by Tamara Anna Pawlak
Photo by Axel Eres/Unsplash
Threw doughnuts at him they did. And dumped soup on his head. "Eat Ted! Eat!" They would yell...
His name was Ted.
Dead Ted they called him because he was so gaunt and pale. Nobody knew his liver was sick and that it made him sallow. And that the parasites in his gut made his stomach ache whenever he ate. So he hardly ate at all. Slender like the tail of a rat was Ted. Dead Ted.
And oh, how they laughed and laughed and laughed. Threw doughnuts at him they did. And dumped soup on his head. "Eat Ted! Eat!" They would yell. And Ted cried because he wished he could, but he knew that if he did, there'd be hell to pay. An hour in the bathroom, at least. Waiting for the food in his stomach to pass.
But he got thinner he did, did Dead Ted. And the laughing stopped. And there wasn’t any more food thrown, instead, when people saw him they hurried past. They whispered. They looked away quickly so their eyes wouldn’t meet with his. His skinny as a rat’s tail body wasn’t so funny anymore. His boney cheeks, that revealed the skull beneath his skin, his eye-balls swallowed deep in their eye holes, his long frog-like fingers, his pale skin turning green—like three-week-old chicken noodle soup. He tried to say “Hello," he did. Tried to share his thermos filled with tea, he did. But they shuddered at his breath. Turned away. Said nothing—as though he didn’t exist.
And one day they found him. They found Ted, dead.
And not because he was so skinny,
Nor because he was so green,
But because of a broken heart,
Broken by those people who had been so mean.
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