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You Are Not Alone

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Prologue:

“Mom,” Aklia yelled wildly “don’t go!” She begged. She ran as fast as she could to just get a glimpse of her. Her wavy hair, her hazel eyes ... Aklia just wanted to hug her, smell the perfume fill he nose one more time, just to be with her. To be cradled in her arms, to her voice and whisper, I love you with a voice that no one can replace. But the faster she went, the farther, her mother seemed to be. Her mother was reaching out, her arms desperate for a hug a cradle.
She spoke her last words “You aren’t alone Akila,” her mother yelled, Always remember that, sweetheart”.
“No!” Akila yelled. She could hear he mothers screams, the blasts, the smell of gunpowder in the air … Everything.
“MOM!” Akila yelled.
BONK!!

Akila woke up suffocating and struggling with her blanket and wiped her misty tears, it was 3 am and 3 hours away from waking up. Akila sighed, Just a dream she thought. Akila hugged her pillow tightly. Her mother was still gone, three years have passed since her mother left and everything was still the same.
[September 21st, 2009 – Central Park East High- 11:50 pm]

The bells rang throughout the halls of Central Park East High, signaling the end of AP English. Akila yawned, still puzzled by her dream. It made no sense Akila thought , how could she say that she wasn’t alone in this world ? Did her mother know the agony that she lived through everyday in school? Nonetheless, she let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding and clipped her blue inked pen to her hot pink binder which had a class schedule she had securely taped onto her binder. Akila groaned silently as she looked at her next class. LUNCH. She delicately put her hot pink binder in her small pink bag full of AP textbooks, pens and library receipts that were neatly folded in her pink wallet and smelled of her mother’s perfume.

She reluctantly walked the wide hallway towards the large cafeteria as she squirmed and moved her way towards the crowd that formed of students eager to get to the lunchroom , it was the only time of day for students to gossip , have pep rallies and pull pranks on the geeks. Akila felt like a fish out of water as she walked slowly with her platform shoes making a click clack against the marble floor.
When Akila finally got to the lunchroom she leaned herself against the wall and peered her little head out. She scanned for anyone who might take five minutes to point and laugh at her. When the coast was clear Akila rushed to the crowd of hungry students desperate to avoid the popular clique. As she got closer to the lunch line the aroma of lettuce, beef, and tomatoes seemed to fill the room and Akila’s nose. Akila clung to the greasy, foamy, white tray filled with food as her mouth began to water. “Thank You” she said in her soft voice to the lunch lady but the lunch lady didn’t seem to notice as she was serving to another mouth watering senior. Akila sighed softly and looked at the huge cafeteria.
Akila felt a huge pang in her stomach as she looked for a seat. Akila knew not to sit with Reta Rodriguez and her circle of henchwomen. She made that mistake in freshman year when they began to tease her clothing and looks. Akila shuddered at the thought and stared at the emo’s. They blasted on heavy metal as they glared at the passing students. As one glared at Akila, She turned away and caught the sight of the basketball team.

There was a girl sitting next to them talking and laughing like she really belonged there, the girl was in her Psychology class, though she couldn’t figure out her name. The girl was Akila’s age (17 by the way) but had brown wavy hair, amber eyes and a perfect Spanish accent. See, why can’t I be like her, Akila thought, She is so perfect and beautiful and me? I’m just a geek.
Akila finally found a seat; it was by Tanya Johnson who really belonged to the emo clique in Akila’s opinion. She was reading a book as Akila peered closer. Akila she said to herself, just sit down away from her, I don’t want to cause her any trouble. She finally sat down and began to eat her meal. As she looked a Tani, she glared back with her chapped lips and white contacts, as if she was staring Akila down. Akila looked away not once looking at Tani again as she wondered when lunch will be over.
[September 11th, 2009 – Central Park High – Lockers – 2:56]

Akila was a bit upset that school was over; she enjoyed the tests, quizzes and lessons that filled the 45 minutes of class and was happy to know that Yale was interested in accepting her to their college.
As she opened her rusty silver locker she took out the books she’d need for tonight. If you peered over Akila’s locker, everything in it was neatly organized into labels. She looked at her picture of her mother she taped on her locker and smiled. Her mother smiled back in the picture. Her mother had on a purple turtle neck, her hair was straightened and pulled into a ponytail. She had on a matching skirt and in the background was a bright summer sky that made a perfect landscape. Sometimes it seemed like the picture was moving as if her mother was mouthing “I love you.” Akila blamed it on her imagination.
Suddenly, the picture was gone and found Reta with it in her hands, with her posse behind her.
“Oh, you want this, Akila” Reta asked innocently “This is your new best friend? Huh”
“Just give it back Reta” Akila asked softly.
“Sure…” Reta said slyly and ran as fast as she could. Akila followed her, running to catch up with her. She needed that picture back, it was her favorite one. Reta tossed it to Jezebel who ran to pass it to Kayla. Akila finally caught up to her and cornered her.
“Kayla, please,” Akila pleaded with tears in her eyes “that’s all I have of her.”
“Really.” Kayla said with a shocked face. She began to walk closer to Akila with her arms, desperate for the picture. As she got closer, she began to give the picture and hand it to her Akila became more relieved and calm.
“Thank you.” Akila whispered. Soon Reta grabbed it and tore the picture in pieces
“Your welcome.” Reta mimicked in the softest voice she could manage Akila’s eyes began to water as Reta laughed at her. She picked up the pieces and ran off in tears.
[September 17th, 2009 – Central Park High – Cafeteria]
Days seemed like weeks and weeks seemed like months for Akila. She cried and cried for six days and shown to be severely depressed. Six days she couldn’t speak, six days she couldn’t smile, and for the first time in six days, she couldn’t concentrate on anything.

