Story by Jasmine Grant
Illustration by James Hull
I came to this school with high hopes. I was looking forward to a new beginning. My mother stopped babying me and I felt myself growing into a young man. My legs grew a little longer, My feet got a lot bigger, and my voice had become “Barry White like”, at least that’s what my father told me. I figured if the ladies liked it then I won’t mind it at all. The ladies didn’t like me and neither did the fellas, so never mind my voice.
When I spoke everyone turned around and stared. I could feel their eyes on my back making my neck catch fire like they had heat vision. After a while I stopped participating. It caused me anxiety. It wasn’t the thought of I might be wrong about this answer. It was my peers. They looked at me with so much disdain that they didn’t have to open up their mouths to tell me about myself.
When one of them decided to speak to me he said “ Hey lets play hang-man”. Before we could start 2 other students joined us. We were laughing and telling jokes. I smiled that morning. The girl who had joined called my name. She called it twice. “Lawrence, Lawrence”. I turned around, I smiled, and I said yeah, what’s up? “ Your ugly”. I stared into her eyes, confused. Just a moment ago we were cool. We were laughing and telling jokes.
I replied “Okay”.
What else was I supposed to say? What else was I supposed to do? I should just kill myself. I should get hit by a bus or jump in front of a train. I couldn’t get those thoughts out of my head. I couldn’t focus.
“ I’m sorry” she said smiley and giggly like she wasn’t really sorry for calling me ugly but sorry that she did it in front of others instead of revealing my atrocities to me in a more private setting like maybe pulling me into the staircase and whispering to me those exact words “ your ugly” would have made it better.
The bell rang. Everyone left their seats except for me. Well I got up, went to the door, opened it and walked into a crowd of students moving left and right rapidly.
My body was alive and well. I could walk, I could hear the sound a hundred voices, I could see the EXIT that lead to the lunchroom, and I could feel the wind of a hundred students passing me by. I couldn’t feel my soul. I dug deep inside myself but there was nothing there to hold on to.
I walked through the hallways until I found the classroom with the hangman on the board.
I glanced up at the clock on the wall. It was 11:45. Lunch was about to end soon. I brought my eyes down slowly to look out the window. I seen my face in the reflection. There’s nothing wrong with it I thought but then I seen my hair. It was braided into corn rows. They look like doo-doo braids I thought. And my eyebrows were so bushy. I should get them waxed, well waxing is only for girls right?? My bottom lip poked out just a tiny little bit. It looked kind of weird from the side.
Maybe I am unattractive but I’m not but I don’t Know.
I rested my eyes on the desk and the boy was gone. There was a feeling of regret, doubt, and unhappiness growing inside of me. A seed had been planted and a cloud came over me. I wanted the rain to wash the pain away. Instead it drowned me in it.