A reflection of my friend's hardships, and how they touched me as a person.
|The kid in the black clothes sat down with a breath of sadness,
His eyes betrayed emotion,
His face tired, condescending.
He typed on the computer and viewed the screen,
His hope and his life.
A column of letters was all the screen read,
But these letters were distinct in meaning.
Some illustrated intelligence,
Some illustrated comprehension,
Some illustrated effort,
Some illustrated failure.
All illustrated his future.
The kid in the black clothes sighed,
His eyes darted quietly down the list.
No vowels, he noted.
Too many said he doesn’t understand.
Too many said he doesn’t try hard enough.
Too many said they are disappointed.
Too many said he is disappointed.
His chances are fading away.
The kid in the black had the chance to be great,
He was fast on the field, could make magnificent catches,
His commitment cannot be matched, he can win a championship all by himself.
A star in the making,
Who can doubt him in sports?
But he knows athletics cannot define a man,
And part of school is being a student.
The kid in the black is a good athlete.
But he is a bad student.
He knows he cannot afford to be one.
He heard stories about people like him,
People who thought all they needed to do was run and win,
People who forgotten about the letters that defined their future, defined themselves,
And made others see that they are only a stereotype
And lost everything.
The kid wants to move on to college,
But right now a column of letters stands in his way.
He looks at me with his eyes, perhaps for comfort,
Perhaps even pity.
But all I saw was regret.
Regret that he didn’t try harder.
Regret that he had forgotten about the letters.
Regret that he failed.
I looked from his teary eyes to the column of letters,
No vowels, just disappointment.
I looked from the screen to his eyes again,
He is no longer in sadness, but crumbling with defeat.
The kid in the black is giving up.
He had once told me he wanted to play sports throughout his life,
But now he can barely make it out of senior year,
He needed something to help him, motivate him ,
So that the column of letters will build, not shatter his reputation.
I looked at his eyes one last time.
Somehow it inspires me.
No. No I refuse to let these letters define the rest of his life,
"Don't ever give up", I tell him.
Because letters can change.
Because things can change.
Because we can change.
I don’t know why I decided to mentor the kid in the black clothes,
Maybe I felt compelled to,
To shape him into someone better.
Or maybe because I too am defined by a column of letters,
That was once just like those on the screen.
Or maybe it was because he had a vision, a dream, a fire that was slowly collapsing and I refused to let his light extinguish.