High school student living in a downtrodden neighborhood meets an inspirational peer
Growing up in the inner city most of my friends ended up pregnant by age 16, in a gang or in jail. In fact most, kids didn’t graduate from high school. Some kids that managed to stay out of trouble found jobs working in the factories. The billowing smoke stacks were the back drop to our neighborhood.
I never had aspirations to go to college, but Ma had different plans. She always told me I could achieve whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard and stayed out of trouble. However, crime and drugs littered our streets along with a sense of hopelessness. I felt like there was no way to escape the trajectory of my predetermined life. There were times when I didn’t think I could finish high school.
Ma said, “You don’t mean that? “
“Why should if finish high school if I could get a job in the factory?”, I replied
“God has bigger plans for you, and so do I”, Ma responded.
Going to church every Sunday was mandatory in Ma’s house. The sturdy white structure with a steeple so high it looked like it pierced the sky was a place of security. Sometimes it was the only place I felt safe. After church one day we met a student from a local college who was a guest speaker at our youth group. He was talking about the importance of higher education. As I listened to him, I wondered if there was hope for my future. I started imagining a life without crime, a life without drugs and a future that was filled with hope. I held onto that hope as I exited the church and I looked to the steeple reaching the sky rather than the smoke stacks polluting our neighborhood.
Word count 297
Prompt: “You don’t mean that?”