Different. An Essay By James Cooper

My son James wrote this a couple of months before his 13th birthday, I found it highly evocative and insightful. He picked up the style from some school reading and I think it shows remarkable empathy for sufferers of all sorts of conditions.

The formatting is his and I think adds to the sense of urgency in the mind of boy his story depicts.

Different.

An Essay By James Morris Cooper.

Running. Pushing. Shoving. Don’t trip, get up. Colour, black and white, in and out of focus. Can’t see.

“Hey, watch it mate!”

“Oi! What’s your problem?”

Mustn’t be late, can’t be late. Need them. Need them now. I burst through the doors, tearing away from those people. The normal. I’m different from them, can’t be like them ever. They won’t let me.

Can’t be late. I need them now.

I see him. The man. The nice, friendly man. He takes care of me. Must get to him.

Too different. Must get to him so I’m not late.

“Hey kiddo. Why are you running? We’ve got fifteen more minutes,” he says to me, “Want to get a milkshake?”

No no no no no. Can’t be late. Must get them now.

“Well, I’ll take that as a yes. Hop in.”

I hesitate, and then step into the metal machine, screaming inside. The fast, moving machine. It’s evil, but the man doesn’t listen to me. Ever. Need them now.

“How was your day? I see you went to the library. Those books are good for you.”

I remember the books. I love them. They are my escape. My refuge. My home.

They understand me. Can’t be late.

“You know, the doctor says you should talk a bit more.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Only talk for woman. Nice. Nicer than the man. Makes me feel like a normal. Too different. Must get to them.

The machine stops. Too evil, must get away from it. I drop my books and rip the door open, slam it shut to hurt the monster. Run inside. Hide behind counter while the man orders. Only chocolate. Never vanilla. Mustn’t be late.

“Whoa, slow down there! You’ll get a stomach ache before you know it”

Block out the man. He knows nothing. Chocolate so soothing. Like the books. My friends.

We get back into the machine and roar away. It’s evil. It try’s to hurt us, but the man has to control it. Turn the wheel to escape the danger. Too fast. Must slow down. Screaming.

“Hey, hey, hey, take it easy! It’s all right, I’ll slow down. I was just having a bit of fun, that’s all”

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Too fast. He’ll hurt me if he crashes.

I see it. The house. The big one. The woman is there. Must get to her. Must get them.

I open the door and step out onto to the rushing floor below. Pain. Spinning.

Blood. The machine stops rolling away. The man steps out and runs to me, screaming.

I get up, push away the pain and limp to the house. To her. To them. I must have them.

The man grabs me and shouts again. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He won’t let go. Too loud. Punch him. More blood.

He falls and I keep limping. I reach the door and open it. Moan as pain hits me. Silence. No woman. Screaming again. I must find them myself.

“Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing! I know its time, but could you calm down? You’re over reacting.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I’m searching for them. Climb the tall chair to top of fridge.

Open cupboard and pull it all out. Falling. The pain hits even harder. Must get them.

“Mate, just calm it down. I’ll get them for you.”

Too much pain. Must let man get them. He’s moving too slow.

“Here they are.”

He holds up the container. I lunge for them. Open it and they fall to the floor. Pick them up. The pills. Hands shaking. Swallow them.

Calm.

“Sorry dad.” I say. I pick myself up and walk to the bathroom to wash off the blood.

“Your mum and I are used to it,” he says, sighing. “You’re just different, that’s all.”

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