He isn't like the other boys, his classmates. He doesn't like sports, and he enjoys being clean and tidy. His sheets are black, and his room is peppered with neither cars nor pin-up girls. He doesn't crush on girls, but neither is he gay. The other boys (and, indeed, he himself) cannot find a label to fit. He is ineffable, in more ways than one.

Spending his time alone, he walks the grounds of his academy, sometimes hiding away in the woods, or his room, when his roommate is away. He has no one to call a friend, but he wouldn't want one anyway. "Too much effort," he thinks, when the subject crosses his mind.

In sixth grade, a teacher expressed concern over his solitary existence. "He walks with his head down," she wrote on a progress report. It was, and still is, true, but only because his mind is so full of things to think about, analyse, and process. Only occasionally blissfully quiet, his thoughts teem like fish, leaping up when food is present.

Physically, he is neither tall nor short. He alternates between skinny and slim, as his moods and diet changes or vanish. His body is covered in scars, some from abuse at home or school, more from his own self. "They tell stories no one will ever know," he says to himself when he is feeling empowered. On less positives days, however, thoughts like "I want more," and "I wish someone would just notice," barrel around, dominating his focus.

He would not say he is not happy, though. As fierce as his mood swings are, he is alive, and so glad. Unlike his tormentors and abusers, he loves the life he is leading. He is not lonely. He is himself, and that makes him prouder than anything.