Terrorist! Monkey! Half-breed! They labeled me these names unapologetically because of my mixed heritage. My father was Black and my mother was Persian. Children in Janice Field were cruel no thanks to their ill-bred parents. I couldn’t go into town without the barrage of words assaulting my ears. What was a kid to do but run away and cry? My brother’s got into fistfights due to kids bullying me over my skin color and foreign appearance. They teased that my eyes and lips were too big, that I reminded them of a toad.
What I know for sure is that my sister’s were embarrassed that I lived in the same house as them. My presence caused them to be ripped apart by their classmates. I remember one evening I asked to be excused after finishing dinner to take a bath. That was the best bath ever after helping mom and dad around the farm. I had sore muscles like you wouldn’t believe.
As a nine year old, my duties were to collect eggs from the hens, clean and replace fresh straw for the nest boxes. Cracked or broken eggs were to be discarded. Sometimes dad let me go with him to harvest cucumbers, spinach and ears of corn.
So, after I bathed and dressed in my pajamas, I tracked down the winding staircase to say goodnight to mom and dad when I heard my sister’s Shelley and Maria talking about me.
“Mom, things have gotten difficult for us since everyone knows London is living with us.”
“Yeah,” Maria chimed in, “they know she’s not family and they tease us saying she’s a terrorist.”
“It’s not fair we have to suffer because of her. Can’t you find somewhere else for her to go? She has to have other family members.”
I shrank inside and never had I felt so lonely as I did in that moment. I hadn’t stuck around to find out what other thoughts they held about me for being here. Since they wanted me gone, that’s what they were going to get. Climbing the top step, I slunk back to my room closing the door behind me.
I crossed the midnight room and climbed on the chest that held some of my arts and crafts that was set in front of the window and I remembered staring up at the sky, stars dotted through an obsidian eternity. How nice would it be to live in a place where time didn’t exist? I wouldn’t have to hurt, or be in the way, or cause others to suffer. Swinging back the latch, I lifted the window as a cool breeze teased my skin. I stepped out on the sloped roof and flung myself down.
Brice flew down the stairs as their father was laying into Maria and Shelley.
“You shut your mouths! Right this instant! Do you have any idea what you’re saying! Do you?” Before Andrew continued to berate this daughter’s for their insolence, his attention was yanked to the ceiling. He looked up and frowned. “What was that?”
“Dad!” Brice shouted as he hit the last step and rounded the corner into the kitchen.
“It’s London! She… I went..the window!”
“Calm down and breath. Tell me what happened.”
“I went to check on her and she jumped out of the window!”
“What?” Andrew’s eyes bugged out of his head as he scrambled to the front door and tore outside. Brice trailed his father searching the side of the house where he found the window open. “London!”
“London, where are you?” Brice returned.
They were scrambling around until Brice nearly tripped over my foot. I was found under a rose bush complete with thorns. Luckily for me, I hadn’t felt a thing.
“Go back in and get the keys.”
“Did dad find her?” Shelley inquired.
“Is she alive?” Maria whimpered.
Frowning at his sister’s, he just knew this had to be their doing. “Whatever you did or said…if London doesn’t make it through this, you both have blood on your hands.” Stalking past the kitchen into the living room, Brice found the keys to their dad’s truck then met him outside.
“I’m going with you.”
“Once we get London in the truck, keep her head steady. She’s breathing so let’s keep her that way.”
Brice nodded and they set off toward the hospital.
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