by Sasha W., Age 8
, Grade 8, Lexington Montessori School, Lexington, MA USA
Teacher: George Hakim
“Take her, treat her well, and live happily ever after.” I could barely hear what they were saying from my little baby ears. At that time I was only four months old but I knew something was wrong so I started crying and wailing. At that moment my mother ran off I knew my life would never be the same.
13 Years Later…
Hi my name is Maybell and I am 13 years old. I live in Orlando, Florida in a four story house. I don’t know how I could live if I didn’t have my own floor with a secret back door to the back yard. I couldn’t live without this because I don’t want to see my dad every day. I am pretty independent, I cook almost all my meals but sometimes with my stepmom. My least favorite day of the week is Sunday, the day I have to have dinner with my so called “family”.
My favorite day of the year is halloween because it’s the one day I don't have to be myself. I can’t believe I still have to wait a whole month. My dad sent me to this horrible school called Crystal Prep. I have to wear the most horrible uniform. I have to wear a dress the most awful thing in my opinion. And on the cold days I have to wear this coat that I think is absolutely hideous. And to top it all off I have to wear a tie that says CP.
It would make my life so much better if my dad would let me go to Marino Public School. No uniforms, less strict teachers, less homework, and best of all it’s free, which means more money towards fixing the pool. But that’s just a dream in the sky.
Ever since mom left dad hasn't been the same. He has been crabby, depressed and just closed up.
Welcome to my life…
The Last Straw
“Faster, almost there!” I could here my best friend Abby was yelling. “Come on last lap!” I felt the water against my face I knew that I was about to break my school's record for most laps in 1 minute. I was one yard away to my fifth lap, my goal, then I heard something that stopped me. My dad's truck was just pulling up. I started panicking as I got out of the water, the constant honking coming from my dad’s truck wasn’t helping calm me down. As soon as I got out of the water Abby was a little angry that I was 1 yard away to the water's edge and didn’t finish. “What happened! You were so close!” “Abby my dad’s here, not my step-mom I need to go.” “Hold up! Remember to tell your dad about the meet this weekend!” Abby yelled. “Oh my gosh, thanks!” I shouted back as we were pulling away. “What was this about a meet?” asked my dad and I knew that I might not go to this meet.
“Dad I told you that there’s a meet this weekend and you said that Mari would take me.” “Well plans change and Mari has a meeting that day.” I started to get worried, “Dad this is the meet that qualifies me to regionals.” Now I was really worried thinking what my coach would say almost brought tears to my eyes. “What if we got Abby to bring me.” I asked. I was trying to find a solution because I knew that my dad wouldn’t take me and Mari wouldn’t be able to, but I needed to go to this meet. “Fine. Call her and see if she can pick you up and drive you to this meet.” dad said. I felt the anger building and building up inside of me. I wanted to yell at him because he could take me. All of my life he has never been there for me even when I needed him most. I understand that mom left him, but I miss her to, even though I never knew her, all I wanted my whole life is a family who supported me and let me go to a more friendly school, a parent that will ask how my day was, and be there when I need a shoulder to cry on, other than my stepmom who is usually at work. I started crying as soon as we went into the house and once I started I couldn’t stop. The tears just kept on coming and coming until they had ran out.
A Forgotten Day
I woke up not remembering what was wrong with the pool, put on my bathing suit and ran silently out. I turned up the heat so I wouldn't freeze then I climbed on to the diving board. I always get a rush of excitement before I jump into the pool. I count down from 5 like I always do than I jump in. I felt a bust of cold than I felt at home in the warm water. Just then I feel like I was being sucked down to the bottom of the pool. Deeper and deeper than...
I hear a deep voice talking fast in a worried tone. I feel my heart beating much faster than normal, even though I don’t even know what normal is. I don’t know where I am, who I am or why I am where I am. I open my eyes. “She’s awake!” The man with the deep voice says. He reaches in and I push him away. I try to say something but all that comes out is a strange noise. I look across the room trying to read what's on the door I couldn’t. I am so confused who are these people why am I here. There is so many things going through my head and I can’t say any of them. I am lost. I finally hear something I can understand. “Is she ok doc?” When I heard that I got the sense I was in the hospital. The next thing I heard was “It’s a huge memory loss.” I didn’t understand most of that, but the way that I am feeling now I am guessing that I am in the hospital for a reason. I look down and see all sorts of tubes and wires attached to me. I couldn’t find out if this was normal or not. I assumed, not. The what I was guessing was a doctor leaned over and shined something in my eyes. I closed them. I didn’t want to open them again but I did because I wanted to know what was going on. He shined it in my eyes again and this time I didn’t shut them. “She doesn't have a concussion.” he said. “Okay. So why isn’t she talking to us?” The man with the deep voice said. “Well it seems that she was under the water for too long and she has lost most of her memory. The thing is I don’t know how much.” The doctor said. Now I made a sound trying to yell but all that came out sounded like something was dying. They must have gotten the message cause’ the man with the deep voice started talking. I was trying hard to put the words together and finally made sense of it. This is what it sounded like to me. “Do you think that she needs food, or water? Maybe she needs to go to the bathroom. What if she is uncomfortable and she doesn't know how to move?!” The man with a deep voice was walking back and forth through the room and sounded like he was totally freaking out. “You can take her home tonight but she cannot go to a normal school.” I heard the man with the deep voice talk again “I will do anything to make my daughter as happy and comfortable as possible .” I now was more confused than ever. I guess I never thought who my parents were. Then again I don’t know much about anything. A daughter, come on I look nothing like him or do I? The voices started again. “I will give you a list of things that will be hard for her and we can discuss where she can go to school. Let’s go into the meeting room and let her sleep.” I didn’t feel tired but I closed my eyes and heard the door shut.
