Benji is running from the memory of Roy and what he did, and trying to keep himself from self-destructing.
I’m nothing to them—just a series of words to define me, so they can think they know me, can ignore me or jeer at me or treat me like they treat the other outsiders. They say I’m strange or weird or broken. They’d be happier if I was broken, because trash is best left out by the side of the road, where they can all ignore it. So I stay with the others who are like me—outsiders who no longer care that they don’t fit in.
They say I’m not normal—and I say they’re right. I don’t talk normal, dress normal, wear my hair normal. And I don’t do it for attention. I don’t want their attention. I just want to blend in so the demons won’t come inside and hurt me any longer.
So I stay with the outsiders, the freaks. And I run from the memory of Roy and his anger and his fists and his demands—“Get me a drink.” “Fix me something to eat.” “Pull your pants down, boy. All the way down.” And I run from the feeling, the knowing that I am nothing, I am what people scrape off their shoes with a curse. And until I get away from the demons inside me, I will never be anything more. I have to get away – I have to escape.
This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart