The Journey Of Zya | Teen Ink

The Journey Of Zya

July 1, 2014
By ShantelTheAuthor BRONZE, North Carrollton, Mississippi
ShantelTheAuthor BRONZE, North Carrollton, Mississippi
4 articles 0 photos 13 comments

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If you think you can do it go for it!

“Achoo!” I sneeze. I pick up a Kleenex and wipe my running nose. “Girl, you is sick as a dog,” mama says, as she shakes her head. “You need to stay home today. I’ll have to call my job, and ask for the day off so I can take care of you.” she says disappointed. Mama hated missing work. Well let me rephrase that, she can’t miss work. We can’t afford to. Our bills are piling up, and now that I am seventeen years old, it’s time that I start to help out. When I get over this flu, I’m going to look for a job. “Ma, I’m seventeen years old. I can take care of myself.” “You have a bad fever. I need to stay and I need to stay home to see if you get any sicker. Judging by your temperature, it’s looks like you’re not getting any better.” I sneeze again.

Mama was right I’m getting worse. I’ve been like this for a couple of months now. I have the flu it’ll go away and it’ll show up again. Mama been insisting that I go to the doctor, but I tell her no. that’s a medical bill that we don’t need. Whatever is wrong with me I’ll just have to work through it. I hope nothing is seriously wrong with me. I have to put on a brave front for ma. She has to work. We need the money too much. “Ma, just go to work, I’ll be fine. If anything is wrong I’ll call you.”

Mama gets a frustrated look on her face. Her forehead is in a wave of stressed out wrinkles. Even with her face is a frustrated look, she still looks like a beauty queen. She has caramel color skin, light brown eyes, long brown hair, and she is the only woman that can pull off a gold tooth. Although she has aged, you can tell that she used be heart breaker in her younger years. “Okay, you can stay home, but if things gets worse you call me.”

“Okay.” Mama walks out the door, firmly closing it behind her. I let out a relieved sigh. On the inside mama really didn’t want to miss work. Later on, I heat p some soup. I try to force myself to eat, but I can’t keep nothing down. I fell really nauseated. I hate it when I’m sick like this! I look at the clock, Ma will be home in another hour. I clean up my mess in the kitchen and I sit on our worn down couch. I turn on the old TV.

I watch a couple episodes of “Good Times” until Ma comes through the door. “Hey baby,” she greets tiredly. She drops her heavy black purse on the floor, and sinks down in our semi-new lazy boy chair. “I am so tired, we had a big lunch and early dinner rush. My feet are killing me! How are you feeling baby?” My stomach is doing flips, my head is hurting and feels clogged up. I can barley breathe. “I’m feeling much better. I think I can go to school tomorrow.” “That’s great. I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Soon after she doses off. I turn off the TV, and I put a blanket over her.

The Next Day

I pull a brush through my thick black hair. Ma used to say that my hair got a mind of its own. I usually just put my hair into a ponytail and call it a day. Sometimes I wear it in a style. I guess when I want to fit in with all the other girls at school I wear it in a little style. Just hoping to get a boy’s attention for once. I stare in the mirror to see a five foot seven girl, with hazel eyes, long black hair, and a womanly physique.

Ma always say, “?Honey, you gotta love ya self, cause if you don’t love yourself then nobody else will either.” In an instance I’m over the toilet and I’m heaving blood. What in the world……. I flush the toilet and clean up the blood. If Ma saw this she’ll take my butt to the hospital for sure. I hurry back into my room, and change into a different shirt. Lord please let me get over this flu or whatever this is. I take a seat at the kitchen table. Ma, comes into the kitchen for her usual cup of coffee and piece of toast.

“I heard you up early this morning. I must say I was shocked. It usually takes an army to wake you up early in the morning.” “Yeah, I decided that I missed school enough, and I just wanted to get back today, Catch up on some work.” Ma looks at me suspiciously. “Well I’m glad that you are so anxious to get back to school.” She looks at her watch. “Time for us to get going.” Ma and I walk down the stairs together from our apartment building, and we go our separate ways.

