The reel rolls on.
The eraser is thrown at him, again, and he coughs in the cloud of chalk.
His ear is pulled, his face is smacked and he is dragged into the hall by a red-faced tyrant.
He is sent to the principal to receive more humiliation. The principal drags him from room to room by his leg, shaming him in front of every single kid in the school.
He shrugs it off. He laughs a lot. He acts silly.
They hit him again and again and again.
He is louder, tougher and stronger than them.
They put him down.
He jumps up to regain his pride.
They scorn him.
He leaves with his heart in his hands, fragile, cracked and almost broken.
The summer is a time to blossom, to fly free. He explores the world, thirstily drinking up knowledge from every corner of his domain. His mind is a sponge soaking up sweet, beautiful thoughts, storing them for later. He runs through the woods, collecting samples, and he is a geologist. He mixes blue and red chemicals, and, lost in the cloud of smoke, he is a brilliant scientist. He mends the wing of a broken bird, setting her free, and he is a veterinarian. He is the world.
He starts the year in the new school with the faintest glimmer of hope.
The man at the front of the room is given a chance as he raises his heart to him in a pathetic offering of trust.
His eyes are open wide in anticipation. He wants to learn. He wants to understand.
The man opens his mouth and speaks. He doesn’t understand the words. The letters swarm before his eyes and he looks up in confusion.
There he stands, the man who is to save him, looking down at him with a scornful expression as he shames him and rips his heart in two.
The flashback hits him harder than he had expected. He is flown through time and space, reliving each and every experience.
He sifts through the past and stores each memory in compartments, some with keys to open later, some slated for destruction and some to feed the hate inside him.
His eyes are closed. His face is drawn.
Once again, his name is called.
The eyes that are raised to meet his future are not the same as the eyes of his past.
Those eyes will never see, nor be seen, again.