The Boy In The Hat

Sometimes I see people and I know I have to write them down on paper somewhere. You were one of those people from the first time I saw you, but I couldn’t find the words to write you out until now.

You see, I often thought I hated you, but still I empathized with you; the dark grey boy in a superhero hat, smoking like a chimney by the brick building, matching the weather with your bitter mood. You never looked happy out there, or inside, or anywhere.

You always waited until the last second to get out of your car, to light up your smoke, to enter the doors. You stood on the sidewalk with your back turned to the rest of us, to protect yourself, I think.

I had this thought that maybe you wouldn’t smoke if people would talk to you, instead of about you.

I wondered if you’d be less mean if you weren’t stuck playing defence; but the whispers started as soon as you walked in, and I understood why you’d raise your voice to silence them.

You weren’t as bad as everyone said.

Just a declawed kitten with a lion’s roar, and a soft heart with an electric fence around its core.