I’m dreading school. I have a past demon there that I don’t want to face. The school is now in my view. I have every nerve to turn around and take my butt home. I have to do this. Me missing school ain’t gonna make my situation no better. I can’t keep missing school. I walks slowly up the steps, and I pass a few whispering kids.

I know they’re whispering about me. Last time I was here, which was about three weeks ago, everyone was saying that I was pregnant. Just because a person miss a lot of school doesn’t mean they’re pregnant. People have been saying this for four months now. I haven’t gain a proud. If anything I’m getting smaller. People are so ignorant. I walk glumly through the small crowed hallway. I dodge a flying football that almost hit me in the head.
I see my locker and I edge through a couple walking down the hallway together. “So, you don’t know nobody no more?” asks a voice behind me. A familiar one. I pretend to be focused on getting my locker open. “I guess not.” I reply back. “Come on Zya, you know I still got love for you. But you knew that I wasn’t looking for a committed relationship. You were great.” Those words of his stung.

They reminded me that for one time I let my guard down. He led me to believe that I could trust him. I let him get all up in my hand and made me make a stupid choice. He went around the school spreading around that he took my virginity. I said to myself that I wouldn’t never do that again. I open my locker, and get my Biology book out, and slam my locker close. I turn to him. “You know Jamal……for the record you wasn’t nothing to brag about.” I leave him standing there.

The rest of the day at school, was torture. Pure torture. First my best friend Raina wasn’t here so I was pretty much alone, and my flu was weighing heavy on me. I was lost and I couldn’t keep up with the lessons. I was so sick that I decided to sleep through the rest of the school day. The bell rang to let us out for the day, and I was ready to go home. The bed was calling my name. I reach the apartment building, and I see Ma standing outside. “Hey, we gotta take a trip to the grocery store. I ani’t got nothing to cook in there.” I let out a tired and defeated sigh. I really just want to sleep. Our neighborhood is like any other.

I see the same old people everyday. Ma and I past the local wino. He’s always asking for a dollar. We pass the old basketball hoop that potential, talented kids play at. The heat was staring to get to me, and my forehead started to sweat a little. Ma and I walk into the cool, air conditioned store and she pick up a basket. I trial slowly behind Ma. “Come-on girl. Walk up!” she calls after me. It feels like my strength is leaving me and my vision is blurry.

Everything goes black. My eyes open up and I find my self looking at Ma in a chair. I look down at my and see Ivs stuck in them. How did we get in the hospital? “Ma,” I call out weakly. She’s sound asleep. I clear my dry throat. “Ma.,” I call out again louder, but hoarser. Her eyes open in alarm. She hurries out of the chair and rush to my side. “Zya. are you alright?” she asks, her voice cracked like she was crying. “Yes, but what happened to me. All I remember is that I was in the grocery store.”

“You passed out. The ambulance came and took you to the hospital. I was so worried about you. I think I cried the whole time.” All I could think about was this big hospital bill we was gonna have to pay. A doctor comes in with a forced smile on his solemn face. He was about in his mid forties, blonde hair that was turning grayish. His skin was pale, and his white over coat and Khaki was creased perfectly. I bet he’s married. “So, how are we doing Zya?” “I’m fine.”

“Well looks like you had a bad case of the flu, you was dehydrated, and there as something else, when we had took blood. Turns out you’re H.I.V. positive.” That forced smile was replaced with a genuine sorrowful face expression. “W-what did you just tell me?! Ain’t now way I got H.I.V!” I hear my mama’s body shaking cries. Tears start to fall from my eyes. “No! NO! NO!”I scream. “You’re a liar! How dare you?” I put my head in my hands and cry and think about how stupid I was. I was only one time! My first time! How could this happen to me. How can I survive this?! “Lord no! Lord No! No, not my baby!” Mama is screaming between her body shaking cries.

Two Months Later

“Girt get out of that bed right now?” ma demands. “No, I don’t want to go to school. I don’t want to see HIM!” “Well, boohoo. So what you got H.I.V. You gonna let this stop you from living your life?” I pull the cover from over my head. For the past two months I’ve been a mess, and Ma never bothered me until now. “Ma, why are you doing this to me?” “Look girl you ani’t dead today and you going to school. Now get up and get dressed.” “Ma I’m dying for crying out loud!” I exclaim desperately.

