I have decided to branch out and try to apply for freelance writing jobs. This is a story I wrote for a job I am applying for. The job is to write graphic novels for elementary and middle school students to help them with social-emotional skills. I would be really excited to be apart of that. We shall see if they give me a chance.
Same Day, Different People
Most people get woken up by their parents in a loving way. I am not like most people. Growing up in the worst part of town with a mom who works two jobs means that I have to do everything myself. This means that if I care about being at school on time, I have to do it on my own. By the time I am downstairs each morning, the house is empty. I don’t even look in the fridge for breakfast because I don’t need any extra disappointment.
If I don’t want to ride the city bus to get to school, I have to get up early enough to catch a ride with my cousin ten blocks away. Today, I did not make it in time. I ran most of the way, but from lack of food last night and this morning, I wasn’t at my fastest speed. I saw my uncle turning the corner by the time I made it to his house. Now I had to walk back to the city bus stop and catch the next bus. Knowing that I was already going to be late means that I don’t run this time.
Being late means that I don’t get my free breakfast. Instead, I get to smell what I could have eaten as I walk the empty halls to my first-period class. Smells like I missed out on waffles.
I walk into math class whole Mr. Jones is in the middle of the lesson. I can hear kids making comments to each other about me always being late and how I was wearing the same outfit I wore yesterday. Even Mr. Jones looks annoyed with me.
“So, glad you could honor us with your presence, Kevin. Take your seat.”
I slink into my seat and hope that he doesn’t notice that I came without any stuff again. Maybe if I get low enough in my chair he will forget that I am there.
“Okay, now I want you to work out these problems now that we all understand the quadratic formula.” Mr. Jones said as he passed out worksheets.
I look on the floor around my desk and for once got lucky enough to find a dull pencil behind me. Thank God. I did not want to have to ask Calvin for a pencil again. I never return them and he is beginning to get mad and demand that I give him some pencils to pay him back. I don’t have any food in my fridge, how can I be expected to get pencils. Speaking of food, my stomach is really hurting by now. I look at the clock and see that I still have to wait three more hours until I can eat.
The next few classes are a bit of a blur. Mrs. Cobb yelled at me like always for not listening to the story. How can I pay attention when my stomach is so angry?
The best part of my day was when Kelly offered me a piece of gum in science class. That piece of gum tasted better than ice cream in that moment. Unfortunately, Mr. Grant made me spit it out. He has no idea how much that piece of gum meant to me. I didn’t want attention again, so I spit it in the trash can. I thought about buying off a tiny piece to save in my mouth, but he was watching me closely.
It was finally lunch time. Even though my stomach hurts, I was in the best mood. I didn’t even care that what awaited me was cold and had no flavor. It was going to feel like a gourmet dinner to me.
I was smiling at my tray as I walked. I would have stayed at the line shoveling it into my mouth if they allowed me to. I didn’t see Anthony walking towards me with a grin on his face. It all happened so fast. The tray was pushed into my chest, pressing all of its content on my clothes. It all went in slow motion to me, seeing my only meal for today gone in an instant. In that moment, I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to clean myself and get a new tray. So, when I got to the bathroom to clean up, I pulled pieces off of my clothes and ate it. I even locked my shirt clean. My hunger outweighed my sense of shame. I was just glad no one could see me.
Anthony was in my last two classes and he went out of his way to make it seem like I had peed on myself. Everyone knew what happened, they were all there but they laughed anyway. I wanted the time to go by fast but it seemed to be going backward.
Even after the bell rang, I still had to make my way to the bus and endure strange looks. I wish it had been cold enough to need a jacket so I could hide in it.
When I got home, I had to do my laundry since the food stained clothes were my last clean outfit. My mom isn’t around enough for me to wait for her to clean them for me. I spent the rest of the night dreading the next day and feeling my stomach begin to hurt sooner than usual. I fell asleep before my mom got home that night.
My mom used to wake me up every morning, but now she has a new job. Mom and dad want me to do things on my own now. This is ridiculous. They should be giving me all of the attention that I used to get. I mean, I am the youngest, the baby. Now it is like that doesn’t even matter anymore. Now I am lucky if mom yells into my room before she leaves for work.
