Saturday, April 11, 2009

Excerpt "Torn from Normal" by Martin Bartloff

Aftermath partII (Andy is 12 years old here)

* * * * *

It sounded like a good idea at first when his mom enrolled him in a local soccer team.
“It will be good for you being around other boys your age.” Her eyes flew over the sign-up sheet. “You can’t spend the rest of your life playing video games in your room hon.” She flipped the page, reading glasses at the tip of her nose. Andy knew the truth though.
She wants me out of the house to work more hours.
“And it will help you move on.” She mumbled.

Willing to try Andy gave in. “I’ll go, but I’m not staying if I don’t like it.”
“You can invite Jason, maybe he would like to watch you play sometime, or who knows, he might want to enroll with you.” Andy rolled his eyes; he knew that would be a waste of time. Jason skipped gym class every week and bragged about it. “The Mitchell’s can’t afford it and Jason has a girlfriend now.”

By the time he took the field, his stomach hurt from dreading this moment for two whole days. His mom got the best cleats and his jersey was bright white. The guys wouldn't give him a hard time for looking like a reject from a second hand store at least. The coach stuck him in midfield, probably, Andy thought, because he didn't rate good enough to play fullback and he was too slow to guard the goal. That was the story of his life though, wasn't it? Never good enough to get a pat on the back, and never bad enough to have the cool factor of a rebel. Just a total geekwad.

After four weeks the cleats along with Andy’s ambition showed first signs of wear.
Everyone else had a parent come to their games or pick them up after practice. “Why can’t you stick around just this once to watch me play?” Andy squinted retrieving the gym-bag from behind the seat.
“Andy, please don’t be difficult, we’ve been through this before. I have to work the extra hours.” She checked her watch, in a hurry to get going. “And who’s gonna pick me up after practice?”
“Well how’s all the boys get home, I’m sure I’m not the only mother with a job?”
“All the other boys have dads.” He shoved the door hard, letting her have it. He wasn’t gonna look back he thought as she sped away.

When practice ended Andy stood alone discarded like an empty milk bottle.
Watching as fathers joked with their sons hurt him so bad, but he didn’t tell anyone. Instead, he hurried to start the long walk home alone to avoid seeing all those families together. Gym-bag around his shoulder, he hurried to the other side of the street. Not wanting his cleats get ruined he chose the grass by the curb for his way home.

Vans and cars with team mates inside zipped by, no one looked or waived at him. The last one slowed down, the brake lights invited him, he squeezed the gym-bag tight and sprinted in the street thinking he got a ride; instead the van crossed a speed bump and continued on down the road. Somebody had to see him he thought sucking up the embarrassment and watching the pavement change color as rain turned to hail. Only once did he get a ride home. It was pouring down rain and the coach took pity on him.

Back to Teen-Seen:


  1. What a heartbreak! This scene should resonate with every kid who's ever been put aside, shuffled off, or benevolently neglected. Can't wait to read the rest of it.

  2. Martin,
    Enjoyed the post. Should appeal to teenagers - such a difficult time of life. It amazes me that everyone writes so much more than I do when I blog. I admire that. I always start, then end up closing like I would a note to a friend. I need to work on that. Thanks. -marlis

  3. dude.


  4. Poor Andy! This sounds like it's going to be a great book! Can't wait to read more!


  5. Martin, I'm here late but glad I made it. What a heart-wrenching scene. Very realistic and human. Great writing, friend. Keep us up to date! I felt his pain...


  6. I love it. I instantly thought of a million differetn directions this could go, so that makes it even better! I am very inetrested. Keep us posted, I need this book.

  7. hallo Martin!
    ich weiss nicht ob du mich noch kennst.ich war mal mit Oliver Fellendorf und Dirk bei dir.meine Eltern leben in Va Beach.ich hoffe es geht dir gut.naja was für eine frage nachdem ich deine seiten gelesen habe, ist die frage überflüssig.
    Gruss Chris

  8. This book is perfect I never thought to read a terrific work, I hope can find more books and articles like those, I think that's amazing.

  9. Great
    loved it, will be waiting for your future posts
    Thank you for sharing

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