Young David is frantically washing dishes together he hears his mother’s footsteps approaching. He problems that he will not complete the dishes prior to he have to leave because that school; if he takes as well long, his mommy will not offer him any kind of breakfast. She beginning the room and also hits the in the...

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Young David is frantically washing dishes as he hears his mother’s footsteps approaching. He concerns that he will not complete the dishes prior to he should leave because that school; if the takes too long, his mother will not provide him any kind of breakfast. She beginning the room and also hits him in the face, knocking him come the floor. David knows that he should pretend to be scared and hurt, or his mother’s behavior will become more severe. In the past, she has punished him because that what she referred to as being “defiant”—that is, for not reacting to she abuse. Since he is really hungry, David is cautious to plot frightened in order come pacify his mother; even so, he issues that she will again pick not to feeding him. Mother believes his act, and also he is grateful that “I i can not use let she take away my will certainly to somehow survive.”

David completes his chores and also quickly eats his breakfast, i beg your pardon is leftover grain from his brother’s breakfast. The knows that if he no eat quickly enough, mother might readjust her mind about allowing him to eat. He reflects on the past, once he has had actually to eat the end of the garbage deserve to to get enough food.

Mother cd driver David to school, cautioning him not to call the truth about his bruises. David notes that she provided to be beautiful, but now her eyes space red, she has a hangover, her challenge is makeup-free, and also she is overweight. David claims that her “frazzled” figure is “Mother’s typical look” now.

Since he is so late to school, David reports to the office: that is greeted by the secretary and the nurse, who examines him. She assures David that he will be fine as he removes his clothing, which is filled through holes from daily wear. She looks in ~ the clues on his body and face, asks that questions, and also records details on a paper. David states that the is accustomed come examinations in ~ school, which have been happening end the past year. The nurse points to an old scar ~ above his stomach and asks David to confirm if that is where his mother stabbed him. That does check this information however instantly feeling guilty and also afraid. The nurse hugs him, and also he is so comforted that he does not want to protect against hugging her.

The principal, Mr. Hansen, and two teachers, miss out on Woods and also Mr. Ziegler, get in the office. Mr. Hansen is visibly upset and also shouts that he’s “had sufficient of this,” prompting David to fear that his mommy will be called. Shower in terror, that begs Mr. Hansen not to tell his mother. Mr. Hansen assures David and sends him come class, where he is ostracized by the other children and the substitute teacher. David describes that the is no longer a an excellent student since he “gave up on everything in mine life,” such as escaping his troubles through schoolwork. He notes from the teacher’s reaction that she is no accustomed to the smell of a kid who attract the same garments every day. David states his seat is alongside an open home window at the back of the classroom since no one desires to be near him.

Before he can complete his test, David is summoned ago to the office, where he find Mr. Hansen with number of teachers, the nurse, and also a police officer. David fears he is in trouble for thefts food, i beg your pardon he has actually done in the past. However, Officer blacksmith assures David that he is there for a various reason: he desires to know exactly how David’s mom treats him. David is terrified that too many human being know his horrible mystery and the his mother will punishment him because that speaking that it. As soon as the nurse expose his scar, David blurts out, “it was an accident.” He speak the officer that mother did not purposely stab him and also explains the she merely punishes him because she thinks he is a negative boy.

David note the adults’ expression of concern. Miss out on Woods hugs him and leaves, crying. Mr. Hansen gives him food, which that hastily eats. Officer smith asks for his resolve and phone call number, which problems David. The sees a team of teachers having lunch and also feels humiliated the they know the truth around Mother:

It is so vital for them to know that I’m no a bad boy. I desire so much to it is in liked, to it is in loved.

The teachers say good-bye come David, and he walks the end of college with the police officer.

Outside, the other kids watch David leave, and some shout after him, “David’s busted.” Officer smith reassures David that whatever is all right, and they journey away indigenous the school. David remembers what Mr. Zeigler said him: the he will tell the various other students the genuine truth. David is comforted the everyone will lastly know and also wishes he might be there when they find he’s no really a negative child.

When David and also Officer blacksmith arrive in ~ the police station, David is fear to exit the car because that thinks mommy will be inside the precinct. Officer Smith leader him inside and also begins to fill out a report. As soon as he asks David again because that his telephone number, David pleads come go back to school so that Office smith won’t contact Mother. David nervously city hall the officer dial the phone and tell David’s mommy that he is currently in the custody the the san Mateo youth Department and will no be returning home.

David leaves the station with Officer Smith, and also as lock drive out of the city, he sees a sign:

THE most BEAUTIFUL HIGHWAY IN THE WORLD.

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The officer seems relieved as he says, “David Pelzer, she free.” David asks if he is going to jail. Officer smith assures him that his mother will not hurt that anymore.Understanding finally sets in, and a tear runs under David’s cheek. “I’m free?” the asks incredulously.