by Richard Norway

It's no wonder that the night was cold and overcast; it went along with the state of my mind. I had climbed the hill for most of the afternoon, and the closer I got to the top, the more my mood matched the sky. I knew what I was doing. I'd made this decision months ago. The kids at school had tormented me for a long time and, eventually, their teasing, derision and hatred were why I'd made up my mind.

Tonight, I was going to be free of them. Tonight, I was going to be happy. Tonight, I was going to fall and end it all.

When I reached the top, I could see the moonlight casting its glow on the ocean below. It was beautiful, and I wasn't afraid.

"Want some help," a voice said beside me.

It scared me for a moment because I thought I was alone.

I turned to see who was talking to me and saw a boy about my age, 16 years old.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," he said.

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm here to be with you."

I shook my head, trying to figure out what was going on.

"I don't know you," I said to him.

"Yes, you do. My name's Tommy."

"That's my name too," I said.

"I know."

"What's going on here?"

He looked over the edge and smiled.

"You picked a great place, you know. I've always enjoyed the sound of the surf crashing far below. It makes me feel strong."

"Who are you?"

"I'm you, at least the you, you used to be. Tommy, I'm that little voice in your head that eggs you on or makes you cringe back."

"So, you're me?


"You know what I'm thinking by being up here then, don't you?"


"If I talk to you, will you answer me?"

"Of course. That's my job."

I looked at him for a moment, my curiosity building.

"Are you going to tell me what to do?"

"No, of course not. That's your job. Let me ask you a couple of questions. That should make your job easier."

"Okay," I said.

"What do you feel about yourself right now?"

"You should know how I feel right now."

"No, you need to answer me."

"I feel like shit, if you must know."

"Do you know why?"

"Because I'm worthless. Everyone says so."

"Do you think they're always right?

"No. Not everyone's always right."

"So, some of them are wrong then?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Tell me about school. How have your grades been?"

"They're in the toilet right now."

"That wasn't always so, was it?"


"What'd you get last semester?"

I had to think back.

"I got all A's."

"Yes, you did. What does that tell you about yourself?"

"It tells me that I could do it."

"Tell me about your folks. What do they think of you?"

"I guess they love me."

"Why do you think that?"

"Because they do anything, they can for me. Dad was a scoutmaster of the troop I belonged to, Dad and I played catch football every weekend, Mom always had a snack for me when I got home from school every day."

"What else, Tommy?"

My eyes were glassing over now.

"It's because they always told me that they loved me," I cried out.

I sat down on the rocks and folded my knees to my chest. My other Tommy sat down beside me.

"How does Timmy feel about you?"

"Timmy's my best friend. I know he likes me."

"No, Tommy. Tell me what he said to you night before last. You two were getting ready to go to bed for a sleepover."

I looked at him, thinking of Timmy. I couldn't help it, and my eyes burst into tears.

"He said he loves me," I cried out.

"So far, you've told me about a few people that think you're worth something, right?"

I looked at him setting next to me. He appeared blurry through my tears.

"Lots of kids have been harassing you at school, haven't they?"

"Yeah, they have."

"What'd you do about it?"

"Nothing. I usually just walked away."

"Shouldn't you have done something else?"

"I suppose I should have reported them."

"Yeah, you should have. Those kids won't stop. Do you know why?"

"It's because they're intolerant of anyone that's different from them."

"Precisely. They think they're winners, but you now know what they are, right?"

"Yeah. They're losers."

"What do you think about them now?"

"To tell you the truth, I pity them. They're never going to grow up knowing what they can learn from our diversity."

"Are you happy, Tommy?"

"Much more than I was this morning. I'm glad you're around because you make me answer the right questions. Sometimes I wish you'd shut up, but, in the long run, I'm glad you're here."

"What do you want to do Tommy?"

"Get off this rock and get back to the people that love me."

I stood and tried to embrace him, but he wasn't there.

"I'll always be with you, Tommy," that little voice in my head said.

The End

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