Joy Ch. 4

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It is obvious then that it surprised everyone, even James himself. The signs had been there for a long time but they were only to be interpreted in retrospect. It was only when the professionals had looked at him, after years of therapy, after he had been analysed under a microscope that they noticed what had gone wrong; and even then they were wrong. No one knew where the issue stemmed. Even after all the therapy all that happened was his senses were dulled. His parents blamed themselves. His teachers blamed themselves. James blamed no one, and no one blamed James.

It all began on a Monday morning. It was one of the last days of James’ class seven 3rd term and results were just about to come out. James wasn’t worried though, furthermore James didn’t really care. James had played truant and found himself in his little clearing in the woods. Counting the clouds and daydreaming about nothing, and everything all at the same time. Life was going by and James was just watching it. He felt like Otis Reading watching the time go away.

The alarm clock on his Casio watch went off, it was 2pm. James ran to school ad sneaked into class just before the teacher for the afternoon checked in. Not that there was any teaching going on, it’s just that it was report card day, and James loved to be there for that. It was the one thing he enjoyed, the fruits of his hard labour, the proud look on his parent’s faces when he presented them with another number one report card once again. The procedure was always the same. The teacher would hand out the cards randomly except for the top ten who she would hand out from number 10 going up to number on. Each person in that list received a gift that varied from a sweet to a chocolate. James had received the chocolate every term since he had got his specs, everyone had come to expect it.

James counted the fly as the teacher handed out 40 report cards. Finally, she got to what everyone was waiting for. The top ten, one by one she went through them. There was applause for some students. There was a roar when it came to the number six who had been a bottom ten person for the last two terms. You could see him smiling cheekily. James just shrugged and thought to himself, “The idiot probably cheated.” In the midst of his day dream James almost fell off his chair, startled.

“James? James? Come for your report card.” The teacher called.

It couldn’t be though, they had only got to second place. James couldn’t have been beaten by anyone. James silently went up to the front of the class and took the report card. The teacher saw the disappointment in his eyes and gave him his wafer squeezing his arm. James smiled weakly and took the card, and walked out of class. Behind him he could hear the children clapping for whoever had beaten James, James didn’t want to hear it. James didn’t care.

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