There was so many voices, so much noise, and I felt like I was flying. I opened my eyes and looked around. I wasn’t flying but I was moving. People were carrying me on the thing I have been on all this time. They opened the doors and I was overwhelmed. I had gotten kinda used to being in that one room now I have to get used to the whole world again. I feel something wet on my face. I rub my eyes they are wet. I hear a voice saying “She’s crying.” The person I think is my dad comes and uses a white thing on my face. It feels good. My face becomes wet again and a strange noise starts to come out of my mouth. I can’t make it stop, my face keeps getting wetter and I feel a feeling that I don’t know how to describe. Then they opened a door of a strange thing on wheels and put me inside. My dad didn’t sit with me though, he opened a different door and the thing on wheels made a loud noise. It scared me. Then the door closed and that made an even louder noise which sent a weird feeling all through my body. My face was no longer wet and I no longer had that feeling that I didn’t know how to describe. Then we started moving again and I looked out the window. I saw these unfamiliar sights pass my me. Then we stopped in front of a structure and my dad opened the door. Another person came out and said “Maybell!” Was that my name, maybe, it’s my dad's name. Then she hugged my dad and said “How is she Darek?” “Well she lost her memory and can’t talk. The doctor gave me a list of all the things that we can try to do to help her.” Dad said. So I guess my name is Maybell, pretty. Wait. Is that other person my mom? I need to find out. They lift me up and bring me inside this big structure and it's amazing so pretty, I don’t know what it is though. Do we stay here? Is this where I learn? They put me down on the ground and lift me up onto a very soft squishy surface. It's smaller than what I had been on and it is soft on two sides. Then they tried to put something on my face. I made another noise. They stopped. “It's food.” Dad said. What is food? I asked to myself. But I trust that my dad knows best so I open my mouth. The object has a taste. I don’t know what to do next. They tell me to close my mouth again. I do. Nothing changes. I open my mouth, close it again over and over as they told me to. The object is no longer in my mouth but the taste is. I start to feel that I have done this before. There is the slightest bit of memory of this “food” stuff. I try to ask for more and they understood. The taste was different. I open and close my mouth over and over. This one is gone faster. The other taste is gone but the new one is better. The more that I do this the more that I understand how it works the food goes away the taste stays. I get more the food goes away the taste stays. It becomes more and more familiar. It makes this feeling build up inside of me. The corners of my lips curl. It is the best feeling I have ever felt. I feel at home. I feel something I can't describe. My dad comes in and reaches out his arms and wraps them around me. It feels amazing.
“I want her to go to Marino Public School. They have a great program for kids like Maybell.” I heard dad say. School? I don’t know what that is “Fisjdhf!” I say. My dad comes running in and tries to figure out what I am asking for. I don’t know how to ask. He is trying to understand. I want to know what school is. I try to say school. But it comes out. “Sughhhh!” He tries starting with the s. “Sing? Sad? Oh I know school! You heard us talking about school. School is where you learn.” I understood. I move my head. He gets it. He puts his lips on my forehead. It feels nice. “Do you want some food?” Dad asks. I move my head up and down trying to tell him yes. He brings me food. I eat. Then I fall asleep. I wake up and smell something. It smells like nothing I have ever smelled before. Dad comes in with food. The smell becomes stronger. It must be the food I am smelling. “This is chicken.” Dad says. I open my mouth and close it until the food is gone. It tastes as good as it smells. I open my mouth until all of the food was gone. My dad goes and comes back. “Would you like to go see your room?” Dad asks. This isn’t my room? He sees the confusion on my face. “This is the living room, where we all hangout.” Dad says. I kinda get it. So dad picks me up and brings me around a corner down a hall and he opens a door. The colors. The light. I have never seen anything like this before. He puts me down on another surface. “This is your bed.” It's comfy I sink into my bed and close my eyes. I hear a door shut then I drift off to sleep. I wake up and there is no light. I feel something that makes my face wet. Then the noise comes and I hear footsteps. The door opens dad comes in and lays down next to me. He holds my hand, puts his lips on my forehead and I drift back to sleep.
