Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The small classroom was pervaded by a quiet luminescence, feebly provided by the few dull, weak rays of sunlight that managed to sneak in around the edges of the closed blinds. These carried with them small particles of dust which danced lazily through the still air, drunken will-o-wisps that drifted aimlessly before settling like a sort of heaven-sent soot belched forth from the belly of some fiery god. All the room’s accoutrements were ashen and dead, victimized by the pale radiance. The scattered toys looked old and tattered, of the sort typically donated to orphanages; childish drawings, reflective pools of exuberance, hung on the wall like wilted flowers. Such a merry place, this room should have been, so full of life and color; it sat forgotten, though, shut up and closed, while outside it’s bouquet of rosy children pranced about in play.
Something stirred beneath one of the tables. A small boy, left unnoticed and forgotten. He turned over onto his side, then again back onto his stomach, his eyes closed, face twisted in an expression of distress. His mouth was clenched tightly, as were his hands, and a soft mewing could be heard seeping from his lips. The sound grew slowly in intensity, building like the plaintive cries of a hungry kitten, and suddenly, without warning, his eyes snapped open, his mouth fell agape, and he cried out, rising from the ground and slamming his head into the bottom of the table. He immediately fell back, grimacing slightly and reaching up to rub the hurt spot. When he again opened his eyes they were clear, the fog of sleep had lifted and was now replaced by a look of confusion. Where were his classmates, he thought. Why was he alone? Small boys shouldn’t be abandoned in dreary classrooms, especially not one who was this small, and especially not in a classroom this dreary. He crawled out on hands and knees and stood, turning his head this way and that to make absolutely sure he was the only one present. Outside he could hear the sounds of play, and a quick glance at the clock confirmed what he feared: that everyone was at recess and that he had been left behind. The teacher must be punishing him, though he couldn’t remember doing anything wrong. Perhaps it was because he hadn’t eaten his lunch. Or maybe because she had seen him chewing on some of the macaroni they had used in a project.
His musings quickly dissipated when he noticed the tightening pressure in his bladder. His small hands flew to his crotch and his thighs drew together. He had to use the restroom…quite badly. The mewing began to issue forth from his throat again, and he began to raise himself, up and down, on his tiptoes. What to do? Where to go? He quickly ran to the door and strained to look out the window. No one in the hall, not a soul. His distress grew and he began to walk circles around the room, tears welling up in his eyes. If only there was someone, anyone, from whom he could ask permission. He knew where the bathroom was, he was bright, but he couldn’t leave without asking first; he was being punished, after all. His pace quickened, the tears streaming forth in earnest, and he started to hit himself on the sides, every fiber of his being straining to hold back the urine. It was too much, too much effort. The call of nature overwhelmed the threat of punishment and he dashed for the door, grabbing the handle and throwing it open. He made it five steps into the hall, within sight of the bathroom, before he stopped and looked down. A wet spot had begun to form on the front of his trousers. Horrified, all he could do was stand and watch. It grew larger, his underwear soaking through, a trickle running down his legs. The little boy could only stand and weep, alone in the hall. He was a good boy, such a good boy, and good boys don’t soil their clothing. Neither do they break the rules, even if it means refuting their nature.

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