You will come to know me as Storm, though my parents called me Sherwin. M (yes, I call him M – read Children of Little Might to discover why) decided Storm fitted me better because… Well, I’m in a wheelchair.
I still remember the first time I M. It took forever to get in his graces, but if you follow the series, you already know about that (see: https://peterandthedragon.home.blog/2021/08/10/ne-vriend-a-friend-23-days-till-publication-of-children-of-little-might/).
If you ask me why I wanted to befriend M and why I didn’t stop until I got through to him, then my answer is simple.
As I said before, I am in a wheelchair. He was the only one who’s first question wasn’t: what happened to you? He wasn’t interested to hear that I never possessed the power to walk and that, at any rate, I think that capability is highly overrated.
Back then I didn’t know he had autism. Most students in class called him weird on their good days and believed him to be a menace on their worst. But I saw nothing wrong. Even now, after he explained me what autism was all about, I see nothing wrong.
Instead, I discovered a boy with humor and kindness and loyalty. I also met someone who barely showed the pain and insecurity he felt when his fellow students attacked him. Sometimes he didn’t understand why, and the moments he did understand…
He was waiting for me the day he broke Mark’s arm. He shouldn’t have, but between us, I’m surprised it lasted even thisd long before it happened. Mark had it coming. M’s mother said it before: it was karma. But I never told him that.
Yes. He’s my friend. My best friend, and not because I don’t have others. He’s my best friend because he never looks down on people. Not even me (and I’m sitting in a chair while he’s erect). In fact, I think he looks up to me precisely because I’m in a wheelchair. At least my handicap can be seen. For him, that makes an entire world of differences.
The funniest moment in Children of Little Might, for me personally, is when M returns to the classroom after he got burned by our very own school principal for breaking Mark’s arm. He sees I’m in my place, probably wondering why he didn’t come to ride to school with me. So, instead of coming to me, he turns to his biggest enemy Mark and tries to put his signature on Mark’s plaster. No doubt his mother told him to make up. This is what happened…
Certain he expels me from school before the end of the day, I go to my classroom. Mark, already seated, gloats when I enter, as if he knows what Royal told me. Storm sits a few rows behind him. Not yet willing to face him to explain why I didn’t come this morning, and still dazed with Royal’s demands, I take out my pen and turn to Mark. His plastered arm carries so many names I decide to add mine as my formal apology. I hope it persuades his parents not to ask Royal to expel me, but before I get the chance, Mark retracts his arm.
My hand freezes in midair. The pen shudders as I try to figure out which choice is the best. Retract it? Or continue and sign it, no matter what? Mom wanted me to apologize. I’m sure she told Mark’s parents, who told him, unless they had planned to railroad my effort from the start.
“Montaqu wants to stab me!”
He points at my pen, which I drop as if it’s too hot. He used the qu. Again. If he thinks I will still apologize, he is in for a big surprise. With lips pressed together, I snag my pen and swing away, to find my path blocked by a red-faced and overweight teacher.