One month after the accident I could finally understand what people were saying and say some words myself. The doctor said that I could start school at Marino Public the school my dad picked. I’m excited and really nervous what if they're smarter than me and I have to go back to kindergarten!? I’ve also been able to start understanding feelings happy, sad and angry are the easy ones but nervous is still hard. Dad says I am getting a wheelchair so I can move without someone carrying me. I still don’t completely understand how it works, but it sounds pretty cool. The other new thing that has been happening lately is that I am being able to move a little bit I can move my arm up and down and my legs side to side. It’s great progress. The morning on the first day of school I try to show of with my dad by getting out of bed myself. I tried to get dressed but that failed. I ate my first breakfast without help. Then we left.
The First Day
A big building is coming up and I was feeling happiness. I was also feeling nervous though my two emotions were combining and I had a weird feeling in my stomach. I didn’t like it. “Having any first day jitters sweetie?” Dad asked. “Jitters?” I replied. “Jitters mean nervousness.” Dad replied. “Ya. Big.” I said. Dad laughed a little. I smiled. We pulled up at the big building and dad got my wheelchair out of the trunk and set it up for me outside. My whole body started shaking. I felt cold but I wasn’t, it was hot. Dad lifted me up out of the car and put me in my chair. “Alright sweetie you ready to go in?” Dad asked. “Ya.” I responded. “Okay! Here we go.” I think that dad was more excited than I was. He pushed me in and I was shaking so bad that I almost fell out of my chair. I was a new emotion like I was nervous but much worse. “You know that I will not be there all day right?” Dad asked. This came into my brain as a shocker. I knew he wouldn't be there but reminding me made an even bigger hole in my stomach. “But a High- School counselor will help you with your classes and wheel you around.” I knew he was trying to make me feel better but the thought of a complete stranger hanging around me all day really didn’t help at all. Dad opened the door to my new school and there was so many kids that I felt like I did when I first woke up. Lost. The loud noises. The new faces. Just this one hallway made me feel so nervous. I didn’t want my dad to leave. We went for a while through this hallway then he opened a door and luckily in this room there was only one young lady and when dad closed the door it was quiet. As soon as we walked through the door and the lady saw us she got right up and came over. “Hi my name is Eleanor.” She said.
“You’re Maybell right?” “Ya.” I said. “I will be your counselor, but think of me as a friend.” Eleanor said. I already don’t like her. She seems fake nice. “Alright. Have a great day sweetie!” Dad says. Then he walked out the door and I was left alone with Ms. Perky- Pants. We walked out of the room and I was surrounded be talking, walking people. I felt so out of place. I don’t belong here. Some girls stop in front of me and said “Look who’s in the wheelchair with the supervisor.” They started laughing then walked away. “Don’t let them get to you hon.” Eleanor said. Then we kept on walking. After what felt like forever everyone was looking at me, we arrived at a door and Eleanor opened it. The room was full of color and light, way more than my room. But this room also looked fun and nice. There was a teacher on one side and a bunch of people in chairs just like mine. I like this room way more than the hallway. I got no weird looks and no one was laughing at me. The teacher came right over “Hi! I’m Ms. Iyveir. I’ll be your teacher for most of the school day but you’ll also have Ms. Ralston for specials and math. I will be your teacher for reading, writing, speech and language and anything else you guys need help with. “You’re Maybell, correct?” I nodded my head. Maybe everyone had to be fake nice or they would be fired. Every teacher I have met so far seem way too nice to be real. Even though I have only met two teachers so I can’t be for sure. “Alright, so Maybell your seat is right over here.” Eleanor told me. Then she pushed me over to where she had pointed and started grabbing a bunch of stuff off the shelves and putting them on the table in front of me. I wanted her to stop. I had never said stop before but I thought that I could give it a try. “SDOP!!!!” Everyone turned their heads to look at me. I felt a new emotion. I wanted to hide. I wanted to be able to move myself so I could run away. Eleanor looked at me. “Sweetie these are books to help you learn.” “Too much! Too much!” I said. “Okay. I’ll stop.” Eleanor replied. She did. I still had that feeling that I had no name for. “Okay, is everyone ready to start!?” Ms. Iyveir asked. “Ya.” I said. “Good. Today everyone will be working with their mentors at their own pace. I will come around and see how everyone's doing then we will give out a little bit of homework.” Homework! I didn’t like the sound of that. I know home, and I know work. The two together don’t sound too good. Eleanor opened up one of the books in front of me. My eyes hurt so many different shapes it was overwhelming. “Okay. So you can’t read right.” “No.” I responded. “Alright let's start by learning to read the alphabet. You seem like a quick learner. The way this is gonna work is I am gonna say the letter and show it to you so you can get familiar with it. We will start with A, B, and C.” She held up a strange looking thing “This is A.” She held up another one. It was different. “This one is B. Let's see if you can recognize them in a word. Just so I know how fast you learn.” She put a book in front of me. I pointed to what I think is A. “Ahhh” I said. “Yes! Great job. Just so you know the whole word is apple,” she showed me an apple. A loud ringing noise went through the room, it scared me. I tried to get up. My counselor said “It's ok it’s just the bell.” I didn’t like this bell. The rest of the day went fine filled with perky teachers and colorful rooms. It was a great feeling, one I hadn't felt in a while.
