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Not Everyone is the Same

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…yeah. My house is perfect. My life is perfect. I’m perfect. A perfect eighteen year old. I come from big money. I have people over at my house all the time, either in the indoor heated swimming pool, or watching movies in our own movie theatre. I’m popular, beautiful, and wanted by every guy that walks by me, but obviously not if they are still in diapers or blind. I have my own Corvette for the summers and an Escalade for the fall and winter months. I am a doll…story of my life.

I set my 3D Verizon iPhone down on my diamond accented night stand that sits at arms length away from my circular pink zebra king size bed after I sent a carbon copy text message out to all three hundred and fifty seven contacts in my contact list, reminding all my friends to be at my big eighteenth birthday party bash next week. I look at my calendar which hangs over my night stand, and read all of the events that I have planned for this week. Salon tomorrow, then a big dinner with relatives whom I hardly ever see. Sigh… I hate those. Always so boring. I take a deep breath in and hold it for a good eight seconds then slowly exhale. I stare off through my sunroof that sits directly over me, not really thinking about anything, just being.

All of a sudden, Mishu opened my door a crack and popped his head into my bedroom. Mishu is my family’s 5’3” tall butler. He’s a cute and funny Spanish man, can’t really speak fluent English, but he’s greatly improved with the time he’s been here. I love Mishu but when I’m alone and relaxed I just want to take a nap or just lay down and close my eyes. Ha. Never.

“Miss Tasha, dinnertime is now. Senator Michaels won’t be able to attend, so your
mother say to dress casual. Just the normal crowd tonight,” His face was all sweaty. It is the middle of August and today is extremely hot outside, very sticky and muggy. He must have been outside watering our flower gardens…

“…Yeah, yeah thanks, Mishu. Be right down,” I said as I sat up.

He nodded and his head disappeared.

I left my luxurious bed to go over to my humungous closet. Seriously. My closet is big. I could fit about thirty dressers into my closet. I’m not kidding. I found my rose colored cocktail dress and my silver platforms, accompanied by my silver clutch. I dressed into my dinnertime ensemble and topped my look off with a few squirts of my Chanel perfume. A last resort, since I somehow misplaced my favorite Gucci perfume, which was a very special gift from my grandmother. She knows me the best. I looked into my vanity mirror and had to give myself props for having such beautiful hair. It was so healthy and shiny, with natural soft curls but for the most part, straightened.

I closed my closet’s door and headed downstairs. As I entered the dining hall, I took note of the usual dinner guests. The usual guests consisted of my mother, father, aunt and uncle (Cherie and Thomas), my two twin cousins (Tim and Christina), my one set of grandparents (Eloise and Paul, who are my father‘s parents) and my other set of grandparents (Nora and Chuck).

As always, Sheila’s cooking was mouthwatering. Sheila has been our family’s personal chef for about six years now. We pay her good money. I secretly think that people try to get us to invite them over to our house because they want to enjoy Sheila’s
meals. I think so…my parents don’t. They like to believe that people like us for who we are, not because of what we have.

My parents are big time money makers. My father is a successful lawyer, who actually owns his own law firm. My mother is a neurologist who opened up her very own neurological medical center, in which patients seeking neurological care, including brain surgery, go there. And me? Well, I don’t even know what I want to do with my life. I don’t know my career path yet. I’m taking a year off before going to college. That way I have time to think of what I want to do. I also just want to have fun with my friends before I leave. I feel like high school flew by so fast and I feel like I haven’t had enough bonding time with them. Sort of depressing, but what do you know, stuff like that happens.

The dining hall was filled with conversations. Conversations between my father and his parents concerning one of the law suits that he had recently been involved in, and my mother giving my grandmother words of advice on how to counter Alzheimer’s disease. As usual, my grandmother rolled her eyes.

“Child, I’m only fifty eight!” she exclaims.

“Yes, but mother…” my mother tried to say.

“Don’t ‘but mother’ me!”

Then there were the conversations between my cousins and their parents. Talking about upcoming appointments and what not.

