by Rex Emerson Jackson
It was the most beautiful puddle I had ever seen. Almost completely round, gorgeously muddy, and the water got darker near the centre of the puddle, indicating how gloriously deep it went. I couldn’t resist. My purple rain boots were made for this day. Slowly, I dipped a toe in the edge of the puddle. The water washed over my boot and a smile spread across my face. I stood fascinated for a moment by the glinting of the sun off of the water, watching the water wash over my boot until the purple disappeared beneath the churning, muddy surface. Mesmerized, I stepped in a little further. The water washed up to my ankles and my feet vanished completely. The silty water swirled seductively, and I shifted my weight back and forth as I watched the patterns flow and ebb. I was completely engrossed until a voice jolted me out of my reverie.
“Simon, what are you doing in there?” I wrinkled my nose with uncertainty. I was not Simon. They were mistaking me for someone else. As I raised my head and brushed my gaze over the owner of the voice and her friends, I saw several things on their faces. I am not good at reading faces, but to me it seemed like they were confused, which was soon replaced with contempt and fear. “Um, never mind.” The girl stammered out, and the group of them left quickly. I blushed and ducked my face. I knew how the kids looked at me. I was the weird kid, the one who was fascinated by patterns and light, the one who was slow to respond to verbal prompts but could read well beyond his grade level. I was the kid who had no friends, who couldn’t exchange daily pleasantries but often went on long monologues about rabbits or tornadoes. I felt like a square peg being hammered painfully into a round hole. That day, as the girls scampered away muttering about “That weird kid again”, I watched the water pool over my feet as if I could disappear completely into the puddle. Surely that sparkling, dancing existence would be better than this sharp, loud world that I didn’t really fit into.