One Word Writing

A piece of writing from one of our Middle School students hinging on one word. Can you guess which word it is?

A little boy always sat alone. Not wishing, not wanting. The other kids at school constantly teased him, because he never spoke. He gazed off into the meadows and forests and valleys. Time passed; first grade, third grade, tenth grade. The boy tolerated and ignored their jostling and prodding. Finally, one day, the he just stopped. He stopped looking at meadows and forests and valleys. He stopped listening to birdcalls and the wind. He stopped. He tried to act like the others. He spent every day playing a part. He now sat with company, but he was more alone than ever. Time passed; high school, college, adulthood. The grayed man sat by his window, wishing, wanting, reading obituaries of the people who had once teased him. A leaf fluttered on the wind outside, blowing onto his lap through the open window. He studied it delicately, noticing how paper thin it was, just like him. Then he stopped. He stopped pretending, and he stopped fooling the world. He listened and saw and felt and heard. An old man sat alone. Not wishing, not wanting. -E