I remember him like it was yesterday, sitting there on that bus. I had to admire his spunk. He knew he was the laughing stock of the group, but he just stared out the window and pretended he didn’t notice. He must have been lonely. I don’t ever remember him having a friend. “Rodney-the-Toad.” I first came across Rodney when he was in tenth grade. He was smaller than the other students and quite stout. He wore thick glasses to correct his poor vision and he was quite unkempt. An avid reader, on his lunch break he liked to sit cross-legged on the floor engrossed in the weirdest, most obscure SciFi he could get his hands on. He did give the impression of being toad like. Thus, the nickname. He spoke with a pronounced lisp, but always with great authority and animation. Yep – Rodney was a walking target for humiliation. It didn’t seem to bother him, though. He was truly eccentric and seemed above it all – that is, until puberty hit him – with a vengeance. A late bloomer, I think he was probably in grade eleven when we took the band and choir on tour to the national festival. We chartered a Greyhound, and aside from the fact that no one would sit close to him, everything went fine until the end of the tour when it was time to go home. It was a hot day in June. While the chaperones stood at the side of the bus counting those entering, students holding their noses started exiting the bus in droves. I looked up, and there on the bus sat its lone passenger. Rodney’s B.O. problem had become quite a topic of increasing discussion…..
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- Written by: Joyce Storey