Introducing Tobias

TobiasTobias is small for his age, with dark hair and blue eyes that seem to look right through you.  He has always been very quiet; he didn’t start talking to anyone at all until he was nearly five, and it was a couple of years after that before he would talk to anyone outside his immediate family (mother, father and his big sister, his father’s daughter from his first marriage).   Because of this some people still treat him as though he has learning difficulties, when in fact he could read fluently by the age of three and outperform every child in his class if he felt like showing what he could do (which wasn’t very often).

When Tobias reaches the stage of changing school and meets up with the others, at the age of 11, he is still very quiet, far preferring to sit and listen rather than talk, but when he does talk everyone tends to listen, because what he says makes a lot of sense and betrays a wisdom far beyond his age.  He is brilliant at maths, and when he puts his mind to it he can communicate brilliantly in writing as well.  Once his telepathic powers develop he becomes quite chatty, but only to the others.  He still has very little to say outside the group – if asked, he would say that there’s nothing worth saying.

His special power is to fade into the background so that no-one notices him – to all intents and purposes he is invisible.  He can also bend time around himself and a small group close to him – time outside their bubble will move faster or slower.

Chapter – Tobias

It was the first day of school for Tobias, and I was almost as nervous as he appeared not to be.  He just stood, holding his mother’s hand, and watched the children in the playground shouting and screaming as they rushed around, intent on some unknown goal.  She pushed him forward gently, but he refused to let go.  In the end, his mother went with him into the classroom.  The teacher came towards her, uncertainly.  “ I’m sorry, but we don’t usually encourage parents to come in, I’m afraid.”

Her mother ignored this.  Good for her, I thought.  At least this one was willing to stand up for her child.  “This is Tobias.”

Understanding dawned on the teacher’s face.  “Oh, of course.”  She crouched down so as to be closer to Tobias.  “Hi, Tobias.”  She waited for an answer, but of course none was forthcoming.  Tobias had never spoken a word.  I knew he was capable of it, of course.  I’m sure that deep down he knew he was capable of speaking.  But somehow he had never wanted it enough.  I remembered the short time I had had care of the babies.  Tobias had always been silent, putting up with all the hassles from the other babies without so much as a murmur of protest, while all the time I could feel him from the inside, longing to join in but never quite daring.  I have a soft spot for Tobias, I must admit.

Tobias just stared at the teacher, showing no response.  “And he’s had two years at play-school, is that right?” she went on, looking up at Tobias’s mother, who nodded.

“He seemed to enjoy it there, and they said he was quite clever, but he never spoke.”  The sadness was evident in her voice.   She doted on Tobias, I knew, but somehow still felt disappointed in him.  Everyone else’s child was chatting away, while Tobias remained silent and still, always observing, and never participating.  She was sure that inside it all there was a piercing mind, just waiting to spring into action.  But the longer she waited to see that mind, the more she began to doubt that it existed.  Still she clung to her illusion, and pushed Tobias towards the book corner.

The teacher smiled reassuringly at her.  “ I’m sure he’ll settle in just fine,” she said.  “And maybe tomorrow he’ll be able to come in on his own?”  She made it sound like a question, but Tobias’s mother realised that it was actually a request.  She had broken the rules by bringing her son in, and as she turned to leave she fought the impulse to run to the corner, pick him up and rush out again with him snuggled safely against her breast, protected from all the nasty world had to threaten him.  But she forced herself to smile cheerfully and walk out without looking over her shoulder to where she knew her son would be sitting surrounded by books, one open on the floor in front of him, his finger moving along the words, looking for all the world as if he could actually understand what they said.

And Mrs Neal was left gazing down at this child, wondering how she was going to cope with such a difficult child along with the other twenty nine children who were new to school life that morning.  I had no such fears.  I knew what was going on in Tobias’s head, and I knew that once he had fulfilled his potential there would be no stopping him.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Really great! 🙂

    Keep at it honey xx

    Reply

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