I was on my phone, texting. It’s not like anyone saw what I was doing…they were
all absorbed into their conversations and I think I should be able to be absorbed into one of my own.

Before I knew it, dinner was over and I headed upstairs to my room. I was so tired. It’s tiring to be rich. So much is expected out of you. Greatness is the key element that everyone who is rich should have. It’s not like it’s hard for me to be something great. I mean, look at all of the things I have. It’s sort of hard for me not to be great…

************************************************************************

I looked up at my class after I read the last part of my story. Mrs. Dawdle looked at me with appraisal and a little bit of sympathy. What did I do? Why was she looking at me like she felt sorry for me? The assignment for the class was to write a story reflecting what you wish you had in your life. That’s what I did…? Was I wrong about something?

“Okay thank you Tasha, you can take your seat now,” Mrs. Dawdle told me.

Honestly, I’m the awkward girl in my grade. I’m seventeen and a senior who is trying to find her place. I don’t have many friends. I’m a quiet person. I have glasses that are taped on the sides because I fall asleep with them on, causing them to break. At this
point, my parent’s won’t buy me any more glasses because they say we can’t afford it right now. I sat down at my desk and set my story in front of me.

“Okay, any questions for Tasha? Comments?” Mrs. Dawdle asked the class.


Three hands went up. One hand was Angela’s hand. A girl whom I’m not friend
with, but a girl who I don’t have any problems with. Apparently, she has one with me.

“Okay, I guess I just don’t get her story. This assignment was supposed to be a story reflecting the things that you want to have in your life. How can someone want that? Everyone wants to be rich but there are more important things than being rich and popular and beautiful. I think it’s sad that someone would want to have that life so bad,” Angelina stated.

“I SMELL A DEBATE!” Peter, the class clown, said.

I was blushing…I could tell. My cheeks were hot and I could feel them getting redder and redder.

“Shush, Peter,” Mrs. Dawdle told him firmly. He looked at her, made a face, then sat quietly.

“Well, Angelina you made a good point. But this is important to Tasha. Different things are important for different people. Remember that not everyone is the same,” she said.

“It is important to me…” I mumbled.


“What was that, Angela?” Great. Now Mrs. Dawdle brought the attention on me…again.


“I said it’s important to me. It really is,” I said, hoping that was enough to justify myself.


“Mrs. Dawdle, can I say something?” Angela wasn’t going to shut her trap. The other two people put their hands down after she asked to speak again. They must have
realized that Angela wasn’t close to being done, just like I had.


Mrs. Dawdle didn’t say anything but that was her way of saying “Go ahead.”


“Okay, Tasha. Why is this so important to you? I guess I’m just curious as to why being a popular snob who gets everything she wants is something you want to be and I’m wondering why being spoiled is appealing to you? Yeah, everyone like getting what they want but that’s a little too much and unrealistic. Especially for a girl like you…”


I hadn’t moved my eyes off of the clock the whole time she was talking to me. I wanted out of here. However, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer. It was time I had to stick up for myself. Once in my lifetime.


Before Mrs. Dawdle could react to the words Angela threw at me, I reacted first. I stood up and went to the front of the classroom and stood behind Mrs. Dawdle’s podium that she has in the front of the class. My heart was pounding, I felt the blood and adrenaline rush throughout my small body. I was seeing red and felt the tears well up into my eyes at the same time. So many mixed emotions for such a small and defenseless teenager like myself.

Tearing up I managed to choke out, “Okay Angela, and anyone else who disagrees with my story. You want to know why this means so much to me? Why I dream about a perfect life? I know I’m not pretty. I know I’m not attractive. I know that my family has no money. I know that I have dorky glasses and I know that my hair is always a frizzy mess. I know that I may not have the best clothing to choose from when I’m at home looking through my tiny closet that I also share with my little sister. I know that I’m not
popular. I have very few friends. I don’t know three hundred and fifty seven people. Okay?” I sniffled.


