It was 8:00 in the morning when the school bell rang as he hurried to his first class of the day. “I don’t want to be late!”, he thought. He ran faster up the stairs and straight to his class. “Good morning Mrs. Lewis.”, he said. “You are late again, James.” was her reply. “I’m sorry.” he said while taking his seat. Without looking up, he could still feel her staring at him. He knew what she was thinking. She’d been telling him “You’re late.” for a month now and he knew she wasn’t happy. Mrs. Lewis wasn’t the kind of teacher who tolerated her students arriving late. When that happened as regularly as in James’ situation it was only a matter of time until she would get in his business. She was that type of teacher, which many students hate and few appreciate. As he turned the page in his history book, he started to wonder back to a month ago when his life started to change.
It was the day after his mother’s death. He was in his room playing his game when his father came home. “Did you clean your room?” asked his dad. “Yes sir.” James said while looking up. As he watched his father turn to leave he could see the bottle in his hand. “When did he start drinking?” wondered James. “Oh well”, he said, continuing to play his game. He didn’t really care if his father drank or not because he and his father hadn’t been talking much since his mom died. James just walked over to the picture he had of his mom and, with tears in his eyes, he said, “I love you, MOM.”
“James! James!” “Yes Dad…” “Come here!” called his father. “I’m coming” James answered back. “Did you have anything to eat yet?” “Not yet.” replied James “Well your mom isn’t here to make you dinner, from now on you’ll be doing it for yourself.” said his father. “Did you hear me boy?” yelled his father. “Yes sir.”, James said. He was just ten when his mom died and he knew everything from now on would be different. As he walked past his parents’ room with the last left over of his mother’s cooking, he saw his dad on the floor with the bottle in his hand, fast asleep. “Oh Mom why did you have to leave me so soon?” he cried while walking to his room. As he sat in class with his thoughts locked far away in his mind, he could hear someone calling his name. “James! James!” “Yes Mom!”, he shouted. It took him a few seconds to realize its wasn’t his mother’s voice he had heard but that of his teacher. “I’m not your mother, James. Pay attention in my class or I’ll be forced to make you stand for the rest of the period.!” Yes ma’am”, replied James as he sat back down. With his head facing the window he realized the whole class was laughing at him. He felt like crying but knew the class would laugh even more, so he just held his head down and stared at his book. The sound of a bird made him turn to the window again. Staring at it he wondered, “How can I pay attention if the voice of the rapist is in my head?”