Myles staggered back from his former coach’s push, then glared past him, towards his former teammates on the Bark Bay High School fencing squad.
“Think you’re safe here?” Butch looked quickly to his right and left, like a man suddenly told he was surrounded by wild dogs. Myles sniffed loudly. “Safe with all your geek friends, playing your geek sport?” Myles was shouting now, his voice bouncing off the tiled floors ad concrete walls of the empty cafeteria. He pointed without looking behind him, in the direction of large metal exit doors. “Think anything you learn here is going to help you out there?”
Myles scoffed, turned, walked two steps, turned back, face redder than before. He pointed down at the floor “This place. How you train here, what you learn in this school, what you or your parents do in this damn town — ” his voice was now a barely audible whisper — “none of it’s going to do you any good. All you’re doing now is just hiding, deluding yourself that you’re going to be ready for what’s out there when your eighteen, and nobody’s legally obligated to take care of you anymore.”
“Myles.” Rex stepped forward, his long legs looping past Coach Dan, his lean right arm extended towards his former teammate. “It’s OK. We can help you.” Coach Dan came up beside him, nodded.
Myles stood upright, frowned as he took Rex’s hand. “Hmmm. Believe me, buddy, I’d like to believe you. Problem is, I know better, and enough to know that your offer is part of the problem.”
Myles raised his hands to his face, wiping the tear stains from his cheeks, then flicked his head towards Coach Dan. “Sorry, coach — ”
“Call me Dan. And call me tomorrow.”
Myles shut his eyes, nodded as a small grin seeped onto his face. He turned again, this time walking quickly, the metal doors of the cafeteria clanking loudly as he exited.