There's No Difference

November 4, 2016

It's the year 2216 in South Carolina.  Shanel Williams was one of the extremely few black people who attended Confedes High School as a senior, located in Luxinville.  The school was fairly large with the school colors being red and white with a Carolina wren as the mascot.  It was March, leading up to the last dwindling days of the school year and Shanel spent the entirety of the year bleaching her skin, becoming anorexic, and practicing her makeup trying to become most of the white women who go to her school. 

Shanel, before the change, had curly brown hair and mocha colored skin.  She was bigger than the others, tremendously shy and covering as in clothes wise.  But towards the last months of the school year she dyed her hair blonde, bleached her skin to no end, wore the shortest shorts you could buy and spoke loudly just like all other women on their phones.  But what she failed to see was that all this change was making things worse for her.  Now even more of the women, and some of the men were deriding her for changing her appearance.  But out of all the people to mock Shanel, it was Sarah Johnson who did most of the work. 

Sarah Johnson was a skinny, pale skinned, rude wretch that covered every femtometer of her face with maquillage.  She persistently scorned Shanel and mentally scarred her to a point where it became too much and Shanel decided to skip a few days of school, not worrying about what her teachers would think of her, “ditching”, or how much the students would miss dehumanizing her to lift themselves up.  No, she was perfectly content away from all of them.  Away from that horrendous school,  away from the world from which she could never escape.  She never did want to go back to that vile high school, but to keep her grades up and live a contemporary life, she unfortunately had to. 

When she entered the school on her first day back after five days, two seconds haven't even passed,” Hey Shanel!  What did you do!?  Had to get your nails done along with that fake hair of yours!?” A boy yelled out followed by an appalling guffaw.   Many more identical humiliating words were spat from others mouths throughout Shanel’s day with Sarah’s being the worst of all.  She followed her around for hours shrieking unforgivable comments.  So with this going on for a month Shanel just could not bare it any longer. 

Shanel stared out her bedroom window and leaned her arms on the window pane crossed.  She looked out at some white and black kids playing in the street with a ball in pure daylight.  She thought why she couldn't have that, and why people see a huge difference, as far as for it to go to the government.  To segregate some schools, and bathrooms, and even drinking fountains.  She thought how nice it would be to have a friend like that.  Even though they were kids, they didn't care what a person's color was, which is why she wished she was a kid again. 

She slouched her head against the window, and started to cry, thinking of her older brother who was killed in a freak car accident by two drunk white men who purposely killed him, but the government didn't see it that way.  They saw it as a stupid accident, but they weren't put into jail.  Shanel thought about that day seeing those two men laughing as they walked out the courthouse holder shoulder to shoulder.  She was right next to the door and heard one of them say,” That n***** deserved it.”  Shanel jumped up and almost slapped the man, but for her families sake from having one child dead to their only one going to jail, she didn't. 

When Shanel came back to Earth it was almost 11:00 at night and she was staring at the moon.  She stared for what seemed like forever and decided something that would change her life forever.  “I'm sorry Damion, Mom, Dad.  But I can't anymore.  What's the point if I can never live my life when everyone keeps putt’in me down?  I'm so sorry.”  She stood up from the chair, went to her journal and wrote a few things down, but shortly after, she burned it, so no one ever knew what she wrote.

The next morning, 2 hours before the school bell even rang, after giving it a lot of thought, Shanel slowly roamed through the hallways of her school leading to the bathroom.  She floated her silky palms above the glossy tiles and let her blonde, disfigured hair sway down over her shoulders.  As she approached the girl’s bathroom down the hall, she gradually opened the door and stumbled to a sink.  She looked around to make sure no one was there or walking in and eventually looked in the mirror staring her down.  She didn’t shed a tear, she wanted this.  She wanted it all to be over and done with.  She brought up her pair of scissors to her wrist.  *Creeeeaaaaakkk.*

She turned around to see a woman about her height,  skinny, dirty-blonde haired, covered in baggy clothes and somewhat brown skinned, come out from a stall.  Shanel paused with the scissors not even a centimeter away from her wrist and stared at this woman.  “Oh  my God!  Um!  Are you okay!?  Here, let me help you.” the sweet woman walked over and held Shanel’s back.  It was an extreme shock to her.  She couldn’t even move.  The woman looked at Shanel and asked,”What are you doing?”

“None of your business, why are you here?” Shanel spat at the woman.

“Well since you're, you know, I guess I can tell you.  I go in here everyday to darken my  skin.” The woman timidly slid from her tongue. 

“What!?” Shanel almost yelled. 

“Well, I don’t know, I just want to be black, because of all the cool things you do, and you're less likely to get sunburn, I mean, that’s what I heared in science class anyway, because of all the pigment in your skin or something.” She said.

“Oh?  Well, I lightened my skin because everyone made fun of me, and you guys can put on makeup and have it be visible, and I don’t know….I just want to be accepted” Shanel trailed off. 

“Wow, I just wanted be accepted too...But why kill yourself?  You're amazing.”  The woman asked.

“Why darken your skin?  You’re amazing.” Shanel asked the woman serenely.  Both women looked at each other and thought very seriously.  “I  guess we both have amazing qualities about us don’t we?” Shanel shrugged her shoulders.

“Yeah!  I guess we do!” The girl rapturously smiled.

“So what’s your name?” Shanel politely asked.

“Christi.” she answered and until the bell rang they spent the entire time embracing each other's company.   Throughout the last receding days of school, they spent every second of the day together lifting each other's spirits and growing more confident by the day.  When college time came around, they both went to the same college and ignored every person's pessimistic comments, living life how life should be led.  Later, come to find out, Shanel overheard girls talking at her college in the hallway.  They were Sarah’s friends and talked about how she didn't fit in with them anymore.

With the new presidency, and everyone's racial views changing except her own, Sarah had no friends left in college.  But Shanel and Christi have been lifelong friends, cherished every moment together, and told their story till their last dying breath, to show the world how important every living human being is, no matter what physical difference they may have on the outside.  And one day, Shanel looked out her window, when she visited her parents from college for summer break.  She saw 4 black children and 3 white children drawing on the road in chalk.  She focused on what it said.  -There's No Difference-.



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