Jaime sat on a rock near the river and threw rocks at the fish that came up to eat the bugs from the surface. He never hit any, but he liked to see them scurry back into the depths, or maybe it was the fear he caused them that he really enjoyed. Jaime had been coming down to the river every day after school since he was six years old. He would hang his backpack on the same tree branch, throw his shirt on the same bush, and jump up on the same rock. He would stand up tall, put his hands on his hips, and say, “I am not afraid of you. You will fear me.”
When the fish stopped coming, and the sun began to set, Jaime made his way home. When he got there, supper was ready and on the table. His mother had already left for her night shift, and he was alone, again. The steam had already died down above the potatoes, so he knew it would be another cold dinner tonight. He wanted to get home early so he could see his mother and eat a hot meal. He wanted to skip his detour to the river after school, but the kids at school never made that possible for him.
Jaime woke and got ready for school. He brushed his teeth, stuffed his favorite comic in his backpack, grabbed the lunch his mother packed when she got home from work, gave his mother a goodbye kiss, and left out the front door. The school wasn’t very far. When he entered the school, he lowered his head, grabbed onto the straps of his backpack, and hurried to the classroom. Just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the three years before that, Michael stopped him in the hall, “Jaime! My favorite kid in school, my buddy, my pal.”
“Shut up Michael,” Jaime said.
“Is that a way to treat your friend?”
Jaime wiped a tear from his eye, “You’re not my friend. You’re mean.”
Michael let out a torturing laugh. “Ha ha ha! Are you crying baby? Hey everyone look at the nine year old cry-baby! Just like when you were six, baby.”
Jaime pushed his way past Michael and entered the classroom. He threw his backpack into the closet and fell into his arms on his desk. Michael entered laughing and took his seat as the teacher walked in.
The day was over, and yet again Jaime was at the river throwing rocks at fish. Another day he would miss his mother and eat a cold dinner. Tomorrow I will stand up to him, I promise.
“I am not afraid of you. You WILL fear me!”