The Meaning of Life (part 6)

15 09 2010

“Well, that’s what I thought too, but I did a lot of thinking by myself and I started to wonder if this is how I really want to live my life, in this land that calls itself a “great country to live in”.”  I made hand gestures to indicate the quotations.  Sean laughed out loud and started walking again.  I followed him.  From behind, the sun shone in the direction he was strolling in and it made him look as though he was some sort of angel, blocking out the sun.  I quickly erased the stupid thought and caught up with him.

“So tell me something Jeremy, since you asked all those questions about where I came from, can I ask you some stuff?” he inquired, without even turning to me when he asked.  I had a mixed feeling in my gut when he said this, like I already knew what he was going to ask, but I said yes anyways.

“Are you…” His voice trailed off, leaving me to assume the rest.  I wanted to be honest, but I had just met this guy.  What would happen if he told anyone?  I would surely be executed.  I was just about to answer when I saw a distraction.

“Look, there’s the Box,” I said.  I pointed at a suspended glass case, about 7 feet above the ground.  The Box was the place where all the misbehaving and bad students were put.  If this didn’t seem bad enough, there was more: all the students put in the Box were stripped to their underwear and publicly humiliated in front of the whole school for about an hour.  And if that still wasn’t enough, there was usually more than one person in the Box at a time.  Once, a whole class was put into it because they were not listening to the teacher and were talking back to her.  Fortunately, the school had enough sense in it to take off the top of the Box so that no one would suffocate.  It was unbelievable how far schools went in order to keep students well behaved and disciplined.  And it wasn’t just our school that’s got had Box; all schools throughout America had Boxes put in the schoolyard.

I myself had never been in the Box before but I saw the terror in the kids’ eyes when I pass by it.  There was always somebody in the Box at one time or another.  I thought sometimes the teachers put a random kid in there just to frighten us.  That day, a child, a few years younger than me, was in the box, crying.  A lot of the students put in the Box cried, but only when there weren’t any teachers around.  If they were caught crying, they were left in the Box for a longer period of time.

Meanwhile, Sean gazed at the glass prism.  I explained to him about the purpose of the Box and when I finished he shook his head.

“We don’t have anything like this in Canada,” he said softly.  “Everyone is living freely without all these rules to live up to.”  Then as if sensing how sad his words were, he added, “Man, you should come to Canada!”

I laughed at the joke but on the inside, I actually took it seriously.  Gosh, Canada sounded like such a beautiful place; why couldn’t all of us just move there?  Sean interrupted my dreaming of Canada when he asked if I wanted to come over.  Although my parents would disapprove, I said yes anyways.  This would be my chance to get to know Sean better and see what his life was like but more importantly, be alone with him.

To be continued!



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