Jack Mitchell wasn’t like other 11-year-old boys. Not at all. Well, when I say not like other boys, I don’t mean he had seven fingers, or three heads. Nothing like that. No. What I meant was that he wasn’t into the normal things boys, or in fact, girls, at his school were. There was no obsession with PlayStation versus Xbox, or having discussions over who would win a fight between Hulk or Ironman, (which would obviously be the Hulk, because, well, he’s the Hulk of course. Duh)! There was no Tik-tok, Snapchat or Instagram. He didn’t rush home every night to click the remote on and settle down in front of Disney+ or Netflix, whilst his mum cooked his tea. He wasn’t the slightest bit interested in having a mobile phone or playing on his mum’s iPad, and he never brought any friends home to play. This was always a cause for concern with his mum, who would always whine at him. You need to find some friends, Jack. It’s unhealthy what you’re doing. He won’t be around forever you know. If anything, this made Jack even more determined to carry on with what he was doing.
Jack was one of the smallest boys in his year and liked to keep himself to himself. His scruffy, wavy blonde hair always hung over his hazel-green eyes, which was useful in avoiding eye contact with anyone walking past. His olive complexion gave him a slight Mediterranean look, which infuriated his mum, what with her pale white skin. In the summer she’d try her hardest to get a good tan, but this invariably led to her turning pink for a day or so, before returning to her normal pasty colour. His dad was completely different. A week in the sun and he’d be walking around like a bronzed Adonis, which irritated his mum even more. Jack’s grandad used to joke that if his dad gave his mum a shoulder-ride they’d look like a pint of Guinness.
Jack was extremely shy. He didn’t mix with others unless he had to. He’d keep his head low and ensure his eyes remained hidden from nosey onlookers, or the boys who were always keen to make up the numbers for football. He was never asked to play if they had enough, only if they were short; his small skinny frame wasn’t built for football. He liked to watch it on TV, but only with his grandad, who would always do a silly running commentary and give the players weird names depending on what they looked like, which made Jack laugh.