Let Me Tell You A Story

January 12, 2009
By Carolina Hummel, Los Angeles, CA

I sat in the cold, grey and green room on the brown itchy couch trying to talk. It was darker than usual and nothing seemed as nice. It was also harder to start talking today. As I tried to get words out Arlene asked me "Just start my telling me about your day. Start from the beginning." I thought about how she will think I’m lying. Why would I do this? How can I tell her? Will she tell mother? I let all those questions and anxiety leave and I started to talk.

Today I woke up at 6:00 because I missed my 5:30 alarm, ran out of bed, put my old grey t-shirt on with my dark wash jeans with the hole in the knee and went half way to the door and remembered to I had to brush my teeth. I used the mouthwash instead today because I had no time to brush them this morning so I grabbed the tooth brush and toothpaste and put it in my oversized bag that has nothing in it and would do it later. As I was half way out the door I heard my mother screaming that I forgot my coat. It was good she made me get it because I would have been freezing that first night away in just a shirt.

Mother and I got in her new white and shiny Mercedes fancy car that her boyfriend bought her and she took me to school. She put on a radio station she thought I would like but I knew it would drive her crazy so I turned it off. She usually takes me to school in a hurry but today she took her time. She kept trying to get words out but they wouldn’t. (I guess I got this from her). I saw how even with her new car, new boyfriend, and new life she was still unhappy.

Mother was married to my dad, the doctor for almost nineteen years before he left. He was a big deal for a guy his age. Everyone in New York knew who he was and everyone wanted him as their doctor. He took care of all the rich people in New York and their children. He wasn’t a pediatrician but he was the best and these kids had to have the best.

Mother was also a doctor. She worked in a hospital sometimes to do special surgeries and made enough money for herself that way. I don’t really know what these surgeries were and never asked because I don’t care.

Due to my fathers reputation and success and mothers insist on me becoming the next doctor in the family, I had to go to school with all the children father took care of. I was in the 9th grade at the Manhattan Academy where kids were not kids. My classmates came to school by driver, limo and escorts. Some came with their parents but were never driven by them. My school had a uniform but a uniform of designer only clothes. I had gone there since Kindergarten and didn’t know anything else. I liked the nice things about my life. I liked the beautiful clothes I wore, I liked the people I knew I liked the places I went, I liked where I lived and my life. I loved my life until my father left.

This morning as I got out of the car my mom tried slipping in an "I love you" but it didn’t exactly come out so I said "okay" and closed the door. I walked outside of my school and saw girls whispering and looking. I knew it wasn’t about me because our old friend Jessica Adler was wearing last season clothes that we all agreed was hideous at fashion week last year. I saw this and thought about how Jessica probably thought it was cute and that was all that mattered. I knew she could see my friends whispering about her and how insecure she felt that not only did we drop her like our two year old wardrobes at Good Will, but now she has to deal with them making fun of her. I didn’t want to be apart of it anymore. I didn’t want to be friends with my group or anyone else I knew. I saw my moms white car drive away and walked out of the school courtyard straight to Brooklyn.

I felt good about this because I didn’t have any tests today or lessons that were important at school. I could the work up easily another day. I walked a few blocks and got on the subway that leads to everywhere but here. I saw interesting faces on the subway. I saw an old wrinkly woman with three children that must have been her grandchildren. They were sitting close to her and wanted to be with their grandmother. Across from them, I saw a twenty something guy with fashionable glasses on that was listening to his Ipod and tapping his feet. I liked these people because they are different than what I know. They have a sort of mystery about them. There were lots of other people on the subway today but these are the ones that stuck out. Riding the train today made me realize how many people there are. In my own little world of Manhattan, I know everyone who my mother says "is needed to know". To her, everyone who isn’t part of our circuit is unimportant and shouldn’t be acknowledged. I thought this way too until today. I tried to solve the mysteries of people around me and make u stories about them. I like the characters I can create from people I don’t even know by just looking at them.

People watching became my favorite activity. when I sat in the old moldy cafe all alone, I made stories of the family sitting next to me, bus boys, the lonely old woman having an herbal tea and lemon, and the man who is drinking coffee nervously and going to his first day at a new job. I knew everything about their lives, their secrets and anxieties like I had been inside their head from the time they could first speak.

When I was still on the subway, I remembered that I had therapy at 7:00 pm and mother and father don’t like when I miss it. So I never exactly made it to Brooklyn. I think I just thought of Brooklyn because mother always told me to never go there. She told me it was dirty and filled with people who are not like us. This always terrified me except for that second this morning when I was headed there. During my day as a runaway I rode the subway, drank espresso in a cafe with people I don’t know, met a couple of interesting people and walked through art galleries I missed my whole life living in New York. I’m happy I ran away. I don’t want to go home tonight and see mother. I know Academy called her to say I was not at school today and I know she either won’t remember or be angry for a minute. The only thing she will care about is if I made it here. Sometimes I wonder if school is the only one that actually cares about me and what I did today. But I made it here to therapy; even when I was being rebellious I still gave in to what mother wants. I don’t want to go home tonight. I want to stay out in the new city I just discovered. I want to explore every inch and never go home.

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