When I Was Thirteen I Found Out I Was Immortal

The day before, I was given detention for putting glue on a friend’s chair. I had arrived in class before everyone else and saw a tube of epoxy glue had been left from the previous lesson. I don’t know what came over me, but I had an overwhelming urge to smear it over Dave’s chair. Thinking it would be hilarious to see him try to get up at the end of class.

I wasn’t a trouble maker, which is why Mrs Parker was all the more disappointed when I saw her after I turned around. My grin swiftly fell away and a panic set in. I had never been given detention before.

She shook her head as she sat down in front of her desk and pulled out the pink notebook that signalled my punishment. She filled it out, ripped it off the pad with some disgust and handed it over.

“I expect better from you,” she said, “make sure your parents sign this and give it to me tomorrow.”

Sheepishly I folded it up and placed it in my pocket.

My heart thumped as I walked home. I played the scenario over in my head. It wasn’t that my parents would have been mad, they weren’t strict. They would have been disappointed and given me the silent treatment. I always found it was worse to be ignored than shouted at.

When I arrived home I pretended nothing was wrong. I sat and had dinner. They asked how my day was and I lied and said it was fine. I waited until my dad was in front of the TV and my mother began washing up, before I slipped into my father’s study.

Frantically I searched through his paperwork, looking for something with his signature. I found a cheque that he had ready to send to the window cleaner. I practised a few times before writing it one last time on the pink paper.

When I left, my dad was still in front of the TV and my mother was still in the kitchen. I gave out a large sigh of relief and went up to my room.


I left early the next day, not wanting to be around my parents after doing something that was so out of character. When I arrived at school, I made a beeline to Mrs Parker’s office and handed her the paper.

She peered me up and down and I gave back my most innocent look.

After a few moments she said, “Thank you. It doesn’t give me any pleasure in doing this.”

“I know,” I replied, “I’m really sorry. I don’t know why I did it.”

“I believe you,” she continued, “but that doesn’t get you out of it.”

I nodded.

“I’ll see you in room 3C at 3:15pm.”

I left, a weight lifted off my shoulders, although I felt I had betrayed my parents and the teacher.


3:15pm rolled around and I entered the classroom. I was there with the dregs of the school. One of the older tutors sat reading a book, ignoring the ruckus that continued within his domain.

“What are you doing here?” Peter asked.

“I put glue on Dave’s chair.”

“Whoa, fucking vandal we have here,” he cracked, while his friend laughed.

“I thought you were a good boy,” Jason said, joining in the intimidation.

I sat at my desk and took out my workbook to begin writing the lines that were displayed on the board.

“He is,” Peter slapped my book away.

“Quiet down,” the tutor announced, not looking up from his novel.

“Hey,” I said, picking up my stuff.

“You know we aren’t going to let you do that, right?” Peter giggled.

A dread filled me. I peered at the tutor for guidance, though he just leafed through his book oblivious to the bullying taking place in front of him.

I sat still as the two of them flicked through my notebook, periodically making fun of my handwriting and perfect grades that decorated it. They began ripping pages out, all the while laughing. I stared at the clock, the second hand laboured forward slower than I ever noticed before.

The bell rang.

“How about we walk home together?” Peter offered.

I knew a trap when I heard one.

“Sure,” I said, pretending I didn’t hear the menacing tone he portrayed.

“Give me five minutes,” I delayed, “I need to get my coat.”

Leaving my bag in the room, I left. I turned and viewed the two hideous examples of teenagers through the safety glass, seeing them rummage through my bag.

I ran out of the school and through the fields, taking the long way home. I knew that they’d not expect me to go this way. I walked down the railway tracks that led straight to my house, stumbling over the sleepers as I trudged along. I heard a train from behind and looked. Its lights were bright against the winter sunset. I broke into a jog to run the final hundred feet or so before I would arrive at the platform and could take the short walk back to the house.

There were only a few yards to go when my ankle gave way and I fell to the floor. The train’s horn rang out and I panicked. I tried to get to my feet but my trousers were caught in the rails. I stood up and pulled, they wouldn’t budge. I fumbled with my belt to remove my clothes, but in my panic I couldn’t. I heaved with all my effort to rip the fabric and release my foot. It didn’t.

The next few moments were a slideshow. The train increased in size until it was only inches away. I closed my eyes and went limp.


I woke with a start, seeing my dad in his wheelchair next to the bed. I gasped.

“Son, you’re okay,” he said.

A bald man in a black coat stood behind him, his hand resting on my dad’s shoulder. I gazed into his eyes as they looked back through the small round spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose. An odour of rot filled the room.

“I know what happened,” my dad said, “Why didn’t you tell us about the detention?”

“I didn’t want to disappoint you,” I replied, confused as to how I wasn’t in pain.

My dad turned and nodded to the man, who left the room.

He rolled himself towards me and leaned over.

“You have to be more careful,” he whispered, “it could have been a lot worse.”

I shifted myself to a sitting position.

