by Feather Ives
Sidley World is the story of a young boy who discovers that, through his dreams, he can change his world.
RJ had no friends and spent most of his time reading and writing stories. Jared Littlehead was RJ’s personal bully. Jared Littlehead didn’t do very well in school, and he wasn’t a very good communicator.
One day Jared confronted RJ regarding some school work he wanted RJ to do for him. This wasn’t the first time.
“Hey, RJ! You need to write another paper for me.”
“You need me to do another paper? Uhm, this is becoming a bit cumbersome. I have my own homework and now I have yours.”
“Cumbersome? Cumbersome? You dummy! You’re calling me a vegetable?”
Jared Littlehead burst out laughing as he pushed RJ to the ground knocking his glasses off and his books out of his hand.
“You better get my paper done! It’s a biography on some dude named George Washington. It’s due by Friday. That gives you three days! THREE DAYS! And bring me some more of those chocolate chip cookies I like. TOMORROW! Do you hear me?”
“But, my mother only makes them on Thursdays.”
“Well, you better get to beggin’ her to make them tonight because if you don’t have them tomorrow, you’re gonna pay! You hear me?”
Before RJ could answer, Jared Littlehead skated off.
“Yeah. I hear ya.”
RJ rose to his feet. He straightened up his shirt and went on to class. He hated being punked by Jared Littlehead, but he didn’t feel there was anything he could do about it. He didn’t want to tell his mom. She was working fifty hours a week as a nurse, and was always stressed. He just wished this trouble would all go away.
When RJ got home that evening, he found a note from his mother. It read:
Sorry, I won’t be home till ten. Dinner is in the refrigerator. I love you very much. Mom.
RJ knew he couldn’t ask her to bake the cookies when she got home that night. She’d be too tired. He didn’t want to get beat up by Jared Littlehead, so he wondered if he remembered the recipe. He gathered all the ingredients, or what he guessed were the ingredients. From memory, he began measuring the ingredients one-by-one. These were memories he didn’t even know he had. He mixed the ingredients in a bowl. One would think RJ had been baking these cookies for years he was doing it so well. He formed little balls of dough, and placed them on the cookie sheets two inches apart. He set the oven to 400 degrees, and 12 minutes later he had home-baked chocolate chip cookies. He tasted one, and they were as good as his mother’s.
Now RJ had to focus on the easy part, writing the biography of George Washington. He remembered he had his own math work due tomorrow so he did that instead. The paper on the first President of the United States would be easy. After finishing his math homework, RJ remembered that he wouldn’t see his mother in the morning, so he wrote her a note.
I hope you didn’t work too hard tonight. I missed you. I did all my homework. And I got an A on my rocket science report. I baked your favorite cookies, and I left them out for you. I will be asleep by the time you get home. I love you very much. RJ.
RJ put himself to sleep like he had done many nights before. And like many nights before, he fell asleep without a care in the world.
The next morning RJ went to school without any worries. He had baked the best batch of cookies ever, and had easily started the biography of George Washington. RJ’s confidence was riding high. Although he stood a foot shorter than Jared Littlehead, he felt a foot taller today. Jared Littlehead appeared just in time to knock him down a peg.
“Did you bring my cookies?”
“I sure did.” RJ extended his arm holding a brown bag filled with chocolate chip cookies.
Jared Littlehead snatched the bag out of RJ’s hand, ripped it opened, reached his claw into the bag, grabbed a cooked and shoved it whole into his mouth. Jared Littlehead’s face lit up with how good the cookies were. Still chewing a cookie, Jared Littlehead snatched RJ by the collar. “And my paper BETTER be done by Friday.”
RJ’s confidence was instantly shattered, and he was back to feeling small again. He smiled, though, when he thought about his mom reading his note and enjoying the cookies when she got home.
That afternoon, when RJ got home, his mother was dressed in her uniform. She was clearly going back to work, and had prepared an early supper that she wanted to enjoy with RJ. RJ wasn’t feeling his best that afternoon.
“Your cookies were very good sweetie, and such a pleasant surprise.”
“Thanks, Mom. I’m glad you liked them.”
“I didn’t know you knew the recipe so well.”
“I didn’t either, but I really wanted those cookies.”
“Well, you did good. I made your favorite dinner.”
“Sweetie, are you ok? You seem a little down.”
“I’m fine, Mom. Just got a lot of homework.”
“Well, thank goodness you’re mommy’s little genius. You won’t have any problems with your homework. You ready for dinner with me?”
“Sure. Let me put my bag down and wash up.”
RJ wasn’t really hungry, but he wanted to please his overworked, under happy mother. They enjoyed a nice dinner together.
“I’m trying to get a schedule change so I’m not gone as much.”
“I’ll be there six months pretty soon, and that will make it easier for me to request certain schedules. I do miss you.”
“I miss you too, Mom, but I understand.”
“Ok, honey. I want you to pick a very special place you want to go Saturday. It’s my day off, and I want to treat you for being such a good and understanding kid.”
Mom went to work that evening, and RJ went to work on the autobiography of George Washington. He finished the first draft, his math homework, his book report and began another science project. Friday came, and that morning RJ delivered the completed biography.
“Aren’t you going to read it first?” he asked Jared Littlehead.
Snatching RJ by the collar, Jared Littlehead threatened, “If I don’t get an A, you’re gonna be sorry.”
RJ knew Jared Littlehead would get an A. He just wanted the bullying to stop. RJ just wanted Jared Littlehead to go away. He truly wanted Jared Littlehead to turn to dust and get blown away by a Midwest tornado. But RJ knew that wasn’t going to happen. He also knew he wasn’t ever going to be strong enough to fight Jared Littlehead, so he continued to do his work. Jared Littlehead did get an A on the George Washington paper. And, for the next few months, much to RJ’s dismay, Jared Littlehead continued to get As on his papers. RJ continued wishing that Jared Littlehead would turn to dust.
RJ didn’t believe in magic, but he’d once heard that if you wished for something hard enough, it could very well come true. RJ didn’t think it could hurt, so he gave it try. He wished for this every single night, and sometimes during the day. And to RJ’s disappointment, Jared Littlehead continued to show up at school everyday. Most days he had a new assignment for RJ. RJ just told himself that he was smart enough for the two of them.
RJ’s mom continued to work long hours, even past the six months. There wasn’t anything she could do about it. One night, after RJ completed his and Jared Littlehead’s homework he felt horribly tired. His mother had gotten home from work earlier than usual, so he asked her if she would read him a story while he fell asleep. He had asked her to stop reading to him four years ago when he turned 9 because he felt he was getting to be too old. However, lately he really missed her reading to him. Since he was feeling more down than usual, he figured this might help. So his mother read him a story, and he fell fast asleep. Only this night’s sleep was the beginning of big things to come.
“Wake up!” a voice whispered in the dark. RJ did not move.
RJ awoke to steady thumping on his shoulder.
“No silly. It’s not your mother. But, don’t be afraid. I’m not here to hurt you.”
“Turn on the light, so I can see you.”
“No! No! No!” cried the voice in the dark. “No lights. You’ll wake the boy. Just follow me. I promise you‘ll be safe.”
RJ didn’t have anything better to do, so he trusted the voice and rose from bed.
“Where are your–”
“Shhh! We need to be silent or we’ll wake the boy asleep in the bed!”
This confused RJ because he was the boy asleep in the bed.
“Ok, now, close your eyes.” RJ did as he was told.
“Ok, now, count backward from 100. I’ll see you on the other side.”
RJ, again, was alone in the dark. Only now he was standing counting backward from 100 wondering what and who was waiting for him on the other side.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.