Thursday, October 7, 2010


I sat in math class scrunched down in the desk, my arms pulled tightly against my sides and my eyes diverted to the numbers littered across the worksheet. Quietly I read the numbers littered across the page and pretended to understand. Raising my hand to ask for help would be out of the question. Taking up less physical space meant that my presence would be noticed that much less.

Mr. Lindon called my name. I looked up, alarmed by the attention he inadvertently cast on me, and stumbled through giving a cohesive answer. "Correct," he said, "if we were on that question. Try number 13, not number 3." I heard Leslie whisper something behind me, probably to Frank. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on number 13. Then came the giggles, slowly spreading around the room.

I felt my eyes become moist. Shakily I started to answer number 13. Mr. Lindon interrupted to tell the class to quiet down. I began again. "The hypotenuse of the triangle would be...." I stopped cold. The whole class was laughing without restraint. Leslie had blurted something out and I was pretending not hear it, just as Mr. Lindon was doing.

It wasn't true. I knew that, but knowing the truth didn't make me feel any better. The truth was much darker and scarier. How could I possibly explain to them that last night I'd sat behind my bedroom door distracting my sisters from crying while listening to my mother begging for mercy from the beating? How could I tell them that the water had been shut off for three weeks and my aunt only allowed us to shower at her house on the weekends when my father would disappear? That it was unlikely it would be turned back on in the foreseeable future? How could the teachers not notice that things were terribly wrong even though I managed to get good grades? School was suppose to be my escape from the poverty and abuse, not an unhappy addition.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

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