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Skin pulled away from around my eyes, my fingers were stiff and curled. I couldn’t wait to get out of that car. My feet kept fighting in the small patch of car floor I was given.
“Thera, are you alright?” My mother voice was like a battle between styrofoam.
“Give me a second.” My eyes shot directly in front of me. As an eleven year old white girl in a terrible south Texas middle school, you have to deal with a lot of bullshit but this was the straw that broke the camel's back.
We pulled into the driveway and my mouth began to peel open. I couldn’t help it. I scratched at my face, hoping the words wouldn’t come out. At least not so violently.
“I hate her! I hate her! I hate her!” Each beat like a blow into a horn. I threw my backpack to the washer as soon as we entered the house. I could feel my face getting warmer and warmer.
“Like a volcano.” I thought “That’s about to explode.” My mom rushed after me as I walked through the kitchen. Our kitchen was so small, so walking through it was only few steps. It used to be so blue, the walls, the plates… but now all I saw was red.
“Hate who?” My mother pushed her voice like she wish she didn’t have to ask. I am the oldest and my mother had often found it difficult dealing with me as a ‘tween’. She never knew what wouldn’t upset me or how to get me to calm down. Later I noted it as, walking on eggshells. This emotion that was splurring out of me was her worst nightmare but that was until what happened next. The thing she hadn’t even considered.
“Ms. Gunter!” I screeched. “Ms. Gunter, Mom!” My mother's’ face relaxed and she looked down. She was no fan of Ms. Gunter either. “Ms. Gunter is the worst teacher that can ever be! She doesn’t even teach us. It’s just worksheet after worksheet. Does she even know what teaching is?! What it means!? It means to TEACH mom! It means to TEACH!.”
I couldn’t control it now. The mouth had ripped open and the words were darting out, only to be thought through later. My lips were moving faster than my thoughts. My body was shaking with each syllable.
“How did she even get hired?! She doesn’t even try! Or listen! She doesn't teach!! I am forced by the law to go to this stupid school to learn. The purpose of being there is to learn and prepare me! I’m not going to be prepared! I’m not even learning anything! God, I-” Let’s take a moment here. You see, I was eleven years old, about four feet and a generous 7 inches. I was tiny, like a skeleton with skin. And here I was, bursting with hot steaming color, dancing in ultimate anger. Like an idiot. So I was not helping my case when the next word that dared to slither out my lips was one that was so poisonous, it nearly made my mother drop dead.
For the sake of innocent ears I will replace it with something more appropriate but just know, I said a word sharper than any blade and no mother would want to hear from their 11 year old daughter.
“I-I FUDGEING HATE HER!” I only found out that I said it by the paleness of my mother's face. Her jaw fell and her entire face looked as though it was dripping to her chest. Slowly, her bottom lip made it’s way to the upper one.
“What did you just say?” Her voice was like wind amongst dandelions, trying to to blow off the fur.
“What?” The thoughts only started to run up to my head. I said… what did I say?
“You said you-what- hate her?” The eyebrows on my mother's face began to reach away from each other.
“No.” She gulped. “You said the F-word.” It’s like she wasn’t sure herself.
I couldn’t remember what I had said but one word did tant me. It wasn’t the F-word though. It was the C- word, cruise. That’s right, we were about to go on a cruise! I thought, “Crap! I can’t get in trouble, then I won’t be allowed to go on the cruise!” No longer did it matter what was actually said. I had to get out of it.
“No I remember it now mom.” I stood straight and spoke with clear affliction. “I definitely said ‘Freaking’.”
“No you didn’t.” She was getting angry now… very slowly the eyebrows started to get closer.
“Yes, I-” The thoughts came up now, it was a little clearer. I heard it in my head and looked back at my mom. I definitely did not say freaking.
“Uhh…” I started but didn’t know how to finish. Should I apologize?
“Uhh…” I began again. My mouth was still open but words no longer wanted to spit out. I was trapped and the heat starting melting my brain. The tears seeped from my eyes. My mom was starting to gather herself and with one stern look her voice became a sand storm.
“Room. Now.” She lifted her hand and shook her finger in the direction of the stairs. I ran like I never had before. My feet like rushed wind up those stairs. I ran into my room but that simply wasn't enough. I needed to hide more. I needed to get away further.
There, so inviting, stood my closet. Small, some may have thought but I was an eleven year old girl. To me, it was a room further away, further into hiding. I dove into the dirty clothes and shut off the lights. I sat there, covering myself with my blue t shirt with a sunrise across it. I wouldn’t be able to go on the cruise… My parents were going to disown me… I wouldn’t have money… I’m going to have to run away! Then the drug guys that I see on tv are going to get me!
I couldn’t take it. I had to go back. Beg for mercy. I seeked this forgiveness so deeply for I could be swept away without it. I didn’t realize how long it had been. So many worries I had put through my head. It was already dinner time when I stood from my wrinkled clothes, wiped off my tears and marched out to the light of my bedroom, down the stairs and into the kitchen.
My whole family stood there, dancing around, putting food on their plates. Music rang through out the room and with it they skipped and sang. If this was my intervention, it would be such an odd one.
“Are you going to join us for dinner?” My mother asked as she scooped up mashed potatoes from the bowl and splashed them on her plate.
“Umm… sure?” I questioned. Was this some sort of test? Or was it all a dream?
So I served myself dinner and I moved my hips to the beat. We talked and laughed and had our family dinner. As if it never happened, well until…
“You will not believe what Thera said today.”