I never really stood apart from these kids. You'd see me invited to most of the fun, even sometimes clumsily joining in in freestyle rapping (followed by a silence, a tap on the shoulder and a quiet 'It's okay, bro...'). However never in my life have I ever committed a hurtful crime. I never stole anything, never delved into racketteering, also because frankly I never had the corpulence for it. I also retained from my parents some annoying moral fiber I never really managed to shake off. In the Home, until I was fourteen I was known as that loud-mouth bony dude.
Of course, like in many closed areas, small groups began to form. The best example of that would be the Arabs, who liked to stick to themselves and speak arab between them (there was also a distinction called ber-ber which would occasionally get you a high-five). The other big example would be the potheads, or so I thought until one day I discovered that compared to other adult people, the word 'pothead' to describe them was severely exaggerated. I guess like everywhere else, when a kid takes a spliff he immediately thinks of himself as a pot smoker. But on to the story, I don't want to create a debate.
The potheads were actually just a bunch of kids sharing a spliff a little more often that others. These kids would meet some time at a friend's room (one of the luxuries of the Home was we had rooms as opposed to those horrible hallway dormitories I'd see in movies), form a circle that would eventually escalade the desk and bunk beds, and pass a joint. When looking out your window you could always spot where were the potheads, you just had to follow the smoke puffing out of their window.
One day, one of my friends Roberto walked up behind me, put his arm around my shoulder and whispered 'at 5 we're going to join the potheads at Marianne's room, just you and me though so don't tell the others'. First off, the first thing I did was mumble 'nothing' when the other kids pressed us to say what he whispered. Then I got slightly nervous. Less than smoking marijuana than spending time with some of the cool older kids (at that age, being one year older meant everything in the whole wide world).
Apparently it was the potheads that had asked us to join, identifying us as filling some sort of smoking weed criteria. I always thought it was because we were less troublesome than other kids, but yet without being socially awkward like goths. The surveillants didn't pay attention to us.
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