“The Sassy Squad”
After a while of going to school and learning a bunch of new words. I felt like I fit in more. Except for what everyone calls “The Sassy Squad”, every time I see them they make fun of me and laugh at me. I’ve been taking Physical Therapy to learn how to walk, I’ve learned slightly but I can only walk for a couple steps. The first steps I took my dad made me a special meal. I thought it was a little much, but I still appreciated it. I wake up the next morning aching from Physical Therapy. I start my usual morning routine, ring my help bell and wait, and wait, and wait, finally my step mom comes in. She helps me get dressed and eat breakfast.
She starts talking and I start listening. “Darik is not up yet because he is sick. He has a cold so I get to take you to school this morning.” “Okay.” I reply. Then I brush my teeth. We headed off to school. “Alright, can you get in your chair alone yet?” Mari asked. “Ya.” I said. So I got in my chair. Eleanor was waiting for me by the door. Mari wheeled me over and left. “How are you today!” Eleanor said. “Good.” I said. “You have your first art class today!” “Okay.” I replied. Halfway to class “The Sassy Squad” came up in front of us. “Aww. How's little Maybell doing. You walking yet. You know most people learn to walk when their one. Not when their thirteen.” Then they walked away laughing. I am close to crying, but I stopped myself. We finally arrived at the class. It was my first day with Ms. Ralston. I was excited and nervous like on my first day of school. The class was filled with the kids from Ms. Iyveir’s class. It made me feel better to see all the familiar faces. “Hi I’m Ms. Ralston. Today we will start with finger painting then we will talk about what we want to for the next couple weeks. Let’s get started!” She came around and said “Hi, your Maybell right? Well here is your paint. Eleanor can help you if you need it.” “Okay.” I responded. By the end of the class, art was my new best friend.
“Okay everyone. Next week is parent-teacher conferences. Here is a flyer about it. Make sure you give it to your parents!” Ms. Iyveir came around and gave us all flyers. “Tank you.” I said. When I got home dad was better. Luckily his cold didn’t last too long. “Dad. Flyer. School.” I handed it to him. “Ohh parent-teacher conferences. Your old school never had these.” “Old school?” I asked. “You used to go to a school called Crystal Prep.” He replied. I nodded my head. The next Monday it was parent-teacher conferences. I was nervous what they were gonna say. Luckily I didn’t have to go. I was staying home with Mari. “Have good time!” I said. He gave me a kiss and walked out the door. “Wanna study some letters?” Mari asked “Okay.” I said. We studied until dad came home. When he walked through the door he had an odd look on his face. “Mari. Room. Now.” He said. I was worried. What had I done wrong?
When they came back out they both had that look on their faces. It looked like worried and something else I don’t know. Then dad came over and sat on the couch next to me. “So sweetie Mari isn’t your real mom”. This confused me so much. “Who is?” I asked. There was an awkward silence. “Ms. Ralston.” He replied. I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t say anything. I wish I could walk away. I felt mad. Why hadn’t he told me this before? I wanted to run away but I had nowhere to go, and I couldn’t run. So I walked out of the room and went into mine, slammed the door, and started crying. I had treated Mari as a mom. Even though I never called her mom. I couldn’t believe what my dad just said. What if he is not my dad.
The next morning I didn’t want to get up and see Ms. Ralston as my mom. I wouldn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t know how to be around her. But I’ll have to learn how to. Should I call her mom or Ms. Ralston? I guess I can ask. “Honey, we need to leave early today!” Dad yelled. “Okay. Be there soon.” I said back. “Ready.” I said. “Why are we early?” I ask. “Because, we are going to talk to Ms. Ralston.” The car was silent until we arrived at the school. We walked in I decided to remain silent and apparently so did Ms. Ralston and Dad. It was like the silent game. Eventually Ms. Ralston spoke “How are you these days”. “You know, You know how I am YOU ARE MY TEACHER,” I said this in a louder tone than I wanted. Just then
Ms. Ralston said something that I didn't expect “I love you”. I froze not knowing what to say. Than it came to me, everything did, and I said “Banana.” Then I said
“ Apple and orange and papaya.” I remembered. Everything is back. I think. Then I say “I love you too.”