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14 February 2010

People are People (a response to Bruce Coville quotation)

      I hear Destiny's father yelling at her after the game.  "I see all these other girls--smart girls, pretty girls, athletic girls--and I think, wow.  Why is my daughter the stupid, ugly, lazy one?  What did I do to deserve such a horrible bitch of a daughter?"  My heart stops.  It's not like Destiny is any girl.  She is one of my all-time favorite people in the world.  She is ridiculously nice, and shockingly interesting.  She has a perspective of the world that no one else has; she once told me, "I cannot understand how people can treat others without respect.  Everyone--every single person--deserves respect until they do something that causes them to lose others' respect.  People are people.  How can a person think he or she is worth more than another?" I watch Destiny as her father continues to yell at her.  At one point, we look into each others' eyes, worry all over my face, a blank stare upon hers.  Slowly, unnoticeably, she shakes her head and mouths, "Don't worry."
     The next day, Destiny is not at school.  I ask Mrs. Brown where she is, but Mrs. Brown doesn't know.  None of the teachers have heard anything.  Days pass and still, no one hears anything of her.  A week later the principal calls us into the auditorium.  She stands behind a podium, looks out unto her students and shudders as she tells us, Destiny Johnson is dead. 
      Everything freezes.  The world stops spinning.  The principal never explicitly says how she dies.  But my heart knows....her father... Her own father killed her.  And my heart knows it's my fault.  Though I know her father is no longer yelling at her, the image of him and his words constantly replay through my mind.  And then the principal replays, "Destiny Johnson is dead."  My heart aches.
      That night, Destiny surrounds me in my dreams.  As I wake, I attempt to pull her back to life with me, but she remains caught in between reality and my dreams... She is a part of the old reality, but can never be a part of the new.  For the next few days, I stay awake only so I can fall back to sleep.  I live only so I can see Destiny while I dream.  Every morning when I wake, I pull at her, but she escapes my grasp... She leaves me alone every time, just like I left her alone.  "Don't worry." She told me.  And I believed her. 

      Time passes.  I spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming about Destiny.  One day, I go to the grocery story.  When I check out, a man with a clear mental disability bags my groceries.  I used to roll my eyes and wince as baggers with disabilities squished bread into bags already too full, as they put cans on top of eggs.  The man looks at me, with something almost like shame upon his face.  But now, I don't see something messing up my groceries.  I see a man doing what he can in a society that doesn't accept him.  I see a person, deserving of all the same things I deserve.  I smile at him kindly.  If he weren't bagging my groceries, I'd be doing it myself.  
      After dreaming of Destiny for months, her words have become tattooed on my heart, "People are people."
      And I believe her.

1 comment:

  1. That was a touching post...Its true, that parents tend to compare their kids with other kids of their age...and this at times really weighs up the poor kid...I remember, my mom always saying..IF SHE COULD>.WHY CANT U...I used to wonder When I was 5 number below the other girl, there were 20 below me...WHy was my mom ignoring those 20...But then, when my bro was big enough to understand things, mom started comparing him with me...IF UR SIS CAN DO>>THEN WHY CANT U...and now I much would my brother might have hated me then...

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