The boy jerked about and then made a sound that I will never forget for as long as I live. It was the sound like a whale makes when it has been harpooned1
and knows that it is about to die. I fired all four of my arrows at the two bullies2
as they ran away laughing about what they had done.
I pulled the boy up off the ground and helped him back to his house which was about two blocks down the street from the school building. When we reached his home his sister told me that her brother was deaf but that he was not dumb like the two bullies said. That he was very smart but could not say or hear anything. I told her that he did make a sound when the bully3
kicked him in the back. She told me that I must be mistaken because all her brother's vocal4
cords had been removed during an experimental surgery, which had failed.
The boy made one of those hand signs at me as I was about to leave. I asked his sister "if your brother is so smart then why is he doing things like that with his hands?" She told me that he was saying that he loved me with his hands. I didn't say anything back to her at all because I didn't believe her. People can't talk with their hands and everybody knows that. People can only talk with their mouth.
Almost every Sunday for the next year or two I could see the boy through the chain-link fence as we ate watermelon outside behind the dining room, during the summer time. He always made that same funny hand sign at me and I would just wave back at him, not knowing what else to do.
On my very last day in the orphanage5
I was being chased by the police. They told me that I was being sent off to the Florida School for Boys Reform School, at Marianna so I ran to get away from them. They chased me around the dining room building several times and finally I made a dash for the chain-link fence and tried to climb over in order to escape. I saw the deaf boy sitting there on his porch just looking at me as they pulled me down from the fence and handcuffed me. The boy, now about twelve jumped up and ran across San Diego Road, placed his fingers through the chain-link fence and just stood there looking at us.