Grace:All my life I was what you might call fragile. Weak. Pushed against walls. Brushed by. Invisible to everyone. I’d come home and sit at the kitchen table and cry to my mama who listened to my pointless self-pity with an understanding face. She’d look me in the eye after I’d finish slobbering all over the place and say:
“Gracie, the Lord made you special. He has a plan for you, even though you don’t know it. Someday, you’ll be wonderin’ why you were ever so upset.”
It was the same speech, but comforting to hear each time. The same story happened every week, sometimes two days in a row. I’d have a mental breakdown and my mama would keep a calm face, telling me those words of wisdom as though I’d forgotten them.
One day, Mama left a note on the fridge saying she had gone grocery shopping and would be back soon. I felt fine that afternoon; it was Friday after all and things winded down since the miserable beginning of the week. I found the mail on the counter and while sifting through it, I discovered a pretty little envelope with my name on it. It had no return address, but I assumed it was from a relative or family friend. I opened it carefully and pulled out a one-sided card the size of an index card, inviting me to a game. Spin the Bottle. I read it over. Then I realized that this was not just any game. It was a special game that seniors participated in every year. Josh Anderson was hosting it this time.
I thought that the card was a practical joke. No one in our class knew anything about me other than my name. I was bullied almost every day by a very tall and big, white basketball player, Chase. He was the only senior who paid attention to me. He’d call me names like “chocolate mop” and “ghetto girl.” I never knew that my color could become something people would tease me about. Mama always said to be proud of my beautiful cultures: African-American and Jamaican.
“You hold your head high, girl,” she’d say, “And embrace who you are.”
I stared at the card one more time. I knew that this was my chance to finally become the person I always wanted to be recognized as: me.