Winston stood up, and the cafeteria fell silent. Every boy and girl in the fifth grade were staring at him, waiting to see what he would do next. Even the teachers’ aides were watching. Winston’s muscles twitched with fear. His breath was fast and ragged. His heart bashed against the walls of his chest as if it were trying to escape.
He struggled with even the simplest math and when he tried the read the letters were all scrambled up. The other kids always laughed at him. That hurt, but sometimes people are hurtful. His mother told him that the first day he came home from school crying.
“You can’t let them ruin your day,” she’d said.
He knew she was right. Life was hard for her too, but she always put on a smile for him. She didn’t know that he could hear her stifled sobs through the wall when he lay in his bed at night.
He wasn’t good at school stuff and didn’t have many friends, but there was one thing he’d always been good at and he was going to show them now. Winston cleared his throat, opened his mouth, and sang. His voice rose up in the air and echoed through the room, bouncing off the large windows that ran along the ceiling. It was like a light bursting out of him, a fire that could not be put out. [Read more…]