June 16, 2008
By Riya Bhandari, Pleasantville, NY

There he stood his dull grey eyes soaking through my insides tearing and ripping at my heart. His fingers curling and his eyelids sinking lower onto his eyes, the manila folder crumpled in his palm stretched out in front of me. I knew it was coming, the screaming the yelling, the tears; it always came with the package. Last time I was grounded for 2 weeks, the time before that I was grounded for 1 month and the time after that I was grounded for my life. I had no idea what to expect from this, since I had already been grounded for life.
I stood there like a retarded child with my eyes glazed over in this dumbfounded expression that would make any human go possibly insane. I had once again no response. I had finished with giving excuses and blaming the teachers many years ago. Those days of sitting my parents down right before I knew the report card would come in the mail and tell them about how I may not have done great this semester, but how I plan to succeed and I will be a straight A student next quarter. Yeah I see that happening soon.
Now I could see his eyes getting larger, as his eyes raced right and left reading the comments that read, “low test and/or quizzes” or “not working to her full potential”
My body cringed at the sight of his progress, as he read deeper into the page. I just hoped that the last couple grades would be at least something worth a smile, but I was wrong once again, those dull grey eyes just kept getting bigger.
He finished reading and carefully folded the paper, placed it perfectly in the pocket of that vibrant orange folder and took a deep sigh.
I knew now this was it, this was the part that would leave my ears ringing with the screams of my father, voice echoing around the house and no kind soul to help reassure me of the lie that grades are really not that big of a deal. I could see his lips parting getting ready for the long lecture ahead and then came those words that stuck to me like a sticker,
“ I have nothing to say to you Riya”
That was it. That was it. That was all he said. He just walked away. His shoulders hunched and his head down, disappointment just oozing out from all corners of him. I couldn’t believe it, I was just about to jump up and scream but then it struck me like a slap in the face. His silence is what hit me. It what hit me across the face and made marks all over my body. I felt the insides of my body tear, I felt my body shrivel into my chair, and I felt my eyes perplexed on the shadow of my father. It had just hit me that I had actually disappointed my father. Me, Riya had just completely taken my dad’s expectations and lowered them to a bar that reached below the floor. That stupid silence is what left my ears ringing for years to come, that silence left my breath suspended, that silence is what made me close my eyes and say to myself, I had disappointed my father!

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