We've got some not-so-lucky kids in our class. One of them is a bit slow, if you know what I mean. He has to get help with his schoolwork (writing mainly), and his Mum always comes to pick him up from school because he wanders.
And there's a girl who had something happen to her when she was little. I think she was run over, or hit by a car. Anyway, three of her fingers are missing from her left hand. It doesn't seem to bother her though.
And then there is Pimple-face.
His real name is Roderick Webber, and he is about my age, fourteen. He hardly ever comes to school because he is always sick with something, and when he is at school, he looks like he shouldn't have been.
He started first term this year, went a whole week, and then missed school until the last two and a half weeks of that term. When he came back his face was blotchy, like the blood wasn't getting through all over. He seemed happy enough though.
In the second term he didn't come until halfway through. He lasted three weeks that time. Amazing! We joked about it with him, me and my other friend, Bones.
"This must be some kind of record!" I laughed.
"I'd say!" agreed Bones.
"Do you think you can manage four weeks?"
"I doubt it," said Rod. "This is the longest spell of health I've had this year. It probably won't last much longer!"
And he was right. The next week he was home again.
Rod was the shortest kid in the class. He had black hair, which went downwards from the top of his head to his ears, and chubby cheeks. And lots of freckles. His hands were like bunches of sausages. And he had rings, on every finger.
Some of the kids in my class made fun of Rod. They called him Pimple-face. They called him other names too, but this was their favorite. Because it hurt his feelings. You could see it hurt him, in the back of his eyes, but he never said anything or got angry.
One afternoon, Bones and I were mucking around, kicking a rolled up bit of paper on our driveway.
"Ever seen his house?" Bones asked.