Mrs. Dawdle stood up from her desk and started walking towards me slowly.


“I come from a messed up family. I’m a quiet girl because at home I get slapped for talking. I get slapped for anything. It’s not fair! I get beaten for trying to talk to my mom. I have nothing! No money, no love, I get nothing! I get a wacky household and I go home everyday not knowing what I‘ll get punished for.” I was at my breaking point. I was done with these kids. I felt like everyone in the room was on Angela’s side and I wanted to explode. I felt misunderstood and I felt all alone. It was my time.

I took my broken glasses off of my face and threw them onto the ground. That was when Mrs. Dawdle was a few feet away from me. She took the slowest possible steps as if she were approaching a wild boar. She tried putting her hand on my back but I swatted it away. My world has always been crumbling. But now, it’s not even in the process of being crumbled. That’s because it just fell apart. It was as if someone took a hammer and
hammered my world, making the unstable pieces fall down. It was the end of it all.
Mrs. Dawdle rushed over to her desk and picked up the phone to dial the main office I was assuming. She hung up and ran out into the hall. I was crying hysterically. A kid named Jessie was making an effort to help me by coming up to the podium and saying, “Tasha, I’m here for you.”
I was so lost into my own madness and depression that her sweet words didn’t help me conquer this. I shook my head at her, “No.” Jessie stepped back, her eyes full of sadness. I
saw Angela with tears in her eyes. Tears full of regret and sympathy. I was past sympathy. I didn’t need it or want it. I wanted to leave. My hands were shaking and I was in the process of having a horrible anxiety attack. My head was throbbing and time felt like it was passing so slowly. Then all of a sudden, our school police officer, Officer Mills, showed up in the doorway along with my school counselor, Ms. Zyra. I had to get out of here.

Officer Mills came and took my arm, while Ms. Zyra collected my school supplies off of my desk. Mrs. Dawdle looked at me as if she wanted to help but couldn’t do anything. And she was right.

Once in the hallway, I broke free and continued to bawl hysterically. Officer Mills stood next to Ms. Zyra as he said, “Sh…we’re calling your parents and letting them know that this is what we‘re doing. We’re taking you away from them, Tasha. You’ll be safe now,” Officer Mills informed me.

Ms. Zyra gave me a hug, trying to rock me back and forth like a baby she was cradling in her arms. She held me for what felt like a lifetime, while Officer Mills went to the main office to make phone calls. I felt a little better, but so much was going on I couldn’t process anything. My head was throbbing. I just revealed my home life to everyone. Now my parents are going to know that I snitched on them. Growing up as a child they said that if I told anyone that they were mean to me, they would hurt me very badly. I shivered as chills ran up my spine as I realized they were going to literally kill me. They would kill me. I know they would. They say all the time how I was a stupid little mistake who should’ve died. I had to go. I couldn’t stay around here. Even if Officer Mills and Ms. Zyra were going to get me out of my house, my parents would find me and kill me because they would be arrested.

I let go of Ms. Zyra, signaling to her that our hug was over. She looked at me and tried to smile but the smile she gave me was broken and full of gloom.

“Ms. Zyra…” I said as I stood back from her, “thank you.”
“Oh honey…it’ll be alright.” She assured me.

When I saw Officer Mills come from down the hallway I realized that if I wanted to escape, I had to do it while Ms. Zyra was only around me. Officer Mills and Ms. Zyra would never let me leave. Fortunately, Mrs. Dawdle’s classroom was two rooms down from one of the school’s exits. I made a run for it.
I don’t remember hearing anyone behind me, although I remember looking back and seeing Ms. Zyra crying and Officer Mills start running after me. I was a fast runner. I did track all throughout high school and I was one of the top five fastest runners on the whole track team. I ran out the door and by the time I knew it, I was running down Route 88, the road that my school was located on. I ran right on the yellow line on the road. I ran and ran, my legs weren’t tired and I was just starting. I hadn’t planned on stopping for a while. So I ran and ran…and didn’t bother to even look back…





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