His secret resided in a simple desk drawer. As long as he kept up his grades, nobody would ever look.

The open window allowed the warm June breeze to flow through the bedroom, welcoming a brand new day. Flap, flip, flap, flip, the shade bounced back and forth against the window with a comforting sound to remind the boy this was indeed baseball season, and the end of the school year. Tiny dust particles danced upon the streamers of sun, becoming celebratory sparklers chasing each other in the air. The confetti-strewn dust dissipated with delight upon his desk top to join the ever never-ending cycle. The puffs of air picked them up, forming whirlpools while they danced in the breeze.

He picked up a baseball cap hanging on the spindle of the desk chair and inspected the dust that had settled upon it. He lightly dusted off the cap with his left hand, whack-whack-whack, and the dust was tousled into the air. The smell of the cap released itself and filled his expanding nostrils, causing the hairs inside his nose to stand on end. The tips of his mouth slowing turned up, his head tilted ever so slightly to the left, and he could head the crack of the bat hitting yesterday’s ball across the field into the stands while his shoulders drooped indiscriminately and his eyes drifted up and to the right. A distant look came over his face as his cheeks began to tingle, and the dust and grass of each game he played wafted into the room. The musky scent of his sweat enclosed around him when his shoulders relaxed, slouching his back and he began to squint because the sun’s brilliant glare upon the ball was blinding as the home run streaked into the next field like a falling star. Flip, flap, flip flap. With a jerk of his head, he once again became aware of his room, and the morning’s sun playing music to the dancing stars around his desk. Flip, flap, flip, flap.

He squeezed the brim of his cap before carefully setting it on his head, adjusting the fit and smiling at the familiar comfort as it encompassed his head. Then he reached for the zippered sweatshirt that was hanging upon the chair, and quickly put it on. After adjusting the shoulders, he reached into the right hand pocket of the sweatshirt and stopped short.

A look of surprise replaced his smile as he pulled his hand out of the pocket. Opening his hand, he peered at a crumbled piece of paper in the center of his palm, and stared for a moment before walking to the side of the desk and opening the middle drawer.

Inside that drawer were myriad pieces of paper floating, each identical to the one in his hand. He stared at them for a split second and then affectionately relinquished his newer one into the deep drawer, standing for a bit, with a slight frown watching the waves created from the latest addition in the drawer. The drawer closed silently.

Baseball cards, books, empty candy wrappers, and the sort competed for space with schoolbooks, notebooks, and writing utensils on the desk. Standing next to the desk chair, the boy reached over, with some pushing and rearranging, and found a notepad and pen. He methodically placed the paper in front of him and held the pen. With a deep sigh, he began to write.

“Note to self, don’t forget to kill yourself today.”

Standing straight, he tossed the pen on the center of the desk, and then carefully folded the paper, just as the one he removed from his pocket, just as all the others swimming in the desk drawer, and then shoved it into the bottom of his sweatshirt pocket. With a tug on the brim of his cap, a quick step, and a smile on his face, he skipped out of his room to face the day.

Dedicated to a friend.

© 3/2011 julie sortor