This piece placed first for middle school writing submissions in the 2022 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to respond to the open prompt “I’ve Got Something to Say.” The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing, spoken word, and art.
"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." by Marcus Aurelis.
I walked into the kitchen, hoping no one was there. I grabbed a bag of chips from the cabinet, when my cousin walked in looking at me and the bag of chips in my hands.
“Haven’t you eaten enough?” she said in a somewhat judgemental tone. I looked at her unfazed by what she just told me and walked past her with the chips in my hand.
When I got to my room, I closed the door behind me and sat down on my bed. I began negotiating with myself. Should I eat the chips or not? After a while, I threw them in the trash…even though they would have been the first meal I had all day. But that’s not what she saw.
As I finished my independent work, I looked at the clock in the back of the classroom realizing there was only 20 minutes left until dismissal. I raised my hand to get Ms Rodrgiuez’ attention. When I handed Ms. Rodriguez the paper, the bruise on my arm from last night was very visible. I looked up at Ms. Rodriguez and smiled as I moved my
hand under the table trying to hide the bruise. I kept wondering about what Ms. Rodriguez would do. It wasn’t a surprise that she just smiled at me when she saw the bruise, since she never asked her students how we were doing.
When I got home, I noticed bottles on the living room table and my mother on the floor passed out like always. As I walked past her, she moved and I got scared that I had woken her up. When I saw that her eyes were wide open, I ran towards the stairs worried and scared that this is how I am supposed to live the rest of my life.
As I finished my homework I looked at the clock reading 2:57 a.m., knowing I only had 4 hours left until I had to go to school. I layed in bed letting sleep take over me. 4 hours later, I was exhausted, but I had to drag myself out of bed to get ready for school.
When I arrived, I walked into my first class and saw that we had papers on our desks that read Test 5-06-2021. I started to panic because if I fail this test, my parents may get really mad at me. Once the test started, my hands were shaking and my head was all over the place. After 30 minutes of just staring at the paper, I felt like going to the restroom to calm down. I started to walk towards the teacher, but I froze. My teacher called my name a few times, my friend Lilah was staring at me, and so were other students. Then, my vision turned blurry “We need some help in here” was the last thing I heard, before I fell on the floor and my vision went black.
I was irritated when I saw my cousin enter the kitchen because it was the fifth time she had come down. Every time she went in she would take a long time and would come out with a glass of water. I finally got the urge to get up and tell her something. As I walked into the kitchen, I saw that she had grabbed a bag of chips.
I look at her and then I look at the chips. I then said the only thing that came to mind so she would stop distracting me from my work. “Haven’t you eaten enough?” My cousin looked at me as if she was tough and nothing could hurt her. When she walked past me, I just hoped that she wouldn’t come back down again.
While my students were working on their independent work, I saw a hand raise up. I noticed it was one of my quietest students. When I reached her, she handed me her work and the sleeve of her sweater slid down to reveal a bruise. The bruise was a discolored red, mixed with purple, and a bit of yellow. I tried to brush it off and gave her a soft smile and walked off trying not to worry. After class, my mind went back to her bruise.I remembered it wasn't the first time I saw her with one.
As I was getting ready to go home I was debating whether or not to call her parents to check if she was okay. At last, I came to the conclusion of calling social services instead, hoping I could help her or to make sure she was safe.
When I saw my best friend enter the class, I tried to get her attention to ask her something about the test since she was smart and I was anxious. Instead, she just walked past me as if I was a ghost. She looked more tired than usual, but she is a straight A student so she was probably up late studying for the test today.
After the teacher announced that we could start, everyone started to panic after looking at the questions. I glanced over at her hoping that she could help me, but instead she just stared at the paper calmly as if she was already done. After a while, she got up and walked towards the front of the class. I looked at her and shook, thinking that she was already turning in the test even though I was still not half way through. She stopped in front of the desk, turned back to look at me, and then suddenly she collapsed to the ground.