One stormy day, the leaves rustled and the rain poured with the sounds of cackle and boom, they patted on the window and rolled down like the tears on Akila’s face. She paid no attention to Reta as she and her henchwomen laughed and pointed at her.

“Aw. Is the baby going to cry?” Reta asked sweetly.

“Do you need a bib?” Jezebel asked,

“Do you need your mommy?” Kayla asked “Oh wait, you don’t HAVE a mom do you baby? Guess you’re all alone.” She added.
Akila’s tears flowed faster as she partly agreed with them. Kayla was right. She thought, except her family, she had no friends or anyone.


“Hey!” someone yelled angrily
Akila turned around. So did Reta and her posse. It was the girl Akila saw 6 days ago. She had on a bright orange tank top, and a dark orange skirt and sandals to go with it. Her hair was curled and wet from the storm. “Just leave her alone, she’s been through enough losing her mother, you have to tease her about it too? You guys are loco!”
The girl finished with a Spanish accent. Reta and her followers glared at her, me and grumpily finished their lunch. The Spanish girl soon came forward to Akila’s table.
“Okay if I sit here?” she asked.
Akila looked up with her bloodshot eyes and after a brief silence she softly said “Sure”.
The Spanish girl sat down and sat her backpack next to her. “My name is Margarita Esmeralda Gabriella Carmen Rodriguez.” The girl proudly said, extending her hand to Akila.
Befuddled, Akila stammered. “M—Margi—urea… what did you say?
The girl smiled and said “You can call me Rita.”

“Oh. ...” Akila said “Well My name is Akila Sara Simmons” she said softly shaking Rita’s orange, finger nailed, and hand. After the greeting, there was silence. Rita looked at Akila as she slowly ate.

“Akila…….. I saw what happened.”
Akila looked up bewildered.

“You know, with Reta and her group, I was walking towards my locker and …”

“Oh right.” She sadly said
Rita briefly looked at them laughing at a wannabe with braces and glasses. She rolled her eyes and looked back at Akila.

“There just jealous of you Akila” Rita said
Akila almost choked on her water. “Jealous? Of what?” she asked.

“Uno: you’re pretty .Dos: you’re smart and Threes: you have a heart.” She said softly.

“There jealous of all that? She asked looking at them in shock.

“Why else do you think they tease you? Because you wear glasses?”

“Surprisingly, yeah” she said after a brief silence.

“I know what its like” Rita said after Reta and her followers passed by their table

Akila looked up “To lose someone I mean.” Rita said “It’s like death rips your heart and it can never be healed again. Don’t you think?”
Akila thought about it for a minute and took out her torn picture of her mother

“I agree with you, so…. Who did you lose? “She asked.

“Mi abuela.” Rita answered softly “ She got cancer when I was a sophomore , it got worse and worse every year until one day ….POP!!! ,” Rita said angrily clapping her hands so loud and thunderous , Akila jumped “She went to heaven September 9th 2009” Rita touched her orange locket . “Mi abuela gave me this during the summer.” She opened it; there was a picture inside, one with a younger version of Rita and an old lady. “This is me,” Rita said pointing to a girl with pigtails “and this is mi abuela.” she said.

“I’m sorry” Akila said in tears, “my mother was killed when I was a freshman, she was my best friend.”
Rita smiled “So was mi abuela.”
The class bell rang, Rita looked at me, and I looked at her.

“You want to …..” Rita asked

“Yeah.” Akila answered. As they walked to their next class Akila asked Rita t o throw out the destroyed the picture of her mother. Rita was shocked
“B-butut, it’s your – picture you …”
“There will be other pictures right?” Akila smiled reassuringly
Rita pause for a brief moment, she remembered Akila’s devastated face when Reta ripped the picture in front of her face. Akila cried over that picture she thought, she loves her mother and she love this picture, but…

“Sure!” Rita finally said with a smile “Meet you in gym!” As she watched Akila walk towards the gymnasium, Rita walked to the nearest trash can.
-----------------------------------------Several Months Later ----------------------------------------

As the months passed by, Akila and Rita grew closer and formed a friendship. They worked on homework together and Rita even taught Akila how to dance the tango and the salsa. They went to the movies together and called each other on the phone (but Akila still maintained her 4.0 GPA). Akila even stood up to Reta for once and for all (thanks to Rita). Akila was able to give Rita her Christmas present which was a gold bracelet that reminded her of her abuela. That’s when she decided to give Akila a very special present.

One cold day, Akila bundled up in her wool coat, as she managed to catch the snowflakes with her tongue.

“What are you doing?” Rita asked awkwardly.

“Nothing” Akila answered blushing.

“Hey I got you something.” Rita said in a sing song voice revealing a small jewelry box.

“Mucha Gracias Rita!” Akila said in delight. She had never gotten a gift before in her life. As she opened the box she gaped and bawled of happiness. What was held in her hand was a locket with her mother’s picture inside.

“You never threw it out did you?” She said in tears.

“No.” Rita replied happily.

“This is the most amazing gift I have ever received!” She said crying as they embraced and walked to the bus.

Akila wiped her tears, she know knew what her mother was trying to say. Maybe she wasn’t alone in this world. “I love you sweetheart!” her mother’s voice said, ringing in her head. “I know mom” she said smiling “I know”

“Huh?” Rita said.

“Oh nothing.” Akila said.


















Epilogue



“Mom”
Akila ran to her mother and began to hug her; she could smell her vanilla perfume. Akila was delighted, to have her mother in her arms, she even saw Rita with her abuela.
Akila smiled, Sure she had to wake up in 5 minutes and things would be back to normal, but she wasn’t alone and that’s what really mattered.

“Akila, come on!” Rita said running to a waterfall.
Akila ran over to her, dragging her mother, “But for now,” she thought, “I’m cherishing the moment.”





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