The Child



He sits in the middle of the classroom, small and low in his chair, so that the others, the ones sitting behind him, can see over his head; he knows that those behind him neither appreciate nor notice this act, but he doesn’t mind because it allows him to just sit there, quietly and out of the way, and wait for the day to be over and not listen to the teacher speak and glance every now and then, as much as his low position will permit it, at the birds outside as they swoop and glide from tree to lamppost to tree again, thinking things aren’t so bad – but, as he always does, he stops himself from breathing, just for a minute, just until his head throbs and his face turns a pale blue, and before he lets himself breathe again he looks around to face the others. One girl looks over at him, only for a moment, before turning to face the teacher again.