Billy the Kid

by Jean Duggan
(Austin, TX USA)

Throughout my childhood my best friend was a kid named Billy. Billy was a fat kid who always watched when we played baseball. Never played. Just watched. Same thing with bike races. Always just watched. Always a tag along member of our group whose only real friend was me. Until one day the other guys began teasing him and daring him to ride his bike to the top of the hill. All of us lived up the street at the top of the hill and Billy would always walk his bike while we rode up.

I don't know why, but that day Billy grabbed his bike and set off with a vengeance to tackle the hill. I hopped on my bike and set off with him, trying to give moral support and cheering him on. The other kids ran behind us and got into the mood, cheering and shouting words of encouragement.

At first, Billy made great progress. But about halfway up he began to tire. I watched his chest and big belly heaving under his red and white striped jersey. His face turned beet red and was soaked with sweat and his bike began to wobble as he struggled to pedal. But he never gave up and dug deep down inside himself to find a strength I don't think he ever knew he had. And he made it! All the way to the top!

It was his moment of glory as all of the kids cheered and clapped him on the back. Billy's red, sweaty face beamed as he basked in the glow of acceptance. He had taken a chance and had made it. He had arrived. He was one of the guys.

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