Who Are You
Ben fumed with frustration and helplessness, feeling his fists ball up like a reflex, clenching his teeth and looking down at the floor as Tommy unleashed a torrent of insults, a monologue of dehumanizing vitriol, and then it stopped; in less-than-an-instant there was a depth of suffocating silence Ben had never experienced, absolute silence, not even a static wave of ambient noise. He looked up and the scene around him was frozen; Tommy, his classmates, time had ceased for all but him. When time began again, they were in each others’ shoes; Tommy felt Ben’s insecurity and loneliness, his confusion at why he was picked on, his desire to be invisible. And Ben felt Tommy’s contempt, his anger at this smartass, who thought he was better than everyone and refused to fit in with the other kids. Again the silence came, but this time both Ben and Tommy were unaffected, and they stared at one another with new understanding.