First grade. The playground. From what he had been told by the TV at home, this was the only good part of school. He wasn't bound to agree (school was actually pretty interesting to the six year old Ben's mind), but he did believe that this was the best part of it. It was exciting, to him. He was currently on the playground set, and was waiting in line on the flying fox. He loved moving on the thing, but waiting in line for it was boring. In all reality it only tool a couple of seconds to wait but in Ben's mind it was so long and it seemed to be a centrillion (that was a 1 with 303 zeroes, ben had learned that in math class) times longer than the time that he was on the thing. He moved around on the spot. If he moved out of his spot his place in the line was fair game, but he was so bored and he needed something to do, so he decided that moving on the spot was fine, so he did that.
Soon, it became his turn. Once he was at the front of the line, and the person riding it previously jumped off, he bolted. Jumping up, he grabbed the handle swinging and moved forwards. It was like he was actually a bat! Well, a flying fox; but they were basically both the same animal so he was going to call both "bats". It actually felt like he was flying for a bit, going through the air like a bird, no, a plane! He wanted to be able to fly, at one point. He wanted to just grow wings and jump up and soar through the sky; it'd mean that he didn't have to wait in line on the flying fox. Sure, it was never going to happen, but don't tell Ben Fields that, because he was just stubbornly going to turn you that he could and he will when he felt like it.
But sadly, as all things did, the ride came to an end. The flying fox impacted against the other side, and he dropped down, ready to join the other part of the line, but then he saw something at the corner of his eye that made him stop.
He saw another student in his grade holding someone in the kindergarten year by the cuff, pushing him against a wall.
That was not cool.
He, trying to puff himself up and look menacing, stomped his way to the scene. When he was there, he pushed the bully's arm, making him drop the kid.
"Hey, you. Stop that!" He tried lowering his voice a little, showing off his southern accent more. He was going to be a hero among the schoolpeople and he was going to look and sound badass during it. He imagined himself with sunglasses, having them fall onto his head as the bad guys exploded around him.
The bully looked at him, and stood up to his full height. He was about a foot taller than Ben, and he was grinding his fists together.
"Make me." The bully shoved Ben back, causing Ben to nearly fall over. He got his footing, and stood tall though.
"Okay, I will." People started to see what was happening, and started forming a semicircle around them. Ben shoved the bully back, causing him to have to take a step back.
"Hmph," the bully sneered. He raised his fist, and sent it towards Ben.
And Ben blocked it, pushing his hand between the both of them. Ben moved his other hand in time to the other punch, locking them between each other.
It was literally a pushfight. The bully, physically stronger than Ben, should have been able to defeat him easily; but Ben wasn't giving up, and he put all of his musclepower into keeping it even. He looked around.
He saw that the bullied boy wasn't there anymore.
And at that moment, Ben moved his head forward, hitting the bully in the chin. He reeled back, clutching his chin in pain. Ben, before any of the teachers came and saw what he had done, ran off, laughing his ass off.
He heard cheering coming from where the crowd was, he was a hero, the badass that this playground needed.
He was Benjamin Fields, six years old.
And everything was fine.
A couple years had passed after that. Ben was now at home. It had been a long day at school, and there really wasnt anything else Ben wanted to do right now other than just sit down and watch TV. Normally today would be a day when Dad would take him out to Diamondback to get some cookies and cream ice cream, but he couldnt today, apparently he had to do something for work. That sucked. Today was boring and having ice cream at the end of it would have saved it from being boring. Oh well, at least he didnt have any homework. Hed just watch TV until dinner was ready and then hed have a bath and then hed watch a little more TV and then hed go to bed.
And that was what he was going to do.
He had just gotten home now, and he was doing the things he normally had to do before he could do anything else at home. He had locked the door behind him, he had made his bed, and he had gotten his lunchbox out of his bag and he was putting it on the kitchen table. Then he could watch TV. He wasnt quite sure what was on but he was sure that itd be pretty good.
And when he placed the lunchbox on the kitchen box, he noticed something.
He saw his dad, watching TV.
He was bald.
D-dad! Ben jumped back a little. Dads afro was gone. He knew that his dad was proud of his afro, and to see him bald was a sudden surprise.
Oh, hey, Ben. He didnt seem all that different from usual, greeting him as per usual. He didnt even seem to notice that all his hair was gone.
Oh, this? Bens dad lifted a hand up towards the top of his head, stroking the spot where his hair once was. It seemed a little unsettling, him doing it without any hair being there. I had to get a haircut for work. Something about new safety regulations for something.
Youre bald. Ben couldnt believe this. All of his life he knew that his dad had an afro. Now he didnt. He knew that this was going to be hard to get used to.
John breathed out. Yeah
he moved his hand and rubbed his forehead. He sighed, breathing out. Im going to miss it.
Cheering came up from the TV. It seemed to be a football match. Dad watched a lot of TV nowadays. Sometimes hed just spend the entire day watching TV while Ben was in the backyard practicing his swing. It felt.. odd. His dad used to normally be in the backyard with him, bowling. Now he didnt. Things had changed, for some reason.
Why are you suddenly
different? Ben had to ask, it had happened for a few months now.
John tensed up a bit, then relaxed. Its nothing, dont worry. Just a couple of changes I have to go through.
There was a pause. The two just looked at each other for a bit. Then John spoke up again.
Wait, was today supposed to be an ice cream day?
Ben kinda jumped back a little at this. Today was an ice cream day. It was kind of an odd thing to suddenly remember, but Ben nodded. He was correct.
I dont think your mom will mind if we go out to get it now. He stopped talking, trying to look for the smile that appeared. He found it, although it was a little small. It was there, though. Were going to have to take your sister along, though. Deal?
And then they both went out to Diamondback, picking up Lana along the way. They had ice-cream, with John asking them how both their days went. They all saw a person at the counter with a ridiculous accent and laughed at him under their breaths. They made bald jokes about their dad. They laughed, sharing time together as a family. Later, they went home, and Ben and his dad watched cartoons together. The day had gone out roughly as Ben had thought would happen, with a small interruption for ice-cream, but it wasnt like that was a bad thing.
He was Ben Fields, eight years old.
And everything was fine.