My body is serene but humanity seems hectic. I lay hushed in bed, listening to my parents bicker, it seems like second nature because it happens so often these days. My tear ducts fill as mom rants about the fact we are barely subsisting, living pay check to pay check. The air becomes calm as my parents head out to survive another day, well try to at least. Deliberately I unravel my pale white body from within my cotton sheets and clamber out of bed, wiping my eyes which are sore and raw from crying. My feet feel heavy as I saunter towards the kitchen. Past due bills fill the counter and unwashed dishes line the sink. ”looks like we are living in an abandoned shack” I say quietly to myself. The clock now reads 8:16, school starts in 34 minutes. Rummaging through the sparsely filled fridge I pull out a gala apple which is half bruised to munch on before the bus arrives. My hunger is rarely satisfied, in fact kids at school keep asking me if I’ve lost weight. I reply to this simple query with ‘yea I’ve been watching what I eat or yea I’ve been running lately’ to cover up the actual truth. The last thing I need is for my peers to bully or treat me different just because of issues at home. Noticing the time ,I scurry out the door and jog through the verdant ankle high grass towards the bus stop. The smell of morning fills the air, crisp and stimulating. I inhale trying to free my corpse of negative contagion. Moments later the large yellow machine pulls up and the double glass doors screech open. I climb the five stairs which lead me to my seat, it some what resembled a chair you’d imagine to be in a horror movie, so tattered and smelly. Before I know it the bus makes its 1st stop, Archbishop Oleary High School. My school.
Surprisingly being stuck in this so-called ‘dungeon’ and attending advanced placement courses is the least of my worries. With troubles at home and drama between friends I’m not really sure what I should focus on. My definition of school is much different from most 17 year olds in grade 12. You may call it a waste of valuable time but to me its the complete opposite. A place of tranquility, a place to come and find peace, a place where I can be educated and escape the troubles of home life.
The bell rings and I head to my first block being careful not to let myself go. Looking around at the bulletin boards displaying art kids created makes me tense up knowing that no matter how meager the project looks it will be taken home and cherished with one 9 letter word, ‘beautiful’. I take a seat next to Becky my best friend and the only one who knows whats going on, whats actually happening. She brushes her golden blonde hair away from her face and possesses the ‘honey I’m here for you’ look along with the comforting smile I always look forward to. Mrs. Genova storms in and like always puts us to work “Your social justice and human rights assignment will be due for tomorrow class, along with the global wealth and power essay” Almost all the faces in the room turn blank and everyone starts panicking, nothing far from the norm. Of course I follow my peers demeanour and pretend the homework causes a great difficulty to my extra curricular life, even though its apparent I don’t have one.
At 2:36 my last class ends and I usually just walk home, but today Jack a boy from my physics class offered to take me. Jack and I have known each other for a few years but we’ve never been more than just friends. Ive always been the one to ‘friend zone’. Why would I want to be loved or love someone who’s just going to break my heart anyways? The moment I jumped into his rusted black dodge truck he greeted me with a warm smile which was perfected by two dimples on the sides of his cheeks. ‘Flawless’ I couldn’t help but think. We drove around for a bit until he finally said “Hey Mia, I’ve kinda been watching you for the last few weeks, I know that sounds creepy but I feel like somethings wrong. Do you wanna talk about it?”
Silence suddenly filled the air, my throat started to narrow, mere seconds later I was hunched over sobbing. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. “Sooner or later people were going to find out I muttered, I tried to put a brave face on and just deal with it but I can’t any longer. I need to find help” Jacks muscular arms wrap around me, such a comforting embrace. He carefully pulls back the strawberry blonde hair off of my face and rubs my eyes dry. “I may have an idea” he responds in a deep raspy voice.
I hear the exhaust pipe sputter as we jet down the main drag. Its like were in a rocket ship being blasted into space. Green bushy trees line the lane way and lush flowers are potted in front yards. His hazel brown eyes meet mine which are corral blue, such an ideal gene I’ve inharited, as we both express how beautiful spring is. With the loud screech of the brakes we make a jolting stop in front of what looks to be a community centre. I look up and read the bold blue and yellow sign: A2J YOUTH MINISTRY
“Come on, why did you bring me here of all places? The last thing I need is for everyone to see me.”
“These people are here to help. I remember last year about this time I was suffering from psychological pain. My counsellor recommended this youth group and it has really helped me. Just give it a try, you never know.”
* * *
I have now attended the Youth group for 8 weeks straight. The sessions are kept confidential and the advisors are sympathetic. Home life hasn’t really changed but when i’m feeling stressed I always pray:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change , the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.