I have to fight for the last bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch from my older brothers. I never win. I am stuck with cereal that only old people like. Yuck. I take a few bites and then decide that I am not that hungry. My older brother, Michael, takes me to school now. I don’t know why they make me go to this stupid school that is so small that it doesn’t even have school buses. I keep trying to make him turn off his loud music, but he never listens to me. I try to get my other brother, Jonathan to turn it down, but he is on the phone with his girlfriend. How can he hear her over that loud music? I am always forgotten in the back seat. I am surprised that Michael actually remembers to drop me off at my school.
I smile as he pulls up the school. Finally, people will listen to me. I get out of the car and Michael droves off the moment my hand lets go of the door handle. I am the biggest kid in my class. There is no way anyone wouldn’t notice that I am there, unlike at home. I see Calvin and Kelly playing Yugioh cards by the lockers like always. Calvin is different. He has ash-burgers or something like that. Which means it is so much fun to mess with him. He won’t normally let me play with them. He always has to just play with Kelly. I stopped bringing my cards anyway.
I pretend to trip on something and bump into Calvin on the floor. His cards go everywhere. I notice that he has much better cards than I do. I guess it was better that he wouldn’t let me play anyway. Calvin is mad and yelling like always. Geez, can’t he take a joke? Well, at least Kelly noticed me. Sure, she didn’t look very happy, but she doesn’t normally go out of her way to talk to me. She tells me to get lost, so I decide to go find something else to do before class.
I get to math and Mr. Jones is so boring. He actually expects us to do the math. When am I going to use math? Phones have calculators, so I have everything I need. I see that Mr. Jones isn’t in a good mood, so I decided to take a nap. My pencil was dull anyway and I didn’t feel like getting up to sharpen it. When I woke up at the end of class, my pencil was gone. I can’t believe someone stole from me. How can people be so mean?
In science class, Kelly was passing out gum while the teacher was still in the hallway. I was curious if she would include me in that generosity since I accidentally ruined her card game this morning. She walked up to me with a smile on her face.
“Anthony, do you want a piece?” she held out a stick of gum.
I didn’t want her to know that I like her, so I pretend like the gesture isn’t a huge deal.
“Yeah, I guess.”
Mr. Grant caught Kevin with a piece of gum in his mouth and forced him to spit it out. I was glad that I had stuck the gum in my pocket for later. Kevin looks really upset. I don’t get it. It is just gum. You can always get someone else to give you another piece.
We had to work with partners on the paper that was passed out. I got partnered with Calvin. I can tell that he is still mad at me but I pretend like I didn’t notice. I don’t have my pencil anymore, so I ask Calvin for one.
“Why does everyone expect me to supply all of the pencils? Why don’t you just get yours back from Kevin?” Calvin didn’t look up as he spoke. He had already begun the assignment.
“What do you mean?”
“Kevin picked up your pencil off the floor in math.”
I looked over at Kevin and there was my pencil in his hand. I can’t believe he stole from me. He is going to regret messing with me.
I get to lunch a little late as always. It gave me a chance to see where everyone is sitting and then I pick who will give me the most attention. Kevin was looking at his tray as he was walking. He was basically asking for me to do it. I accidentally tripped and just happened to bump into him. It was his fault for not looking. Plus, he still had my pencil. I didn’t see him for the rest of lunch.
When he got to class, everyone noticed the giant stains on his clothes. He still hadn’t given back my pencil, and if someone like Calvin knew that he stole from me than everyone probably knows. I had to make sure that I kept my status intact. If not, no one would give me any attention.
“Hey, Kevin! Have a little accident? Did you not make it to the bathroom?”\
The whole room was laughing. Finally, everyone is noticing me. It felt good to be seen and heard. I tried to get as much of it as I could at school to make up for not getting any at home.
When school was over, I had to wait for my brothers to come pick me up. Their school gets out later than mine. So, I tried to get as much attention as I can while people are still there. I am usually one of the last ones to get picked up.
I finally saw Michael’s car and I got my stuff. I could hear his loud music before I could even see his car. When I opened the door, I could smell fast food burgers. They had gone to McDonald’s before picking me up. They didn’t even buy me anything. That is not surprising at all.
When we got home, my parents weren’t home yet. I had to find food in the fridge to eat. Usually, my parents forget to cook real meals. I take my sandwich to my room and close the door. I spend the rest of my night playing video games alone until my mom opened the door to tell me to go to bed.
