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The Boy Made of Chalk

Sai was made of chalk. He dragged little powdery lines on the floor as he walked.

Every morning as he washed his face, the mirror reflected it dissolving in front of his eyes. When he opens his mouth to speak, the dryness overwhelms him, so he lives unspoken.

He sits down to complete his schoolwork, he blinks his soft eyelashes and writes, slowly

wearing down his fingers to the bone. When he is finished, like always, there's less of him left. No one else seems to notice that every day Sai becomes smaller and smaller. Wearing away with each passing day.


As Sai waits every evening for the bus to take him home he watches the others. Little boys and girls crushed against each other’s soft flesh in the too-small vehicle. Their wet mouths are loud and grating on his ears.


Sai wishes he could remember what it had felt like to be made of flesh and blood. It's a vain wish, made by a worn-out little boy, he knows this.

The others stare holes through him, they whisper to each other about the strange boy. Sai knows this. He pulls his perennial sweater closer around him and tries to occupy less space. He feels the noise within his crumbling bones, and wonders if he’ll finally break. To his disappointment, the end doesn't come that soon


Every night at nine, Sai eats dinner with his parents. They ask him so many questions in silence. He feels them running their disappointed eyes over his fine-grained self.

Sai knows they never wanted a boy made of chalk for a son.

He swallows down whatever is on the table. When he’s sure they’ve gone to sleep he dusts it out of himself and flushes it down the toilet.

As he walks out of the bathroom at night his eyes are carefully trained on the floor, away from the mirror hung on the wall, he knows that if he meets his reflection he’ll shatter into a million pieces.


Sai carries himself carefully. He bundles up in layers regardless of weather, he hates the thought of others seeing his chalky, diminishing, body. He walks in slow deliberate lines, with hands tucked at his sides, careful to never brush against anyone and get powder marks on them.


He hides his chipped nails inside his pockets in class, his shaking legs move them around and he can hear them hitting each other inside of his trousers. The sound of chalk clinking against each other calms him down.


His lips look like they’ve been mauled by a wild animal’s teeth. Lines run through it and fresh cracks find their way home every morning.

Pain racks his small frame throughout the day.

The fear of possibilities chips away at him throughout the night.

He wonders how much longer he can drag on. How much longer others around him will tolerate his loud, scratchy existence.


Everything Sai touches he defaces, and everything that touches Sai, destroys him.

So, he lives untouching and untouched, lying in wait to weather away until he’s down to the last grain.

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