Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The following is based on a true story
as told to me by Benji's sister:

Part One

Benji wasn’t like most kids his age. For starters, his mama was a gypsy. That meant he got teased. And not just a little, a lot. Then, his daddy was an artist. That wouldn’t normally be so bad but his daddy was the messy kind, the kind that got paint all over himself, even in his hair and on his face and then when he did, he didn’t wash it off but went outside, sometimes even to the grocery store. Benji tried not to bring attention to himself, he liked to be invisible. But sometimes, with parents like his, it just wasn’t an option.

Benji had big eyes and a gently round face, two things he thought quite normal about himself. He actually even liked to look at himself in the mirror if he just focused on his eyes and the shape of his face. It was when he looked down, toward his arms and then his hands that he stopped liking what he saw. Benjamin Francis Smart had the most elegantly sculpted fingers the world had ever seen. His grandfather used to say they were made for creating beauty.

Every day after school Benji liked most to go to his grandfather’s house. He had to walk through a forest, down a hill, and around a pond to get there and he didn’t have to pass any of the houses where his school mates lived. Benji thought that was perfect. He liked to walk in silence. Once he got there, Luther, his grandfather’s black lab, always came out to greet him. Benji loved to rub Luther behind the ears. His grandfather said it was because everyone needs to love and be loved. Benji thought he might be right.

The years went by pretty fast for Benji. He never had many friends but he had his grandfather and Luther and as far as he was concerned, they were the best friends anyone could ever hope for. And even though his mama and daddy were a bit different than most, he loved them dearly, too. Benji was a pretty happy kid. One day, however, as it always happens in stories and in life, everything changed.