Marcus J. Zimmer was never the same as everybody else. As a child, he would imagine giants
running across marshmallows in the sky instead of watching the ball in the outfield. He
would stare at a single tiny seashell for ten straight minutes, sometimes even trying to
find the minuscule piece that was chipped off. But perhaps the strangest of all was the
food; the food on his plate never touched, it was color-coded, and he ate one thing at the
time, never going from this to that to back to this to those to back to that to those
again and then to these and back again to this. Only this, that, those, these.
Marcus, as you can surely guess, had no friends whatsoever. For the older he became, the
stranger he became. He noticed things nobody else did. He studied things harder than other
people. But despite all the teasing and bullying, the shoving and pushing, the taunts and
tortures, Marcus J. Zimmer was not affected by any of it one tiny bit. So perhaps that is
the reason Lucy Monroe, a quiet, pretty girl, was drawn to him. Perhaps that is the reason
she fell in love.
I am small. Nobody cares. She is so beautiful. I love....
I snapped my head up. Oh, no. I've been daydreaming again. "Here."
Mr. Pollgory glared at my face. "Pay attention, Mr. Zimmer." The girls in the front row
tittered with soft laughter, otherwise known as giggles. Whatever. I tried the word
out in my head. Those girls used it all the time. It felt to big, too showy for my meager
mind. I pushed it out and replaced it with softer, smaller words, like bloom and case and
mask. If I spoke those words aloud, they would roll comfortably right off my tongue.
Unlike the word "whatever". It's too harsh for me.
A pencil landed on my desk. It was bright orange, and it hurt my eyes. There was a piece
of paper rolled around it and taped closed. I turned my head to the right, to the front,
and to the left of where I was seated. I saw nobody looking in the direction of me. I
carefully unrolled the paper. It was a blank rectangle of looseleaf paper, one hole in it.
The other two were apparently cut off.
I looked more closely and saw something had been written, then erased. But no, a still
closer look revealed the inked words to be almost green. This was written in invisible
ink! I abruptly stood, and held the paper up the the light than was conveniently right
above my desk. I squinted at the writing.
The room became silent. I slowly looked around me, and saw everyone staring in my
direction. I've done it again, haven't I, I thought. Jumped right out of my
seat in the middle of class. I've really got to work on that.
"Mr. Zimmer." I head the voice of Mr. Pollgory, sounding angry. "Please. Sit. Down." I
sat. "Please stay seated, Mr. Zimmer." I stayed in my seat. Mr. Pollgory turned back to
the blackboard. I sighed.
The bell could not ring fast enough. After class was over, I rushed through the smelly,
crowded hallway to my last period class. Luckily, I was a junior, which meant that most of
my classes, at least in this school, were close to each other. I did not have to walk
As I arrived at biology class, I accidentally-on purpose bumped into Bethany Wright, the
girl that I love. She sent a strange look in my direction and said nothing. I smiled
inwardly. She had looked at me! But before I could let my thoughts about Bethany wander
any further, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see Lucy Monroe, smiling shyly,
holding out a book to me. Why is she trying to give that book to me? I thought. but
I then realized it was mine, and I had dropped it. "Thank you, Lucy." I took the book and
walked into the classroom.