If We Could Talk

If We Could Talk

My mother's familiar, comforting face awoke me like she did every morning. It was time for another day at school. Some days were better than others, and I hoped this day would prove to be one of the better days.

I was driven to the building that I never felt I belong in, awaited by Miss Yolanda. I really liked Miss Yolanda. She was nice enough, but I never understood why she was always with me. Why couldn't I be by myself? Why couldn't I go to classes like all the other kids in the school?

"Hello, Joshua," she greeted me.

"Say hello," my mother said kindly.

"Ha-low," I said, waving quickly. They both patted me on the back and offered words on encouragement. I didn't understand what had happened. It was the few words I said out loud, and it always made them react differently.

Miss Yolanda took my hand, her skin much darker than mine, and lead me through the school, yapping away.

"Did you have a good weekend, Josh?" she would ask. I made a sound that hardly meant anything to her. She laughed and continued to talk.

"I saw some girl friends of mine. We went to the movies. Goodness, lord, the prices are getting up there! They wanted to go to a late showing but you know what I said? I said 'Uh-uh girl friend! There aint no way I'm gonna pay for that!'" She seemed to be talking more to herself at this point. We arrived in the room I spent most of my day in.

"You want to finish coloring?" she asked me. I had started coloring a picture on Friday that I never finished. She placed the picture in front of me and I started at it blankly. I didn't want to color. This was childish! I was seventeen years old! I wanted to drive like the other kids. I wanted to go on dates. I wanted to be a doctor. But no one seemed to understand that. I didn't know what I could do to tell them that. I became very frustrated. I pushed the paper I had colored on away from me and yelled.

"What's the matter?" Yolanda asked. I tried to tell her what I wanted, but the sounds that came out of my mouth had no effect on her. She placed the paper back in front of me and gave me a blue crayon. Suddenly, I didn't want the blue crayon, but the red on. I pointed, and she picked up the green. I threw it across the room, feeling my face heat up. Her face changed then, and she said something, but I paid no attention.

She tried to give me another crayon, but I shook my head. I was getting so tired of this guessing game. My eyes felt funny. Why didn't she understand? I wanted to be a doctor…

I felt something drip down my face. What was it? My eyes were leaking. She wiped at my face with her hands and wrapped her arms around me. I didn't understand what was going on. Why where my eyes leaking?

The rest of the day made no difference to me. I finished my coloring and listened to Yolanda's voice as she read me stories I had heard more times then I wanted.

Finally, I was back at home, the familiar place that brought me comfort at the end of each day. My mother brought ice cream home while I was at school, and had a bowl waiting when I got home. She kissed my forehead. She seemed glad to see me. I was always glad to see her. Her lips twisted upward and a loud noise came out of her mouth when she watched me eat the ice cream. Though I didn't know what was happening, it gave me a sense of relief. Suddenly, a loud noise much like hers came out of my mouth, surprising me. I looked around, panicked, but my mother caressed my hair. It must have been okay. She was there, and that was all that mattered.

My father tried to teach me how to throw a ball after that. It made me frustrated at times, but I enjoyed watching the ball fly threw the air.

Just before bed, like I did every night, I made a silent promise to myself. I was going to be a doctor, no matter what people thought or who understood, and one day, they would finally understand.