by Donna L Martin
Ricky absently reached for his hairbrush, fingers snatched back as if burned when it dawned on him how foolish it would have been to pick it up. His hands brushed against his scalp, feeling the stubble just beginning to grow back. It had been a long hard summer and now that school was starting up again, Ricky wasn't ready for the drama he was sure waited for him there. He was just getting his life back and didn't want to deal with the looks like he had gotten at the clinic. Besides, how could they possibly understand? With their carefree laughter and simple lives, how could they possible know what it felt like to be him?
It was supposed to rain today and Ricky knew what that meant. His mom would hover over him, asking a million times if he was okay and telling him to make sure he grabbed a jacket so he wouldn't catch a cold. How could he tell her he just wanted to feel normal again? He hated how his name and cancer always seemed to crowd the same sentences these days. Ricky was beginning to forget where he stopped and his illness began. Pulling a baseball cap low over his forehead, Ricky grabbed his backpack and rushed out the back door before his mom could realize he was gone.
Hours later Ricky sat alone in one corner of the cafeteria. It was as bad as he thought it would be. First was the stares. Some of the guys he used to hang out with last year even started calling him skin head. But it was the constant whispers that bothered him the most. Why didn't they just come out and say it to his face? He was tired of fighting. Fighting the rage he felt when he first found out he was sick. Fighting to keep food down after the latest chemo treatment. Now he was fighting back tears as he stared at the cold tuna fish on his plate. Softly, almost as if she didn't want to disturb him, Ricky heard someone clearing their throat near him. Glancing up, he noticed a girl from his Chemistry class standing in front of him. Ricky tried to think of her name. Becky. Betty. Something that started with a B he was pretty sure but he really didn't give it much thought cuz he really just wanted to be left alone.
"Do you mind if I sit down here?"
Ricky looked around the cafeteria at first to see if someone had set her up to talk to him before staring back at the girl. Last year he might have even flirted with her but now it just seemed to take too much energy to bother with trying. His sickness had almost broken him but maybe God was showing him he'd been given a second chance? Now the only question swirling around in his head was should he take it?
***Okay, it's your turn! Put your creative cap on and add a sentence or add a paragraph. Continue my story or start one of your own. Join the fun and see where this picture prompt takes us!***