My mom woke me up like she always does. I could smell the maple syrup and bacon from my bedroom upstairs. My clothes are already picked out and put on the counter in the bathroom. It would be nice to be able to pick things out myself, but I was used to it at this point. My mom has done it my whole life. I once tried to put on something different. She just made me change, using a lot of excuses why that original outfit was better.
I ate my breakfast as I watch tv. My little sister was arguing with my mom about something. She has always been a lot bolder than I am. I would rather have everyone get along.
My mom dropped off my sister first at the elementary school campus and then me at the middle school. Every day my friend Calvin gets to school ten minutes after I do and wants to play Yugioh cards. I don’t want to play every morning but I do it for him. I think I am his only friend. I set up my cards and then I waited for him to come running down the hallway. He had a thing about starting at exactly 7:30 am. I got bored of waiting and decided to dig through my backpack. I got really excited when I realized that the giant pack of gum I bought at Target was in the front pocket. Everyone was always complaining in the class before lunch about being hungry, so I was going to give everyone a piece of gum.
Calvin came running and without an apology for showing up almost late, began to set up his cards. Calvin doesn’t greet me or look me in the eyes. I have a cousin with Aspergers, so I don’t take any of it personally. I knew that he wasn’t doing it on purpose.
After we had started battling, I saw Anthony coming towards us. I recognized that look on his face. I didn’t have enough time to warn Calvin. Anthony bumped into him and his cards went everywhere. I tried to help Calvin pick them all up while he yelled at Anthony. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but I got so frustrated that I yelled get lost. I felt bad about that for most of the day.
Most of my classes went by like they usually do. I always do my work and then any leftover time is spent helping other people. It wasn’t their fault that they don’t always understand the teacher. Teachers should explain things in multiple ways because no two students think exactly the same.
The time had come. It was science class. I waited until Mr. Grant was in the hallway talking to another teacher. I began to pass out the gum. The feeling I got when I gave someone a piece of gum and they smiled made me feel so good. I loved helping people. I knew I had to give Anthony a piece of gum in order to be fair. I still felt bad for yelling at him this morning. He shouldn’t have knocked into Calvin on purpose, but that doesn’t excuse me being rude.
I gave him the gum and he didn’t smile. Even though it didn’t seem to be a big deal to him, I still felt good giving him the gum. I sat down feeling proud of myself for being so generous and kind. Then, I saw Mr. Grant catch Kevin with the gum. I went from feeling amazing to feeling guilty. I was the reason he was getting in trouble. It made me feel horrible.
At lunchtime, I sat with Calvin like I always do. I don’t want anyone to pick on him. I wanted him to have someone to talk to. Sure, it would be nice to spice things up and sit with different people sometimes, but it was more important to be kind to someone who really needed it.
I was in the middle of talking about how my mom promised to buy me more Yugioh cards when I saw everything. Kevin was walking across the cafeteria looking down at his tray. I was looking at Kevin because I still felt guilty for getting him in trouble. Then Anthony came charging towards him like an angry bull. It all seemed to go in slow motion after that. The tray and food went all over Kevin. He looked so upset. Anthony laughed a little and made a comment about how Kevin should watch where he is going. I started to get up to help him, but he ran out of the cafeteria. So, I picked up the mess he left behind. Then I put his tray away. I couldn’t understand why Anthony chooses to be so mean. Why can’t people just get along and be kind to each other?
The rest of my day went quickly. I didn’t have any more classes with Anthony or Kevin, but I heard rumors in the hallway that Anthony told everyone that Kevin peed on himself. It is so sad how people will spread rumors even though they witnessed the truth. Everyone saw what happened.
When school ends, I have to exit the building as fast as I can. My mom was always the first car in line. I don’t even get to hang out with friends after school like most of the other kids do. My sister was already in the car and she was arguing with my mom about something. She was always trying to get mom to give her more freedom. She was in 5th grade but wanted to be treated like a high school student. I tried to ignore them and do my homework in the car. I had to have it done in time for my mom to look at it and make me fix everything.
I finished my 3rd attempt at my homework by the time it was bedtime. I was glad to be finished and go to sleep. It may take a long time, but at least I knew that when I turned it in the next day I would be getting a good grade.