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Timothy loved his brand new bicycle so much he even named it Flash, because it was so bright and shiny and on it he could go so very fast. One day Timothy was riding Flash and he spotted his friend Martin on his bike on the other side of the street. He called out his name but Martin didn’t hear him. So Timothy peddled faster. He knew to stop and look both ways before crossing the street but he was in such a hurry, he just dashed across the street instead. He didn’t see the big truck coming up behind him. The driver of the big truck didn’t see him.

The doctors told Timothy’s parents that he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He thought that sounded like a lot of fun. His friends could push him really fast, and he could ride it like his bike and he didn’t even have to peddle. He soon found out it wasn’t going to be a lot of fun for long. His friends soon got bored with pushing him in his chair and left him all alone. He would sit in the window for hours watching his friends running and playing and doing all the things he couldn’t do anymore. He looked at his picture on the table and then wheeled himself to the mirror and looked at himself now. Timothy started to cry.
His parents bought him presents and toys. But that didn’t fill the need Timothy had to do the things his friends could do. He couldn’t walk to school anymore and he couldn’t ride the bus with his friends. His mother took him to school in a special van that would lift him in his chair and he would roll inside. All the other children stared when he was being lifted out of the van. Then they would run off laughing and squealing into the school. Timothy would roll himself into school behind the other children. But they were always so much farther ahead of him, because they could go so much faster. He had to sit in a special place because his wheelchair was so big and took up so much space. It was always in the back of the room by himself. Even in a room filled with other children, he felt so all alone.
Then one day his parents brought home a little kitten, named Mikey, to be a playmate for Timothy. He would watch Mikey for hours. His little kitten would pounce and jump and lift his pink mouse in the air, then down to the floor and over and over he would roll. Then Mikey spots his ball of yarn and waiting for just the right moment, he attacks. Then he sits staring into space, those big green eyes searching for something. He keeps his ears listening for every sound. Finally, he lies down, tucks his legs up under him, like only cats can do, closes his eyes, and takes one of his many catnaps for the day.
While Mikey is sleeping, Timothy rolls his chair over to the window to visit with his other little friend, Freddie, the squirrel. He opens the window and looks and calls for Freddie. There is always a bag of peanuts on the table by the window. Freddie knows when Timothy calls, he will get a peanut and he comes running. Jumping from one tree to another and one branch to another, the little squirrel races as fast as he can. As Timothy watches and waits for Freddie to get to the window, Martin calls his name from the sidewalk. Martin is his one friend who still comes to visit him. Not as often as he used to, but Timothy understands that he can’t do the things that Martin can do. When they play now, it has to be something they can do sitting down. Timothy smiles and signals for Martin to come on in the house.
The boys smile and do their handshakes and bumps that boys do to greet each other. “Did you see the moving van that went down the street yesterday?” Timothy asks Martin.
“Yeah, a new girl moved in three blocks down. She had something on her legs,” said Martin.
“What do you mean something on her legs?” Timothy asked.
“Metal things. Some kind of braces or something.” Martin said with a confused look on his face. “She walked kind of funny too. I think she might have something wrong with her like…..”
“Like I do?” Timothy asked with sadness in his voice. “Maybe we should go meet her? Do you want to go now?”
“Ok. Sure. Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean….”
“I know. I understand. It’s just the way it is. I just have to get used to it, I guess,” Timothy said.
The two boys stared at each other and then they started laughing, and they laughed until they couldn’t laugh anymore. Then Martin stepped behind Timothy and started pushing his wheelchair for him. He didn’t have to because Timothy could roll it himself. It was electrical. But they were best friends and he’d do anything for his best friend.
They stopped in front of the house that Martin saw the new girl and her family move into. They just stood there staring at the house. Then they looked at each other. Then they looked at the house again. They both saw her at the same time. She was standing in the window looking out at them. Timothy waved at her. She just stared for a minute, and then smiled a big smile and waved back. Timothy and Martin both looked at each other and then they smiled. They shook their heads “yes” and then started towards the front door. They didn’t even knock. They just waited. Soon the little girl opened the door. Timothy and Martin smiled at her and then their eyes drifted down to her legs. The little girl looked at Timothy’s wheelchair, and then she raised her head and said, “Hi, my name is Beth.”
“My name is Timothy.”
“My name is Martin.”
“You’re different than us,” Beth said to Martin.
“I’m different?” he asked.
“Yes, you’re not like me and Timothy. I know we are supposed to be the ones that are different. But I prefer to think that we are special.”
“Special, I like that,” Timothy said. “That’s what we will call ourselves from now on.”
Timothy suddenly felt whole again. Martin finally understood. Each one of them was different, but because of that, each one of them was special. This was just the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the three children. They laughed and talked for hours. Then they agreed they would all meet to go to school together in the morning. Beth went back inside her house, Timothy rolled his chair towards his house, and Martin started running home. All of them had smiles on their faces.
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