"Mommy, why's that girl crying?" a little girl asked her mother loudly, pointing to a teenager sitting on a bench in front of the supermarket.
"Because she's sad," the mother told her daughter.
"But why?" the little girl persisted. The mother looked at the sobbing girl and all she could see were her five ear piercings and nose ring.
She turned to her daughter and said, "Because she just got her nose pierced and it hurts. That's why you should never pierce your nose, honey. Now, we have to go or else we'll be late to Grandma's. Come on," The mother and daughter left. A little while later, two laughing teenage boys walked toward the supermarket and saw the crying girl.
"Hey, why'd ya think she's crying?" one of them asked the other.
"Because she's sad." The other one answered, rolling his eyes.
"Well, I knew that," the first one responded, rolling his eyes right back, "But why?" The other boy looked at the weeping girl and all he could see was her crooked mouth, squinty eyes and red and runny nose.
He turned to his friend and said, "Because she got stood up. I mean who'd want to go out with a girl as ugly as her?" The two boys snickered as they entered the store.
Seconds later, a rich couple drove by the supermarket in their fancy new car.
"Why's that girl crying?" the wife asked her husband, pointing to the girl sitting on the bench.
"I don't know. Probably sad or something," Her husband replied distractedly, looking for cars at the intersection.
His wife sent him a look and retorted, "That's not what I meant," The husband looked at the blubbering girl and all he saw was her worn out shoes, too big of a shirt and badly patched blue jeans.
"Because she can't afford to buy her coke or meth or whatever she's on anymore," the husband said. The couple drove past.
Then, two elderly women shuffled by the weeping girl on their daily walk.
"Why do you think that girl back there is crying?" one of the ladies asked her friend.
"How should I know?" her friend snapped.
"What do you think?" the first one pressed. Her friend looked at the girl and all she saw was her smeared mascara, heavy black eyeliner, badly dyed black hair and black shirt.
"Probably skipped too much school, got kicked out of her house and can't find a job. Kids these days…" her friend muttered sadistically. The two old friends shuffled on.
The rest of the day went on as people continued to pass the crying girl in front of the supermarket, each forming their own ideas, and making their own judgment. Finally, the girl slowly stood up, wiped her runny nose and dabbed her running mascara.
Setting her face, she slowly began to walk. She walked past the house where the mother and daughter were headed in a comfortable neighborhood. She shuffled by the school the boys attended. She continued pass the theatre where the wealthy couple was currently enjoying a Broadway Musical. She dragged her feet past the small house where the elderly women lived. She kept going until she reached the poorest part of town. Her feet slowed as she neared a tiny gray house.
Taking a deep breath, she unlocked the front door and entered the house. To her relief she saw her mother passed out on the couch, a bottle of wine still clutched in her hand. The girl silently made her way into the next room where she saw her three sisters and two brothers seated.
"I got fired," The girl quietly announced.
"What?" a skinny blond asked in disbelief, her eyes wide.
"I got fired. Somebody found out I was only sixteen and that I was skipping school to go to work and told the boss. So, I got fired," She repeated, slumping against the wall, her eyes filling with tears. "I'm going to bed. I got to get up early tomorrow so I can find a job," the girl said, abruptly turning and running down the hall.
The littlest boy turned to the blond, "Cassie, why's Sarah crying?"
"Because she's sad," Cassie replied quietly.
"But why?" The little boy repeated.
Cassie saw her older sister's face and she saw the sadness, the desperate need to keep her family fed and out of social services. Cassie saw her sister's fear that she wouldn't be able to keep them all together, warm and alive, that she wouldn't be able to pay the taxes, that she wouldn't find another job. She saw how her sister had been forced to grow up too fast, and didn't know what to do, or why she had to do it, except that she was the oldest and it was her responsibility.
Cassie looked at the girl crying in front of the supermarket and saw past her piercings, facial features, clothes and makeup and instead saw a real person with real thoughts and real feelings and real responsibilities.
Cassie turned to her little brother, gave a small, sad smile and said, "Because Sarah's a real person too,"
A/N: This is my first story on this site and the only story I've ever managed to complete as well as my first story. I really hoped you liked it. Please review and tell me what you think, whether you thought it was horrible, good, bad, okay, or whatever. Also, any suggestions would be very welcome and it would also help my writing. Thanks for reading!