“She is so stupid,” muttered Devin softly. “Tie your shoes. Did you wash up? Brush your teeth, Devin. Those things are not important.” He purposely splashed water on the floor as he rinsed his toothbrush.
“Hurry up, Devin,” his mother called from down the hall.
“Hurry up, Devin,” he mocked. “What is the rush anyway? If she would let me stay home, then she wouldn’t have to worry about being late.”
“Come on, Devin!”
“That woman is too much!” He slammed his toothbrush into its holder and looked at himself in the mirror. One eye was definitely a different shade of green than the other. His face reminded him of his father’s whose intense green eyes shone from his very dark brown face.
He could remember his father. Memories of being a baby floated to his mind. Daddy leaning over his crib looking intensely at him. Daddy changing his diaper. Daddy leaving one night. Daddy never coming back. He dreamed of him often. Sometimes his dreams seem so real, as though his father were standing there watching him. But he was always alone when he opened his eyes.
His mother came through the door behind him into the small bathroom. “What are you doing? We have to go now! I can’t afford to be late again.”
“Then just let me stay here. I can take care of myself!”
“Yeah, and I can get thrown in jail for leaving you, now let’s go!”
As they rushed to the car his mother looked down at his shoes.
“Tie your shoes, Devin.”
“So do you like video games?”
“I do but my mother won’t buy me a system. She thinks it will corrupt my mind. She would rather I read”
“What type of books do you read?” the fat lady with too much lipstick on her stretched smiling thin lips asked. Her perfume was making Devin sick.
“I like magazines the best. Time.., People…, The New Yorker.”
“Those are strange things for a little boy like you to be reading.”
“Maybe, but I like them,” Devin said jumping off the stool. He ran behind the counter to where his mother was. The smell of the woman was still in his nose.
“I’m sorry I had to bring you here today sweet,” his mother whispered. “I’ll make it up to you.”
“It’s not too bad. So long as I don’t have to talk to stinky people like that woman there,” he whispered back. Actually, he didn’t really mind coming to the diner with his mother but he thought it would be more fun to stay home alone. He hated going to the babysitters’ even though it was the only place he got to be with other children. His mother homeschooled him when she could. Since he was so smart he passed all the required tests with ease. He was getting to the point where his mother was having a difficult time finding more advanced topics that she could teach him.
At his mother’s job, he got to meet all kinds of people. People with suit and tie, people in jeans, people who looked like they worked in hospitals. When nobody was looking he would talk to the patrons and learn as much as he could about what they did.
Once he met a couple from China. He was fascinated with the way they talked. They were fascinated by his eyes. He had asked his mother to teach him to speak Chinese but she said she couldn’t. He had asked her about sending him to school and as always she said he was too smart and she couldn’t afford a private school.
After work, even though his mother was tired, she was full of excitement.
“I’ve got a special surprise for you, Devin,” she beamed at him while waiting for the light to change.
“What is it?” he asked getting excited too.
“Do you remember me telling you about my best friend growing up?”
“Nicky White?” Devin’s mom looked at him in amazement.
“I guess I forgot who I was talking to. You don’t forget anything. Well, you are going to meet her and her daughter.”
“…Sheila, who is the same age as me.”
“Right. I know you don’t have any friends so… hopefully, you and Sheila will get along.”
“But they live in Washington!”
“No, no, no. Nicky’s move to Dayton. She’s only about fifteen minutes from us.” She looked at her son. “Are you excited?” Devin thought about the possibility of having a friend his age. Would she be smart like him? Would she even like him? Most kids he had met at the diner were stupid. After a few minutes with them, they never liked him.
“What’s wrong Devin?” his mother asked. For the first time, she saw her confident little seven-year-old look worried.
“Will Sheila like me, mom?”
“Devin, you are a smart young man. If you put your mind to it you can figure out how to make her like you.”
Devin smiled. He had never had a problem he couldn’t figure out.
Belinda rang the doorbell. The door suddenly flew open as though someone had been waiting behind it. A slender little girl looked at them from behind a screen door then turned and yelled, “MOM! They’re here.”
Devin could hear fast footsteps approaching the door. A voice preceded the walker saying, “Let them in.” Devin remembered the voice. He remembered that voice saying to his mother when he was very tiny, “Look at those gorgeous green eyes.”
The little girl unlocked the screen door and let them in just as the walker came up to them. His mother and the lady who he knew was Nicky hugged each other. Devin put out his hand and introduced himself to the girl.
“I’m Sheila,” she replied. Her voice was squeaky when she wasn’t yelling.
They stood there staring at each other until their mothers turned to them.
“Look how big he’s gotten,” remarked Nicky.
“You remember Nicky don’t you, Devin?” his mother asked.
“How could he remember me? He was just a baby.”
“You said you loved my gorgeous green eyes and you were pregnant,” Devin said in a matter of fact way.
“Wooow!” said Nicky. “You’re just like Belinda told me.” She motioned towards her daughter. “This is Sheila. I was pregnant with her last time I saw you.”
“We’re making cookies.” Sheila squeaked. “Do you want to help?” She grabbed Devin’s hand and pulled him to the kitchen.
“He should be in a special school or something.”
“I know. I don’t know what to do. He’s way smarter than me. When summer’s over I don’t know if I can keep homeschooling him. I’ve run out of material.”
“I’ve got a computer. Let me do some searching. Maybe he can get a scholarship or something to a private school.”
“Truthfully, I’m scared they’ll take him away.”
“Well, he’s… special. They may think I don’t know how to raise him. If he had different parents he’d probably be even smarter by now.”
“Come on! That’s crazy. You provide for him. He’s not neglected or anything. No one is going to take Devin from you!”
“The only neglectful thing you’re doing is not finding a school that can help him reach his full potential.”
Devin quietly walked in. “Uh… Where is your bathroom?”
Belinda got up and showed him. The ladies were quiet until he came out of the bathroom and ran back outside.
“Have you heard from Kevin?” Nicky asked in a hushed voice.
“No. Just those things I told you about. I’m sure that’s him. Who else would do those things?”
“That is so weird. And it’s been going on since he disappeared? I hate to say it but I always thought he was a bit strange not even counting those big green eyes. But you were so much in love I hated to say anything.”
“I still love him after all these years. I…I just don’t know what happened to him. All sorts of horrible thoughts go through my imagination. Did he commit a crime and he’s running from the law? Does he have another wife? I still feel he is alive but I can’t understand why he doesn’t contact me.”
Belinda sat back. “He is really missing out on a great wife and son,” Nicky stated sadly.