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The sun comes up the same time as the moon runs away. What a beautiful site, the sun is dark, but the moon, oh so bright. I can’t stop staring at the dark sun, I hope it never leaves me.
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I don’t know why I’m in this place; I think they call it an asylum or something. I asked them why I’m here, they told me its for good purposes. I can’t read, I don‘t even know how to sing the alphabet song, I’m a nutshell. I think normal people can do all those, I should be able to, but I can’t. When I start reading, the words crumble up together and my head starts spinning around. Around like wheels, spinning wheels.
During the first week I was here, my mentor, the person who helps me try to read, asked me why I couldn’t read. I told her two simple words, spinning wheels. She didn’t understand me, I guess that’s why she’s in this place too, maybe she can’t understand people.
There’s other people here except for me and my mentor. There are people here who can read and write, but they have other problems. I met this nice old lady here, she calls herself Queen Esther. She says that she was once a very beautiful Queen, she met Jesus and Mary, Joseph and Prophet Abraham. She says that she saved one whole town which could have been destroyed, if it weren’t for her rescue. My mentor told me that she’s lying: “She’s just another one of those charity cases, I guess she lost her brain.” But I don’t know what a charity case is and I don’t think she’s lying. She probably was once a queen, she probably had two palaces with twenty maids. I think my mentor has lost her brain, I’m counting and now she can’t understand two people: me and Queen Esther.
Then, there is this small girl. I think she’s the youngest one in here, she’s about twelve and she can’t talk, well at least that’s what I think. I’ve never heard her talk before, I mean she doesn’t even whisper. Once, I asked her why she was here and she looked at me with her dark brown eyes, ready to rip my soul out. I’m telling you, she wanted to kill me so much. I don’t know why, I only asked her a simple question. The other day, I saw her read a thick book, the cover had a picture of a girl getting hit by her mother. She’s younger than me, but she knows how to read. Now I have two reasons to hate her: she can read and she wants to kill me.
The worst person that I’ve met so far is Darrel. He has this bright yellow toy car that has red shiny wheels. I hate the way the wheels circle around and around when he pushes it across the marble floor. I get dizzy following its wheels spinning in circles. It makes my head tighten up and my fingers immediately turn up into a fist, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of reading. I hate spinning wheels.
Today, my mentor gave me my first reading lesson. She told me to pronounce words and she tried to help me with reading certain words. I told her I couldn’t do it. I have a brain of a 1st grader. I told her that I don’t even know the alphabet song. Every time she showed me a word to pronounce, I looked away and told her I wasn’t going to do it. I don’t think she was very happy with me.
My mentor thought that on the second day, I would give in. I would start pronouncing words and try to read. But, I wasn’t going to. She spelled out certain words by using block letters, or that’s what she called it. As she was organizing the block letters, I was thinking of a good excuse for me not to read. My first option: I was too dumb enough and was unable to put letters together to make a word. My second option: I have the brain of a 1st grader, I was born with one and will be stuck with it, until I die. My third option: To tell her the truth, I am terrified to read. The letters on a page make me grow weak and I feel like throwing up. My head starts spinning in circles and I hate it when that happens. I hate the feeling because it reminds me of the day when dad left me.
She hit me. My mentor, she hit me today. She told me I sucked at listening and if I kept up with my manners, then I would never learn how to read. I don’t know why she hit me, maybe it was because I told her to shut up. I mean she gave me no choice, she kept on using those stupid block letters to spell words, it made my head spin. I hate her, I hate her now.
Today I had a dream, an awful dream. I dreamed that night when dad left me. He was driving his bright red car, with me sitting next to him on the passenger seat. The radio was turned on to 102.7 lite fm, his favorite radio station. We were both singing our song, the song that we sang when we were happy. It was called Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, I don’t know how I still remember it. All of a sudden, a silver car hurtled in front of my eyes. The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital, I was asking a nurse where my father was, why I was here, and what time I would go home.
Where my father was: In Heaven.
Why I was here: I had been in a car accident, the other driver was drunk.
What time I would go home: Never.
Today, I stayed in bed the whole day, crying. My mentor was really sad, I could tell. She thought it was her fault that I was crying. It wasn’t her, it wasn’t anything in this place. It was the dream, my dad, the way he left. I remember the day after he died, I lost all memory of everything I loved to do. I loved to read, I loved to laugh, I loved to talk, I loved to smile and suddenly all those things were forgotten. I forgot trying.
The next few days after he left, I cried and cried. Why did he have to leave like that? Why did he have to make me lonely? That’s when I started to hate him. It was his fault, I was not alive anymore. It was his fault, I felt lonely and stupid. His fault, why I couldn’t read anymore, why I hated spinning wheels, why I was here.
They called it a “mental state of inability to think” , or something like that. My head was damaged, I was in post-trauma attack. I told them I was okay, but I knew I wasn’t. My head wasn’t thinking, I couldn’t even count. I lost total memory of the alphabet and how even to spell my name.
A week passed. I feel better now, my mind is clearing, I can feel it, sense it. The past few days gave me time to think. To think about life, where it was going, where I was going after I would leave here. It gave me hope, I don’t know how to describe it, but it gave me hope, a certain feeling.
Today, I meet with my mentor, she told me she was sorry. I said I was too. Sorry for not trying, sorry for giving up, sorry for everything.
I wish I could tell that to my dad, maybe he’s up there listening.
Today, I read my first word. It was: forgive. I think I’m being a “work in progress”, which is what my mentor calls me now. I’m not a failure, I’m a work in progress.