“Kyle, can you try NOT to get detention today? Just once it’d be nice to have lunch together.”
“I don’t get detention EVERY day, mom.”
“Well, every other day isn’t much better. If at least you used the time to actually study, maybe you’d get more than Ds. You know what your dad always used to say: ‘Stay in school…’”
“…or you’ll end up like me. I know, mom.”
“Alright then, off you go.”
As soon as the door lock clicks, Kyle thinks about ways to get detention. “How much longer can I avoid lunch before she finds out? It’s too much right now.” He takes his usual rear end corner seat on the bus, pulls his hoodie over his head and turns up the music.
An hour later, Kyle is busy blasting Craig with spitballs in first period chemistry. “The specific heat capacity of H2O is…OW! Stop it!”
“Stupid nerd,” Kyle thinks with a grin. “That’s what you get for reading the answer off your book under the table.”
Mr. Tanner doesn’t turn around. Still facing the blackboard, his head turns to the right just enough to glance into the room. “What’s up, Craig?”
“Mr. Tanner, Kyle is shooting spitballs at me!” A long “eeeeeeeeeeew” from the class merges with a slight giggle. HER giggle. Kyle sneaks a peek. Yup. Rena got the joke. “She’s so smart. The smartest. I love her. I wonder if she knows I’m not stupid. Or that I exist.”
“KYLE,” Mr. Tanner roars, apparently for the third time. Kyle is caught off guard. “Not today, PLEASE! I’m really not in the mood for this.” Before he can respond, Mr. Tanner is back to the blackboard, noting down the right answer, this time from Rena.
“That was unusually loud. What’s with him today? Why’s he so grumpy? Well, maybe he has one of my days for once. I should leave him alone. Only to mess with his head, of course! I guess I’ll survive lunch with mom.”
Kyle crosses his arms and leans back in his chair.
We all had a Kyle in our class. The kid who just didn’t care. About anything. Or so it seemed to us at the time. Dumb, stupid, lazy. We left Kyle with those labels and filed him away. A lost cause.