All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
They’re gang members. I can hear their taunts and catcalls as I walk down the littered street. My mother’s words echo in my mind. Keep your head down, and shoulders hunched at all times. And never, under any circumstances draw attention to yourself.
As I continue down the lamplit street, I can hear the leader of the gang taunt another member. I know he means for me to hear, because his voice is purposely raised. Shuddering, I pull my wallet into my coat, and clutch my money to my chest. I know I can’t afford to lose this money, so I discreetly enclose my hands around the envelope.
Too late. A hand wraps around my purse, attempting to pull it off my shoulder, but the thief doesn’t put much energy into it, for I can easily twist out of his grip. However, my momentum causes me to trip off balance, and I fall in a very disgraceful heap. In self defense I curl up into a ball. Gang members usually lose interest in their victims if they don’t resist.
“Are you going to get up, or just lay there all night?” The voice is masculine, but strangely gentle. I shakily pull myself up off the ground, and turn to face my attacker’s face - or at least where I think it is.
“Here’s your books, you dropped them when you fell.” Once again, his voice isn’t angry or intimidating.
“Um…can you give them to me please?” I hate myself for how weak I sound, but I’m not about to embarrass myself again.
“Uh, sure. Here you go.” His confusion is obvious, but I don’t give him any information he could use against me. Suspicion is still forefront in my mind.
As the familiar weight of my books is placed into my hands, I feel a little more comfortable.
“Who were those guys?”, I ask.
The boy pauses before answering.
“Just some people I know.”
“Did they tell you to steal my purse?” My voice is now hardened with anger. If this boy had successfully stolen my money...I push the thought out of my mind, and wait for an answer.
“Yeah”, the boy’s voice is lowered as if he’s embarrassed. He lowers his voice even further, so that I can barely catch what he says next.
“We all have to do, what we have to do.”
Despite myself, I can feel my head bobbing up and down in agreement.
“You have a place around here?”
I know I shouldn’t answer, but I also know I’m screwed if I don’t have an escort home. My sense of direction got all mixed up when I fell.
“Yeah, it’s on Conger.” I can almost feel the boy’s surprise when he hears where I live.
“What are you doing in a place like this then?”, he almost scoffs.
“None of your business, that’s for sure.” What I can not tell him, is that my father doesn’t allow me to leave the house, so I sneak out through the city’s back alleys - like this one.
When I don’t make a move to leave, the boy stares at me.
“Do you need something?”, he asks.
“I need you to walk me home please.” I say confidently. And then with hesitation, “I’m blind.”
Instinctively, I brace myself for the boy to laugh, or simply to snatch my purse away, but instead, he takes my hand in his, and starts to lead me home. The relief I feel is so intense, that all my suspicion abruptly leaves me.
As we continue to walk, the familiar smell of my house wafts over me. From what I can tell, fried potatoes, and parmesan chicken was served for dinner. I feel my heart start to sink again when I realize that I have for sure missed Cook’s meal. In response, my stomach growls softly.
When we arrive at the entrance of my house, I stop. The sound of adults arguing can be heard coming from inside. Facing my parents right now, is the last thing I want to do, but I steel myself and walk stiffly through the double doors.
I get about three unsure steps into my house, before remembering the boy. I feel bad for abandoning him on my doorstep, but at the same time, if I invited him in, I would be willingly introducing him to Hell.
After a good five minutes of debating with myself, I finally turn around and swing the door open.
No response. The only sound that reaches my ears is the rustle of the wind in the trees.
After a few seconds of waiting, I slowly turn to walk back into my house. A part of me wishes that the boy had stayed. Due to my disability, no person my age has ever acted kindly towards me. Much less, walked me home. So when the boy offered to, even after I had told him I was blind, it was nothing short of a miracle.
However, before I have even set my hands on the door handle, something stops me short. The air seems to have shifted and warmed. My suspicions are confirmed when a voice breaks the silence.
“Were you going to invite me inside or something?” He sounds almost bored, so I simply nod in acknowledgement.
Without further hesitation, I quietly open the front door, gesturing for the boy to follow. Strangely, as we walk down the marble hallway, the boy’s feet make no sound. I briefly contemplate it, but quickly come to the conclusion that he’s obviously not wearing dress shoes like my father. Those make a lot of noise.
Navigating by touch and smell, I take a final turn into the dining room. I assume the boy is following behind me. Much to my surprise, the presence of people is heavy and commanding. So they’re not done with dinner.
The first person to talk is Father.
I’m not surprised.
“Would you like to explain to your worried mother and I exactly where you were?” His voice is dangerously soft.
I can feel myself treading in unfamiliar territory, so instead of answering, I bow my head in the respectable way a young woman is supposed to. Surprisingly, the boy doesn’t make a sound.
The tension in the room seems to build as I proceed to sit down at the table, and I only hope that the boy was able to sit down too. I sigh in relief when I hear a chair being dragged out.
After an uncomfortable silence, my father decides to speak again.
“Your mother and I have been talking, and we believe it is for the best if you don’t go to school anymore.”
I reel back in shock. It feels like I’ve been plunged into the deepest part of the sea without a life jacket. “What?”
“People talk Zira, and our neighbors have been verbally expressing their discomfort. Of course, we already know it is improper to send a girl to school. In fact, your mother was the only reason, I turned a blind eye.” He pauses before going on. “It is also rather shameful to my reputation when people realize that I am allowing a blind girl to attend the academy.” My father’s voice clips short as he emphasizes the word “blind”.
In a rush, I angrily push out of my seat and carelessly run to my room. By the time I’ve shut my door, tears are coursing down my face.
The harsh reality of my predicament seems to have fallen on me, and now I’m in danger of being crushed.
Quickly, I wipe my tears away, and open my bag. It miraculously stayed on my shoulder despite the events of the evening.
The only thing that makes me feel better, is the envelope with the money I earned. I rummage through my bag, to get to the bottom where I stashed it, sorting through fake IDs, keys, and a few stale pieces of candy.
My blood runs cold.
The only thing my fingers touch, is the bottom of my velvet bag - the empty bottom.
No, no, no, no. I can’t have lost it. My mind rushes through all of the possible places it could have fallen out, but the same thought keeps returning time and time again.
The boy. I had completely forgotten about him. I should have known it was to quiet at dinner. I should have noticed when I couldn’t hear his footsteps behind me in the hall.
He had stolen my money. It was as plain and simple as that.
Fifteen years of saving, and working night shifts, just to have my last chance at escape to be cruelly snatched from me. There was no way now that I could go to college. All of my dreams seem to dissipate as if they were never there.
I will myself to feel pain, but I’m hollow. I simply curl up and force myself to fall asleep. Maybe it will be better in the morning.
I know it won’t, but we can all pretend sometimes.