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Being Kiara (part 1)
I hope to be famous, to see my name up in lights; for everyone to know my name. As of now I am nobody. People pass me by and act as if I’m nonexistent. They bump my shoulder and keep walking. They hit my locker shut and it’s as if nothing happened. The only time they take notice of me is when they are trying to avoid me, as if I’m diseased. But I’m not, I’m really not. What happened to me was not my fault nor will it ever be. If I could change anything about that night in any way I would not think twice about doing it. My name is Kiara, and this is my story.
I am the middle child in a family that consists of 5 children, three girls and two boys. There isn’t ever a chance for me to be alone seeing that I share a room with my younger sister, and before that with my brother Aiden, and even before that with my older sister Hannah. I’ve always gotten the short end of the stick. I’ve never had my own room, my own space, or even my own clothes. Most of what I wear is hand-me-downs from Hannah.
My parents are divorced; they have been since my younger sister, Dawn, was born. A week after she was born, my father was gone. We were told that he was sick and had to live at the doctors. The oldest child in my family, Derek, set us straight and told us that Daddy didn’t love us anymore and that he wouldn’t be coming back. He told us that our father loved other children more than he loved us. I didn’t understand what he meant until now.
My mother seemed to be sad all the time. Late at night I would sit by her door and listen to her sob harshly. When my grandmother would come to visit I’d linger around a corner hoping to catch parts of their conversations about my father. I’d hear some words but miss others and was never able to put it all together without those important missing links.
Years passed before I heard my father’s name come around my house again. It was when Derek and my mother were fighting and Derek decided to win at any cost. “Dad didn’t care about this s***! Maybe we’d be better off with him here! Then again Hannah would probably be pregnant!” The words escaped his lips before he could stop them. It was then that she kicked him out of our home and brought our family of six down to five.
Months went by without speaking to Derek. No one in our house said anything about him. His room was left as it was with the door closed. The house seemed oddly quiet without his music blaring in the background or his truck rumbling in the driveway.
After my father left we weren’t allowed to call him or even answer the phone, in case it was he calling. After some time I worked up the courage to ask my mother if I would be able to see my father soon. She acted as if she didn’t hear me but I could see a gleam him her eyes, tears threatening to fall. That’s when I knew I wouldn’t see him again and that it would be smarter to not even mention him.
I had never been close to my father; he seemed to favor Hannah over everyone else. He was always buying her gifts and taking her out for “bonding days”. Whenever we were at weddings and the D.J. called for a father, daughter dance he always reached for her and I’d dance with Derek.
When Hannah began to go through puberty my father built her, her own room in the basement. He was always down there with her. He told the rest of the family he was making some minor repairs to her new room. When my mother asked him why he’d locked the door he said it was so one of the younger kids couldn’t open the door and fall down the stairs. That was always the excuse.
After she got her new room, Hannah seemed to drift away from the family. She rarely cam upstairs and when she did it wasn’t for very long. She always looked so sad and tired. Her grade began to steadily decline. It wasn’t long before her friends stopped calling and she never went out.
My mother had tried to talk to her but she just sat there staring into space, not a single word registering with her. When she was asked a question she just shrugged. Soon she stopped eating and the only person she’d make any contact with was my father. They spent hours in her room, talking I had assumed. It would be late at night before he would come back upstairs, sometimes he didn’t even come back up at all. Those were the nights my mother fell asleep at the table waiting for him.
After a few months of living in her new basement room Hannah stopped wearing her form fitting clothes and started wearing my father’s old jeans and flannel shirts. She took numerous showers and each lasted over an hour. Tension grew thicker and thicker with every passing day. My parents spent more time quietly arguing and Hannah slipped further and further from the family.
Soon teachers began calling home to inform my mother that Hannah was skipping classes and failing others. They told her that if Hannah failed another class she would be asked to leave the school. This devastated my mother. Hannah had always been so successful in school. She was given a full scholarship to this private school because of her nearly perfect grade point average. This is when my mother put her foot down.
When my father arrived home from work she was waiting for him at the door. Her arms were crossed tight across her chest and she was impatiently tapping her foot. It felt like a storm was brewing in my own home. As soon as he walked up the front steps she began yelling and demanding Hannah be moved back to the main floor of the house. It was a long night of fighting between the two of them. It was the first night my father didn’t go visit with my sister.
Once they moved their argument to the upper level of the house I slipped downstairs to my sister’s room. It was dark and smelled greatly of sweat and fear. There was a camera and a few small boxes of film on the bureau. There were pieces of rope lying on the damp carpet. I found Hannah huddled up in a ball on her bed crying. She was hugging her legs and rocking back and forth. She was mumbling something over and over again that I couldn’t understand through her breathless sobs.
I crossed the room and carefully made my way towards her bed. I slowly knelt down beside her and put my hand on her shoulder. As if my hand burned her skin, she cowered back and screamed out. Frightened, I jumped to my feet and raced back towards the stairs. I flew up them and back to my own room. I didn’t know what I had done wrong to make her so upset.