Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outlandish (05/19/11)
TITLE: Deevah's Tragedy
By Theresa Santy
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When God set about forming the wet clump of clay that was to become this child He must have murmured something to the angels like, “This one shall live and breathe and be what is meant by the word drama.”
Vibrant stage voice. Unspeakable jazz hands. Exaggerated hip swing. These gifts were present from the day the child entered this world. Little Deevah used these talents to dramatize every living moment until either the eventual death of the moment, or the birth of a new and more interesting one, and there was always a new and more interesting one coming. As a toddler and while still unable to speak in complete sentences Deevah insisted on wearing a flowing pink tutu, continuously, regardless of setting or time of day or night.
“I dancer,” the child asserted. “I wear tutu!”
The eccentricities of Deevah were adorable for a time. They were a novelty among friends and neighbors, and fantastic entertainment for the holidays. But as Deevah grew taller and more outlandish and less like all the other boys his age, the adorableness faded. While the other boys were batting balls and wrestling and tossing dirt clods at one another, Deevah was dressing for tap lessons.
Deevah’s mother Asha blamed herself. She has confessed this many times out loud, to her friends, to the neighbors, and to her entire family which included only Deevah. It was a miracle the child was born at all but once he was it seemed that the preceding family tragedy had simply vanished. When Asha held her freshly born child she saw an overwhelmingly beautiful creation. He was pure. He was perfect. Asha thought him divine. The original meaning for the name Deevah is something like a celestial spirit and this is the name that came to Asha.
“I knew Deevah was a female name in my country,” Asha often said, “but I could not help myself. It was the perfect name for my baby.”
Deevah was a gifted and talented child. He received high marks, numerous accolades, and always, the lead in any theatrical production. Deevah was kind, thoughtful, and a Good Samaritan. But by the time he reached seventh grade none of that mattered. Deevah’s oddities flourished, and shined, and gloated, and caused a strain upon the others who insisted on reprisal.
The others were unable accept the one who was different. The slender dark-skinned Hindi boy named Deevah, who liked to dance and flit and flick his wrists and oh, that awful neck roll thing he did when he spoke—everything about this boy—rubbed the others raw the way a nail file would rip and tear against the skin of a soft plum. The other boys behaved badly, and ever so cruelly. They lashed out in anger as if indeed their own flesh had been assaulted.
The self-proclaimed normal children, mostly boys though several of the girls had joined in, taunted and abused Deevah without mercy. They labeled Deevah as abnormal, but different was all that he was. Though none of the children had yet seen the exit gate of puberty, all of them established in their own minds Deevah’s direction of development. They decided who Deevah was and what he was to become.
Whatever happened to Deevah remains a mystery. Asha, while appearing to hang by the thinnest thread of patience, having dry red eyes and very little breath, stormed into campus and pulled out her son. She pulled him out of the school and away from the tormenting children. Rumor says Asha and Deevah have moved a great distance away. Rumor is silent however, on how far the mother and son had to flee to become free from their suffering.
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