“So, people die everyday.” She was cold hearted. A stone. “I just can’t go.” “Yes you can and you will. Look baby you can’t let his stop you from living. You have what millions of other people have and they still get up and live life. Now let’s go and I’m not going to tell you again.” I began to cry. I didn’t want to face school. I’m not ready for the judgment or the idiotic behavior I will endure.

“Ma, I don’t want to go to school. I’m not ready.” I plead. “I know you’re not, but you got to go anyway. This is your last year, and you only got a couple of months left. Don’t pay attention to what these stupid people think or say about you. You just need to work on being and staying healthy.” I roughly wipe my running nose with a Kleenex.

I push back my cover and walk into the bathroom. I cried. I cried the whole time I had to get dressed. I cried all the way until I got to the door. Ma was waiting for me. She pulled me into a big bear hug. “Good luck Zya. I love you so much. When you walk out this door, you will have to forgive yourself, and be happy again. I know that this is not what you want to hear right now, but you could use this to change people’s lives. You have to love yourself faults and all.” she gives me a kiss on the forehead.

I’m late for school. I stand outside the door. I can hear all the kids and the bell rings for first period. I place my shaking, nervous hand on the door handle. This is it. Come one Zya, if you don’t face them you will never will. You gotta be strong.

I feel strong. Ever since this thing happened I felt stronger. I walk into the school, and I feel overwhelmed, and my nervousness is kicked into overdrive. I walk into the busy hall as students get their remaining book and rush off to their classes before the tardy bell rings. As I walk to my locker I feel everyone of their eyes on me. I force my self to keep my head up and I keep walking. “So, is it true?” Raina ask me. Her brown eyes are filled with hope. Hope that her best friend isn’t sick.

“Yes, it’s true.” I answer. “I’m so sorry Zya. Are you feeling okay?” I smile cause I know this won’t be my first time answering questions. “Yes I’m fine. I have to take all of my pills, doctor visits, and I got to take care of myself.” “So, what is this stuff you saying about around school?!” ask a fuming Jamal. His face is just filled with anger, but its also looks like he’s been going through the same thin I have.

“Jamal you can’t blame me for what you did or for what you have. You gave me HIV. I know you’re mad at the world, but you need to get over it. We both have it so we just gonna have to deal with it.” “Man you gave it to me. You thought that this would make me be your boyfriend.” “Look, I didn’t want you. I hate the THREE MINTUES I spent with you that night! So, forget you!” I walk proudly to my first period class.

Five Years Later
“So, I want to say that I’ve never let this disease get me down. It’s been a tough five years, but I thank God everyday that I get to live. A new day is never promised to us. I hope that this will encourage kids to be safer when they have sex. I hope that the scientist finally come though with a cure. I’m honored and thankful for this award. Thank you and have a good night.” I exit off of the stage. I look down a my plaque. The gold handwritten says

Presented to Zya Flowers, for your outstanding efforts in helping shape our community.
November 10.

So my life has been good. I graduated from college with a major in archaeology. I figured I want to see the world and work at the same time. I’ve also been an activist in the community talking to kids in school about safer sex. I’ve been leading charities and rallies to help come up with cures or the disease. I also got married, last year. I know at the age of twenty-two it seemed sudden but I know I wouldn’t want to marry anybody else. I got another surprise too.

“Mommy! Mommy!” I see my little girl running to me. Yep, my husband and I adopted about a year ago. Her name is Journey, just like how my life has been. “Good job love, I’m so proud of you! My husband put his arm around my waist. Life is good, but I cherish it more than ever now. Every breath counts in life. It hasn’t been easy, there are days when I can get up happy, and days when I don’t want to get up at all., but my family is pulling me through. I take it one day at a time. I’m using this sickens to change peoples lives, it’s amazing. I’ve taken something horrible and used it to help people. I’m letting kids know that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to be safe. And don’t let anybody talk you out of being protected.

The author's comments:
This is all about Being safe

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