“But, he has to wear it.”
“Or what!” I’d huffed in true big brother fashion.
“He could die. Mark fractured his skull. If he does it again, it could kill him. His mum makes him wear it because he’s always on his bike. That’s how it happened, he got knocked down.”
And just like that the boy with no name had gained not only a title, but reason and purpose.
I always readied myself to shout to Mark from that day on, raise my palm, flash a smile, but regret never seeing him ride by again.
Thank you for reading