This memoir was written by my student in my 8th grade writing workshop classroom. She has graciously permitted me to publish her work here. She has requested to be anonymous.
I entered my house, exhausted from a very long day at school. Nobody even bothered to ask how my first day at the new school had been. “Why would they?” I thought. “They are busy in their own worlds as usual.”
My mother was watching television with its volume full. In the same room, my brother was playing drums in the corner. My ears hurt, but my heart hurt more. Though I have a family, I once again felt no better than an orphan.
Anger, irritation, despise gnawed at me from inside. All those emotions concealed in me were eager to burst out either in the form of physical violence or harsh words. Only, I could allow neither.
I had had good enough experiences of the consequences of such actions, which in turn would be these same directed at me. I had already taken enough and had no appetite for a few more slaps or bitter words.
So, I quietly strode to the kitchen, threw my bag on the floor, went to the bathroom in the corner of the kitchen and changed my clothes. Everybody else was in the hall. Being physically away from them felt safer. I locked the kitchen door.
My mother had finished all the household chores in the morning, and I wasn’t the kind of girl who was interested in sports, T.V, or friends. The only option left now was to do homework. I opened my homework planner and saw that I had to read for thirty minutes. I had never read fiction before. I always thought that one couldn’t gain useful information from fiction. Unlike non-fiction, reading fiction had always been a waste of time for me. But right then, it was the only homework that stared at me. I had to do something to keep my mind busy. I couldn’t allow the sounds from the hall to dig a deeper hole in my heart.
My fingers began to turn the pages of The Boxcar Children.
Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are four orphan, homeless siblings trying to hide from their grandfather, a rich man who had disapproved of their mother and thrown their parents out of his house. To get away from his reach, they start living in the woods, find a boxcar and make it their home.
I read the whole book in two hours straight. And read it again for another two hours to satisfy my greedy heart.
Now, two years later, when I think of the experiences that have shaped me, this incident jumps right at me. That day, for the first time ever, my mind was off all the daily tortures. I had gotten absorbed in something that made me happy, without realizing it.
After that day, I have been constantly absorbed into my worlds, my books. Beautiful, vivid, accepting imaginary worlds still mean everything to a girl for whom, the reality has always been brutal, harsh and suffocating. Imagination gives me all that reality hasn’t and can’t.
And I continue to choose it, day after day.