The Lost Boy

The Lost Boy, 4.

Jamie sat on the dock with his knees pulled up to his chest. It wasn’t exactly a fetal position, but it was close enough. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

He was staring at his left arm, which was covered with small cuts. Most were scabbed over, but a few had turned a nasty shade of green and continued to ooze. They were infected. He didn’t need to be a doctor to figure that out. Pulling down his sweatshirt sleeve, he looked out across the water, at the family playing together on the other side. Granted, it was too far away to see perfectly, but Jamie was still able to tell that they were having fun. His family used to be like that. They used to have fun together. He closed his eyes, remembering…

“Watch me daddy, watch me,’ squealed a six year old Jamie as he raced across the frozen lake after the hockey puck. “Are you watching?”

“Of course I am,” laughed John, raising the video camera to his face, “You’ve got your first game tomorrow, kid, and I want to make sure this thing works.”

“Daddy, watch this.” Jamie glided over to the goal posts, took aim, and slammed the puck right into the net. “I did it, daddy, daddy, I did it!”

The boy had talent, there was no use in denying that fact. Just like Alan. God, he could be great. But Samantha doesn’t want him to know his real dad played hockey. Jeez. Real dad. Why am I so stuck on that? He forced a smile, “That’s right, kiddo, you did it.”

An oddly wet feeling on his arm brought Jamie back. He had been absentmindedly picking the scabs on his arm and they were bleeding again. His sweatshirt was staining red. Red. St. Dominic colors. New devils colors. Where had that come from? He wasn’t a devil anymore. He had quit playing last year, after the accident. After… after everything was different.

Making his way to the bathroom for fresh wrappings, Jamie reflected on the day’s events. Nothing happened much anymore, at least not to him, but today had been different. Today had been insane.

A note had been left for him in homeroom that morning. From Coach O’dell. Jamie almost laughed out loud. A note for him? From Coach O’dell? He hadn’t been to see his former coach in months, not since he left the team. What would he want with him?

“The Junior Division Metropolitan League. You’re good, Daniels. You always were. Principal Charleston is willing to give you another chance. So am I. The question is, are you?” O’dell had that way of speaking to you terms of black and white. There was no inbetween.

“The Metropolitan league,” Jamie echoed. It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. The metro league only accepted exceptional hockey players. They were the elite, no one was better. What on earth would they want with him?

“What would they want with me?”

O’dell held a business card out to Jamie. On it was an address and telephone number. He took it. “I’ve already given them your name. Tryouts are on Saturday morning. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. But they have your name down in case you do show up.”

Jamie reached into the medicine cabinet and took out a pair of baby scissors. The kind his other used to cut his bangs with when he was little. Back when..

A thin line of blood now traced the underside of his wrist. It tingled a little bit, and at the same time it was numbing. He pressed a dingy washcloth to the cut, and then to some older ones.

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