I used to write a lot of fiction and poems. I’ve written novels and screenplays and teleplays. I don’t have as much time for that now, which may explain why my dreams are often filled with stories. Sometimes to scare me; sometimes to soothe me. This bit of prose comes from one of those soothing experiences.
Once upon a time there was a boy.
But this was not a boy like you would think of a boy.
He never ran about to excess, bumping into things, falling down.
He never fidgeted in his seat and cried out when he was not allowed to move.
He never snorted jokes at his friends at his teachers’ expense.
No, this was a boy who liked to sit in his corner of the drab gray and windowless room he and his classmates were forced to sit, hours upon hours, unendingly, to do their learning to pass their pile after pile of tests to get into a proper college and thus lead a proper life.
He sat their comfortably, at peace with his books.
This was a boy who loved to read. And read. And read.
He would read anything. All the time. Any book with printed words he would disappear into his, his heart beating enthusiasm that never appeared on his face. He would be content to always read and never go outside.
Until the time he came upon a tennis court chasing after an erstwhile lightweight novel that the wind had torn from his hand.
He sat transfixed by the machinations of the players, the balls, the court. And he asked, in a small, unused voice, if he could play.
The older boys there — including his classmate, the boy with the blonde hair that constantly fell over his eyes — sniggered but agreed.
And the boy who loved to read and not go outside won.
And he won. And he won. And he won.
Every single match. Against every single player. He won.
And not just tennis. Any sport he was introduced to he won. No matter how complex, no matter how exotic, he won.
Because he read about it. And because in reading so much he could see how it worked after just a brief exposure to it.
Now, the people of the town had long thought him to be autistic or something. His grandmother, his only guardian after the deaths of his parents, chided them all, said he was only shy. But no the doctors, they knew better, and they began calling him a savant.
The people of the town who made money off the town wanted to brand him — not with a physical brand, naturally, but as a money-making attraction to bring attention to this small, seemingly forgotten by modern advancements town. His grandmother bristled at the thought, and just wanted her little lucky streak to enjoy himself.
Because as they all talked and had important discussions, his heart beat with the enthusiasm that before only reading gave him. And his grandmother could see it. Could see the crinkle around his eyes. The slight upturn in his lips.
His heart was beating through.