“Am I injured?” I asked.

He shook his head, “You were lucky this time.”

“I was going to be bullied,” I said, “I couldn’t walk home the normal way, they’d have followed me.”

“Son, you have a gift, don’t abuse it.”

I didn’t know what he meant.

“Don’t tell you mother what happened,” my dad said, wheeling himself out of the room.

“Breakfast!” she shouted from the kitchen.

I pulled back the covers. I sighed with relief to see I was uninjured.

I ate my breakfast with a renewed vigour. I was not punished for the detention and I wasn’t given the silent treatment. My cornflakes that morning were the nicest I’d ever had.

I arrived at school with a skip in my step and concentrated harder than I ever had in my first class. When I left, I saw Mrs Parker waiting at the door.

“Have you got something for me,” she asked, holding out her hand.

“No?” I said confused.

“The detention slip,” she sounded annoyed.

“That was yesterday.”

“No, yesterday was when you put the glue on the chair. Do I need to call your parents?”

I panicked and plunged my hand into my pocket. I was shocked when I pulled out the pink slip.

She grabbed it and looked me up and down as she examined it.

“Good,” she said, “I really should still call your parents, though. You were supposed to give me that this morning.”

“I’m sorry,” I said bemused at to what was happening.

“I’ll see you in 3C at 3:15pm.”

I spent lunch on my own. I took out my notepad and wrote in it, hoping it would save me from being bullied later in the day. I put it away and joined my friends for the last twenty minutes of recess.


3:15pm rolled around and I entered the classroom. I was there with the dregs of the school. One of the older tutors sat reading a book, ignoring the ruckus that continued within his domain.

“What are you doing here?” Peter asked.

“Fuck off,” I said.

“Language!” the tutor grumbled.

“I thought you were a good boy,” Jason said, joining in the intimidation.

I sat at my desk, took out my workbook and stared at it.

“He is,” Peter said, slapping my book away.

“You guys are pricks,” I said, picking up my stuff.

“He has a backbone,” Peter giggled.

“What the fuck is this?” Jason said, as he paged through my notebook.

Peter will ask what I am doing here. Jason will say that I am a good boy. I will sit down and try to write my lines and Peter will push my notebook to the floor.” he quoted.

“Are you some sort of freak!” he shouted, pushing me.

“Quiet down,” the tutor said, not looking up from his novel.

“We are going to follow you home tonight,” Jason threatened, “and we are going to fuck you up.”

It wasn’t going to plan. I was hoping they’d get scared and leave me alone.

When the bell rang, I ran from class. They didn’t expect it. By the time I had left school grounds and reached the fields, they were searching for me outside the main doors.

“Over here!” I shouted.

They turned, seeing me run through the fields. I reached the train tracks, and walked backwards, waiting for them to appear. I grinned when they did. I slowly continued to walk, knowing a train would approach.

“Come and get me!” I offered.

They ran at me at speed. I saw the train, its lights were bright against the winter sunset. I ran, hearing them holler after me. I grinned, forgetting to jump off the track.

There were only a few yards to go when my ankle gave way and I fell to the floor. The train’s horn rang out and I panicked. I tried to get to my feet but my trousers were caught in the rails. I stood up and pulled, they wouldn’t budge.

“Shit!” I said to myself, “I’m stuck!”

“Help him!” Jason said from behind.

Peter caught up with me.

“It’ll be okay,” he said, grabbing at the fabric that clung to a large nail.

“The train’s almost here,” Jason said, as he revealed a pocket knife.

“Quickly!” Peter said, as Jason sawed at my trouser leg.

The next few moments were a slideshow. The train increased in size until it was only inches away. I closed my eyes and felt a push in my back.


I woke with a start, seeing my dad in his wheelchair next to the bed. I gasped.

“Son, you’re okay,” he said.

A bald man in a white coat stood behind him, his hand resting on my dad’s shoulder. I gazed into his eyes as they looked back through the small round spectacles perched on the bridge of his nose. An odour of disinfectant filled the room.

“I know what happened,” my dad said, “I’m sorry.”

“Where am I?” I asked.

“You’re in the hospital.”

I shifted myself to a sitting position.

“Am I injured?” I asked.

He shook his head, “You weren’t lucky this time.”

“What’s happened?”

“You’ve lost your legs.”

I screamed.

He rolled himself towards me and leaned over.

“You have to be more careful,” he whispered, “it could have been a lot worse. Your friends are dead.”

“Son, you have a gift, don’t abuse it.”


I’m 35 now and I haven’t used my gift in 22 years. I’ve memorised the lottery numbers from today and I am trying to work out the best way to kill myself. It has to be guaranteed. I’ve already lost my legs, I cannot afford to lose anything else. I think I’m going to jump from the roof of my apartment block, though no-one so far will help me get there. I’ve explained everything to my neighbour, that I can kill myself and repeat the day, just like Groundhog Day, though they don’t believe me. What’s the use of having a gift if you can’t use it.

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