From the Window
Rick Hawkins sat in his wheelchair as he looked out the window, anxiously running his fingers through his short blond hair. Tears silently streamed down his face as his green eyes darted around the park across the street, following the kids running around and playing. He brought a hand up and wiped the tears away, letting out a deep sigh as he watched them, knowing that he would never get to experience it for himself; the joy of running from the kid who was 'it' in a friendly game of tag, the thrill of hearing footsteps as the person who is looking for you in a good game of hide-and-seek…
Being stuck in a wheelchair made Rick an outcast at school. In a world where fitting in was all that mattered. Not being able to run or walk made people avoid him like the plague. After all, who wants to be stuck with a kid who can't even walk? Being born with weak muscles in his legs not only robbed him of the ability to walk, but also the ability to make friends. Whenever he tried to go up and spark a conversation he was either ignored, or instantly shot down with insults. Almost every day when school was let out he was helped on and off the bus, and when he gets home just threw himself onto his bed and cried, screaming "Why me? Why me?" until he finally managed to sob himself to sleep. It felt like the only person who cares about him at all is his mother.
His mother had gorgeous blond hair that dropped down to her shoulders. She had warm brown eyes that just invited you to pour your problems out to her. Whenever she asked what was wrong, he found it near impossible to lie or ignore her. His mother was his light in the darkness. The only person who was there for him, no matter what happened – unlike his father who wasn't able to put up with a kid who can't walk.
Rick had never known his father. Before he'd been born, the doctors had known that there was something wrong with his legs, and that he would most likely grow up crippled. His father had probably just walked out on him like everyone else, unable to bear the thought of living with a son who couldn't walk – a son who couldn't do all the normal things other children could. But it was probably for the best anyway. If he'd stayed, then his father would've been a complete laughing stock.
Fresh tears once again made their way down Rick's cheeks as he cried harder than ever. They dropped to the floor, leaving small splotches on the wood. He bit his tongue to hold back a sob. He didn't want his mother heading up the stairs and asking what was wrong because she heard him crying. He would have to tell her everything – not something he wanted to do at the moment.
Rick wanted to turn away from the window. But his eyes wouldn't leave. They watched the children as they played their silly games and simply had fun. He just sat and stared, imagining that he was one of them, running around and playing tag with everyone else.
"Rick! Dinner is ready!"
He let out a sigh as he wheeled himself to the stairs where his mother was waiting to help him down the stairs. His mother smiled and grabbed the handle of the wheelchair and began to slowly began the descent. Every bump made him wish even more that God had given him working legs.
"So, how was your day?"
The question he had been dreading had finally been asked. He let out another silent sigh. "Fine," he muttered.
A glance at his blood shot eyes and tear stained cheeks was all it took for her to tell that he was anything but fine. "Oh, come on. You know you can tell me anything," his mother said as they finished coming down the steps.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"You never want to talk about it, but you always feel better after you do." Silence followed the statement. Rick just stared down at the floor, knowing what she said was true.
"Why me?" he whispered, the words just loud enough to be heard.
"What was that?"
"Why me?" He repeated, the whisper suddenly turning into a yell. "Why am I the one who stuck to in the damned chair? Why can't I go out and run around with everyone else? Why do I have to be different?" He was crying again, his chest wracked with sobs. Rick's mother wrapped her arms around her son and pulled him into a hug. She said nothing just sat there and held him.
"You are no different than those kids at school," she finally murmured. Rick raised his head to try and protest but was shot down with a stern look from his mother.
"Last time I checked you were still a human. Or am I mistaken? Did you suddenly lose your heart and brain? Did you lose the ability to have fun? To feel pain and happiness?" She gently cupped his face and turned it so it faced her. "Those are what make us human. Our emotions. The fact that you are sitting here crying proves you are certainly still human."
Rick once again turned his gaze to the floor, not finding the words to respond.
"Come on, it's Friday! Why don't we see if we can catch that movie you wanted to see? "Rick's expression lightened at that. His pain wasn't completely gone, but it was numbed slightly.
"Yeah, okay, mom." He wheeled himself to the car with his mother leading the way. He swallowed, and wiped his face. "And thanks for always being there."
She just turned her head and gave a warm smile; a smile that said she wasn't going anywhere.