Ariel kissed her little sister and brother good-bye, waved to momma from the street corner and left for school. She counted her steps, one, two, three, turn left,four, five, six, rigt turn, stop sign. She glanced up at the bright red stop sign, squinted and looked both ways; she listened hesitantly and crossed the street uneasily. She resumed counting her steps as she allowed her mind to ponder her situation.
It was 1929, it might be the beginning of the the country’s economic depression, but definitely not the beginning of her family’s financial problems. Poppa was gone. Influenza.
20, 21, 22, just a few more blocks now. Her mind drifted back to the stuffy little pad they were renting that rested on top of the sushi shop. Momma, poor momma, Ariel couldn’t help but notice the signs that gave away how hard Momma worked those long hours put into the Sushi shop trying to scramble enough money to put bread on the table for that day.
Ariel stumbled along, her fingers tracing the picket fences. As she neared the playground she could hear the loud swarm of children of all ages streaming into the school. Again her fingers gingerly touched her surroundings, this time her fingertips lingered on the monkey bars where she felt the freezing morning dew, in the dewdrops she felt the gritty sand, sand of summers past. Silently she walked into the building just as oblivious to others as they were to her. Her first class, Arithmetic, she walked to her desk up front; she did well in this class. Next period she had English. She stumbled to her seat at the back of the class; in this class she did not do so well. At the end of the class the teacher wrote the assignment on the board, the chalk grating it’s protest. Quickly Ariel raised her hand and volunteered to erase the chalk board.
If you were to walk into that classroom after the others had left, you would see Ariel squinting and pacing backwards or forwards in order to make out the letters on the board and hurriedly scribbling them in her worn out notebook. Ariel, you see, had developed very poor eyesight in the past fleeting months. But in a time when prices where sky high and rising each day, jobs were scarce and money even rarer, luxuries such as glasses were just an impossibility. She daren’t add to her mother’s worries.
But Ariel carried her deficiency with accepting humility. She toiled through each day with the same sweet disposition, trying her best to alleviate her mother’s sorrow and labour. She saw her deficiency not as an anvil weighing her down, rather as a challenge to hone her other senses and make herself stronger.
P.S. Another post from the old old blog.
A short story, unresearched and hastily put together by a 15 year old me… probably the closest I’ll ever get to writing fiction.