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    Alex Henderson

    35. Zorion

    By Alex Henderson

    From the moment the boy entered the room, he wouldn’t take his hand out of his pocket.

    He was going to be a new student, my teacher told the class, but he spoke no English. The rest of us were already in our chairs. He wore a dark blue jacket with the word FUTBOL stitched across the shoulders in fuzzy mustard-colored letters. Mrs. Dernell took his slim wrist in her fingers and led him to an empty seat near her chipped pale desk. His left elbow triangled out as she pulled him, but his hand wouldn’t budge. She smiled real big at him when he sat down. The rest of us just gaped.

    He was tiny, darker skinned than any of us, with jet-black eyebrows, ears that poked out, hair that tufted up in the back, and blue eyes like twin hailstones. He’d just moved to Boise from Bilbao, Spain, which is in Europe we learned, and he was going to join our fifth grade class for the rest of the year. He sat straight-backed in his chair and stared at the overhead projector, not looking at anyone else. His half-zipped jacket flared out at the top to reveal a collared T-shirt at least two sizes too big for him. It was striped bright yellow and green, like layers of ripe and unripe bananas.

    The whole day, even during lunch, he kept his left hand in his little jacket pocket. When he sneezed in the cafeteria, he reflexively pulled the jacket over his head trying to cover his mouth, which just got snot all over the sleeve. No one tried to make friends with him. Who would want to be friends with such a weird kid? . . . Read More.


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