I'm Ben. 21 and from Peterborough/Reading, UK.
Zoology student, pessimist, misanthrope, reclusive genius.
I like animals, coffee and reading books.
Welcome to my mind.
I’m talking with a boy. He’s at that age when the edges of the man he will become are just starting to press against his baby-round face. He’s got his first opinions and ideas and jokes, which are horrible, because there is nothing that boys his age love more than corny jokes. There is a whole industry of knock-knock-joke books for boys this age. Everything about him is gangly; his voice and his limbs fit awkwardly, like hand-me-downs. He’s young enough that his smile is easy, and he is the kind of boy who finds reasons to smile in everything: the cracking of his voice, a fire-engine siren, the fact that a grown-up is talking to him and listening to what he says. When I talk with kids like this, our conversations always seem to go the same way:
“So you’re telling me these are all the books published last year for kids?” they ask me. “That’s a lot of books. That’s more books than I could read in a year.”
There was something missing. I saw that these characters, these lives, were not mine.
“Yep, it’s a few thousand.”
“And in all of those thousands of books, I’m just not in them?”
“Are there books about talking animals?”
“And crazy magical futures?”
“And superpowers? And the olden days when people dressed funny? And all the combinations of those things? Like talking animals with superpowers in magical futures … but no me?”
“Because you’re brown.””