Am I My Color? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 13, 2013
By , Easley, SC
“What color are you, honey?” the blonde woman whispers to me. I look around my colorful kindergarten room – a place I have come to enjoy. I look where the ABCs are placed and try to ignore the question that has pierced me like a bullet. Everybody heard her, and the whole class is listening for my reply.

My hands are sweaty, and truthfully I do not know why. Nannie has told me a thousand times what to say if someone asks me this. But for some reason I cannot calm my speeding heart.

My eyes start to water, but I have to stop the tears from falling. I have to find something to occupy my mind because all the kids are now turned to me, asking with their big, innocent eyes the same question the teacher just asked: What color is Anna?

Do I have to be a color? Am I not just Anna?

I watch the way Josh is reacting. Just yesterday he asked to be my boyfriend. Now he watches me with a strangely intense stare for a five-year-old. The class is waiting for me to say the wrong thing. Deny I am white, I am a horrible person. Deny I am black, I am just as shameful, if not worse.

“Sweetheart?” she prompted.

“I'm … I'm mixed,” I say looking at the floor tiles. I have never felt shame before, but today I feel the full sting of rejection from the faces around me.

“Is your mom white?” she asks with her fake, understanding smile and fancy clothes.

“Yes. Can I go to the bathroom? I really have to go,” I say quickly, trying to save myself from further embarrassment. As I slouch to the bathroom I hear the teacher sigh and quietly remark to the teacher's aide, “That poor child is going to be that way her whole life. It isn't going to be easy, I'll tell you that.” The teacher seems unhappy that I am “that way.”

What way? I wonder as I walk to the bathroom. I can't help but feel the burning of the other kids' eyes on my back.

After I hear the soft click of the door, I plop down on the cold tile and burst into sobs. Why am I this way and nobody else? Why did everybody stare at me? What is wrong with me? Why does everybody have a right to an opinion about me?

I am no longer just Anna. I am Anna with a color.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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