It started when he put the last cardboard box of books onto the stack in the basement, their colorful covers sealed up in brown packing tape. His shoulder itched. When he scratched it, the cloth and skin peeled away like wrapping paper. It stung a little. He walked upstairs, peeling off acne and uncombed hair, ancient jeans and ragged sneakers.
His new friends were waiting for him outside, white teeth sparkling and pleated pants freshly ironed. They waved, and he waved back. Something clung to his heel, and he kicked it away with a moue of disgust. He stepped out.