Sam grabs the door handle, hesitates for the briefest of moments. He has ridden on a motorcycle at speeds as high as 110 miles per hour, but that wasn't as scary as walking through this door. He pulls the door open and enters, and a wave of sound washes over him. The halls are filled with students, the boys tall and strong-looking, the girls so grown-up. Sam takes two steps into the hallway, and the students turn and stare. His heart races. He wipes the palms of his hands on his pants, but it does no good. Part of him wants to turn and walk out that door, back into the night. But he does not flinch. He looks straight ahead and walks into the school, into noise and laughter and chaos, into the urgency and pain that is all about being fourteen years old and knowing you look different from everyone else.
From Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask by Tom Hallman, Copyright © October 2002, Putnam Pub Group, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc., used by permission.
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