Quiet and to herself, she walks home from school alone. Alone --a familiar feeling. Friendless, she quickens herself, her feet whizzing quickly over the pavement. Her fears become reality when she lifts her head to hear the bullies laughter and cruel remarks. She pauses, sheds a tear and keeps on walking. Quicker still, she makes her way home. She approaches the door to the house, raises her voice and says, "Mom? Dad...I'm home". She is greeted by her overly cheerful Father and led into the house. "How was your day at school sweetheart?" With her gaze hung low she says, "I don't want to talk about it". She slowly drops her things, and heads down the old stained hallway of the cockroach ridden apartment, only to find her Mother asleep with a beer in her hand and a broken cigarette butt clutched loosly in the other.
PS: That girl was me.
(Pre-lude to a book I'm writing about my life story)
The story continues...
A day had passed, autumn leaves were falling and if you listened closely you could hear the delicate pitter patter of rain droplets slowly embracing the colorful leaves covering the ground. My ears are delighted by the sound of this gentle storm as I slowly put on my school clothes for another long day. I quickly devour a bowl of cereal for breakfast and yet, my stomach still feels neglected. With little energy I press on, I struggle to pick up my backpack full of heavy books that to me, feel more like bowling balls. I lazily swipe it over my shoulder, grab my coat and head out the door.
"Dad?". "What sweetheart?" "Why do all my friends pick on me at school?" Turning off the static filled jazz music coming roughly out of the speakers of the bright red GMC we barrel down the road as he says, "Look at your hands." "What?" "Go on, do it- look at your hands." "Okay..." "Count how many fingers you have." Hesitantly, I lift each finger one by one and count. "One...Two...Three...Four...Five...Six...Seven...Eight...Nine...Ten. Ten. I have ten fingers why? I don't get it." There was a sparkle in my Dad's eyes while the corner of his mouth lifted a little, giving off a half smile, he confidently yet quietly makes his point, "It is better to have 1 good finger than 10 you cannot use. It is also better to have 1 GOOD friend than it is to have 10 "good" friends. If people are teasing you, than they aren't really your friends. Find one GOOD, true friend Tina, and you find a good thing. For it is better to have one genuinely, truly good friend, than to have many so called "friends" who just want to pick on you and put you down." "Thanks Dad." I said, with a sheepish smile, it lingers as we come to a stop and arrive at the school.
"Bye Dad", "Bye bye sweetheart, have a good day at school". "Okay." "Remember what I said". "I will Dad, bye, I love you". "Love you Rosie". My hand then gripped the cold, shiny silver handle of the van door and I made my way out. Shutting the door beside me I look through the foggy window, giving my Dad a quick smile and one last wave before having to face the day. As he drives off into the crisp cold air it is almost as if I feel like I left a part of me in that vehicle behind. I didn't know what it was exactly. Perhaps, it was confidence? Confidence I felt I had when I was around my Dad and his emphatic encouragement. I begin to turn around and walk towards my fears striving to have that which I felt I left behind in the vehicle that day. With every feeble step, I felt farther and farther away from "it".