This short story is one of my favorites, but it’s fourteen pages long, so I’ll be posting it in parts. Please let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy!
I flopped down on my oversized bean bag on the floor of my room. I was completely bored. Summer was almost over, and it had been like every other summer of my entire life. I had hardly left the house, mostly because my mom wouldn’t let me go anywhere. She was always worried that something would happen to her “poor little Chloe”. That, and I didn’t have any friends to do anything with. I had hoped that this summer would be different, since I had just finished my freshman year of high school.
I could hear the kids across the street playing, and wished, for the millionth time, that I could be normal like them. It was a wish I knew could never come true, but I still wished anyway.
“Chloe?” I heard my mom call from behind the door.
“Come in,” I responded. I heard her open the door and walk in. The bed creaked when she sat on the edge. People say that she’s pretty. I just love her soft voice.
“What did you want to talk about, sweetie?” Mom asked. My sensitive ears picked up the curiosity and worry in her voice.
“Mom, do you think that I could go to public or private school this year? I think I’m ready to stop home schooling.” I immediately sensed her tensing up. Just great.
“Oh, honey, I think it might be better if we home school for a few more years. High schools are hard enough to get around in even if you can see. For a blind girl,” she hesitated, “they can be really dangerous.”
“But, Mom—” I began, and then stopped. I took the whine out of my voice and started over again. “You know that I’m not totally defenseless! I could figure it out.”
“Chloe…” My mom paused, and then continued reluctantly. “It’s not just that. A lot of times kids alienate people who are different.” She sighed. “I just don’t want you to get hurt, either physically, mentally, or emotionally.”
I could feel the anger rising in my chest. “Mom, you can’t protect me my entire life. Just because I’m blind, you try to keep the world away from me! I don’t need you to do that! I can handle it. I’m older. How am I going to learn if you’re always trying to shield me from everything?” I was shouting now, and I couldn’t stop. “You won’t even let me leave the house! I feel like a prisoner in my own house!” Finally, I ran out of breath. I grabbed my cane, the one I use to help me feel my way around, and stormed out of the room and out of the house. I could hear my mom calling me, but I ignored her and kept going. I could feel the hot, angry tears streaming down my face.
I walked to the end of the block and stopped. The only times I had ever left my house, we had been in a car, going on trips or to doctor’s appointments, and I had no idea where I was going. I could tell that I was at an intersection, but I had no idea where. I heard someone push the crossing button on the pole.
“Excuse me?” I called.
“Yes?” It was a woman’s voice, clear and strong.
“Is there a park or anything around here?” I asked. I figured that a park would be a good place to sit and think.
“Sure,” the lady responded. “I’ll take you there.” She led me across the street by my arm. I went with her reluctantly. I really just needed her to tell me where it was, not take me there, but I followed her anyway.
“Here it is,” she told me. “Turn left here and you’ll be in the park.”
“Thank you so much,” I thanked her.
“No problem. It was on my way anyway.” I could hear the smile in her voice. “Will you be able to find your way home?”
“Yes. Thanks again,” I told her and turned down the path, the sand and pebbles crunching under my feet. The birds were singing, and I could hear squirrels scampering in the trees. My cane hit something hard. I felt it and realized that it was a park bench. I sat down on it and started thinking. I was so deep in thought that I didn’t hear the footsteps approaching my bench, not even when they stopped right in front of me.
“Hi, can I sit down here?” The young male voice startled me, interrupting my thoughts. I turned towards his voice.
“Sure,” I told him. I heard him sit at the other end of the bench. I felt pretty uncomfortable.
“Did I surprise you?” he asked. I could feel his eyes on me.
“A little,” I admitted. “I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t hear you coming.” I didn’t know if he had noticed that I was blind yet. If he hadn’t, he probably would soon.
“Are you in high school? I’ve never seen you at Thatcher.” He seemed genuinely curious.
“Yeah, I’m in high school, but I’m home schooled,” I told him.
“Oh,” he paused. I could tell he wasn’t sure what to say next. You don’t have to see to know these things. “So, let me guess. You’re a… junior?”
I laughed. “No.” I’m going to be a sophomore this year.” I hesitated. “So, what grade are you in?”
“I’m a junior.” He paused again. “So, do you like home schooling?”
“It’s okay, most of the time. But sometimes I wish my parents would let me go to public school,” I confessed. “So you go to Thatcher?” I asked quickly, changing the subject. “What are you involved in? Sports?”
“I play a little football and baseball,” he replied, seeming eager to change the subject again. “Wait, why won’t your parents let you go to Thatcher?”
“Because my mom thinks that I’ll get teased and trampled and everything. She’d be worried sick about her ‘little girl’ in the ‘huge high school’.”
He laughed. “Thatcher’s not that big. Anyway, why’s your mom so worried about you at high school? I mean, there’re lots of girls at Thatcher who are smaller than you, and they survive. And it’s pretty easy to get around Thatcher, once you figure it out. So why’s she so worried about you?”
I gulped. I had been expecting this moment, when I would have to tell him that I was blind, but I still didn’t know what to say. So I just blurted it out. “Because I’m blind.”