The early morning hues of corals, pale oranges, and faded yellows seeped through the blinds of his room, lightening the blue fuzzy carpet, with large brown circles. To the right against the wall, curled up into a fetal position, lay Charlie, dreaming in his slumber. The white wood frame and periwinkle comforter gracefully protected Charlie from the dangers of the monstrous creatures living under his bed. Charlie’s small fingers grasped his favorite childhood stuffed animal- a floppy brown chicken with orange three-toed feet, and a beak for pecking at its imaginary feasts. Charlie slowly opened his eyelids with the dizzying daze of sleep still cast upon him. His puppy dog eyes cleared up as he reassuringly looked down at the chicken in his hands.
His wispy brown hair was thin and soft, and he always liked to keep it brushed. His light brown eyes were deep, and looking into them was like falling down a rabbit hole with Alice- infinite. His head was on the rounder side, and his small nose was accompanied by his moistened pink lips.
Charlie rolled out of his pillowy bed and scrambled off the floor onto his feet. “First day of school Charlie! First day of school! First day of first grade!” his father cheerfully called as he heard the sounds of Charlie’s awakening.
Charlie sat down on the unfamiliar roughness of the maroon classroom carpet. Circle, circle, circle, circle. He had a habit of repeatedly tracing circles with his finger. Charlie noted the blandness of the room- there was no artwork up. He noticed many things, but didn’t quite think about them. Charlie scooted backwards as two other children sat next to him. He looked up at his teacher, and caught sight of her bright yellow shirt. The color made him squirm- he stumbled into the bathroom, and cried. The teacher hadn’t noticed, but when Charlie was back, a navy sweater covering the shirt had appeared.
“Now, before we leave, let’s all share one interesting fact about ourselves! Add in your name too, so I can start to remember. Let’s go around in a circle.” The teacher announced her instructions with a smile on her face, but Charlie didn’t comprehend why. When the girl seated next to Charlie had finished telling the class that her favorite food was pasta, he realized that it was his turn to go. “My name is Charlie. I like chickens, otherwise known as Gallus gallus domesticus. Chickens are friendly animals but they make strong friendships, and like being with their friends more than others. They are also the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but that doesn’t mean they are mean and scary. If you are afraid of chickens, you might be Alektorophobic, but I am not.” He stated his interesting fact facing straight ahead at the wall, not making eye contact with anyone. The boy next to Charlie was last, and couldn’t think of anything.
The teacher concluded class. “Alrighty everyone! It’s recess time- I’m going to walk you all out to the yard, and then you can all talk and play!” Charlie hadn’t once spoken a full conversation to any of his classmates, even the ones he had attended kindergarten with.
The children all dashed out through the metal gates, into the yard. They had already decided to play kickball- everyone, of course, except Charlie. The class was directed by a loud boy to line up against the fence. Apparently that was what his brother did, when he was playing with his friends. Charlie cringed at the volume of the boy’s yells and covered his ears. Finally, the captains had picked all of the kids, except for Charlie. There were seventeen kids in the class, and each other person had been distributed equally among the teams. The two captains looked at Charlie with disdain, and then at each other. They acknowledged each other as if they could read each other’s minds. Then started to ignore Charlie, and pretend he wasn’t there.
This was okay with Charlie, and he merely walked away and sat down on the concrete ground, secluding himself as if he was miles away from the game. He wasn’t good at socializing anyway, and was considered “awkward” by many adults. Charlie sat quietly as the afternoon sun embraced his back. He mesmerizingly traced circles with his pointer finger repetitively along the ground, as the eroding rubble hiding in some crevices of the concrete occasionally brushed coarsely against his finger.
‘I wonder why they didn’t choose me. Maybe they don’t like chickens, or are afraid- they could be Alektorophobic after all. Maybe if I didn’t like chickens, they would choose me. Maybe they are even scared that I am a chicken. Whatever the problem is, it is confusing, and I don’t know if they are mad at me, or I am in trouble.’ Charlie’s worrisome thoughts slowly streamed through his head.
“Hello!” a voice chimed surprisingly. Charlie hadn’t noticed the girl standing above him. Her golden curls glinted of orange in the sun. Her giant, clear blue eyes were oceans with pupil fish. “I would like to know about chickens please!” She stated beaming. Her statement was surprising to Charlie too, discombobulating Charlie’s thoughts. He could not tell if she was serious, and he could not even figure out what he felt himself, afraid, happy, maybe even both.
“Ok.” Charlie replied warily. He stood up, started walking with her, and wondered what would happen next.
Isabel Tadmiri, Age 13, Grade 8, MS 245 the Computer School, Silver Key