Josephine Ainslie Blough
5th & 6th Grade Prose Winner
Colors. Music. Letters. Words. I love how the lyrics flow through me, trickling down my ears, into my throat, where it begs me to join in. There I am, with my squeaky little mouse voice, belting out 'Barbara Ann' by the Beach Boys. There I am, with my metal leg braces, and my silly arm crutches. Awkwardly standing there, the high-pitched noise that is my voice destroying the beautiful tune that seems to leap out of the speakers and into my heart. But then all of the people, all of the eyes, burning deep holes into my skin. And it’s all over.
I can barely walk, so all my weight is on the crutches. They frequently collapse under me, but I’ve gotten used to it. My whole upper body is totally fine, but my arms are always occupied holding the crutches. My name is Isabel, but everybody calls me Izzy. By everybody, I mean my parents. I don’t have any friends. My only friend is basically, well, music. Is that even possible? Classical is like sipping the most creamy, rich hot chocolate. Jazz is a midnight sky, and smells like fresh peanuts. Rock is blackberries, just picked! Blues is the red, red fire that licks wood in the fireplace. Country tastes like pineapples, all sweet and sour and combined, makes pineapple tart. I could spend hours in the basement, listening to music. The basement is basically my only private space. I have my mom’s ancient 70’s television, a very hard pink sofa, and a bunch of other junk that lies around aimlessly. I need a hard sofa, because if I sit in something too soft or cushy, it’s very hard to get up. And you could never forget the The Izzy Warehouse.
The Izzy Warehouse is my closet that we use to store thingamibobs like screwdrivers for my braces, a spare pair of crutches, and stuff like that. I bet other kids don’t have stuff like that. Oh! Excuse my language! I meant normal kids. Normal kids that don’t get stared at every single day. Normal kids who don’t have to worry about fitting in. They obviously don’t know what it’s like to be me…
I always have the dreams. The dreams where the leg braces and crutches never happened, and I was running. I won a race, and everyone cheered. A girl I’ve never seen before gave me a huge hug, so I guessed she was supposed to be a friend. Friend. That word tastes like bubbly acid in my mouth, probably because I’ve never used it before.
I sometimes think that the world has two sides. One is the ordinary side, where everyone looks perfect, and always has a friend by their side. Then, you peek over and see the misshapen side. That’s where all the useless, broken junk like me goes.
Yesterday I was walking with my mother. A teenage boy and girl whispered together, staring directly at my legs. As we passed by them, I overheard the word “Broken” and “Crooked.” Then, of all of the things, the boy plastered a quizzical look on his face, exactly like mine, crossed his eyes, then walked with imaginary crutches. He jutted his legs out, and twisted both of his ankles. The girl laughed so hard, she clutched her stomach and fell on the ground. I could feel hot tears in my eyes. And we left.
I am homeschooled. My mother taught 2nd Grade math before I was born, but after she discovered that I AM NOT A NORMAL PERSON, she decided to quit her job and be my mom/ teacher. I’m not sure, but I don’t think at normal schools you’re allowed to drink hot chocolate in class, take ten minute “Nap Breaks” and go on school trips to the doctor’s office. But school with my mother is actually kind of fun. Monday is yoga day, Tuesday is music day, Wednesday is field trip day, Thursday earth day, where we help out in community centers, and Friday is outside day, where we sit in the park and do our work. And the best part is…No Homework! YAY!
Sometimes I feel like I fit in in Izzy world. I mean, I can’t deny it. I’m a weird kid. I talk to myself, I feel like I can connect with music, and, well, look at me.
I am obviously not perfect. “But your heart is in the right place,” My mother always says when I get angry about who I am. But someday, I am going to make things change. Someday, I am going to tell all of those kids like me, “Stand up tall. Don’t be afraid to be who you really are. Because YOU are going to make a difference.”