Chapter 1 - Lynn
I sat alone on the bunk Alejandro and I shared at one point. I knew I would lose him eventually, that he was going to die. But death took him too quickly.
“Mi amigo. I miss you Chico,”. I looked down, tears dripping down my cheeks, “I miss you.”
“Lynn?” A voice outside the bedroom door called, knocking softly, “Dinners ready, sweetie. Please come eat.”
When I didn’t reply, the door cracked open revealing the tired face of Mrs. White.
“May I come in?” She asked with a sympathetic look. She waited for me to nod before she entered, sitting next to my curled up body. The bed frame freaked slightly as she shifted to face me.
“I’m not hungry,” I told her, wiping my eyes.
She took one of my hands, rubbing circles with her thumb. “I suspected such. I know how much you miss him, but you need to take care of yourself, Lynn. That’s what Alejandro would want you to do.”
The sentence left silence in the room as I tried to drown my emotions. Eventually, I nodded and went to eat.
“Good news,” Mr White called as he sat down next to me at the oversized table. Five kids and Mrs White sat there already, chowing down on macaroni and cheese for the kids and a salad for Mrs White.
I looked up from my bowl. “What’s up?” I asked.
‘Your 504 is all set up,’ he signed across to me, speaking along with it. ‘They said you’d probably be able to get an interpreter if needed later.’
‘Awesome,’ I signed back. ‘Thanks.’
The kids watched us as they always do. They haven’t grown up or been around hard of hearing people much, except me I guess. One little girl named Ashley was particularly interested and asked a lot of questions about me, but I allowed it since she was cute.
I couldn’t help but still be sad as the table was one seat empty. Ale and I would have constant conversation, switching from English to Spanish to American Sign Language back to English. As cancer took his appetite, he would still sit and talk with me as I ate. I pushed away my bowl and excused myself on the terms that I was getting ready for school tomorrow.
I went back into the room I shared with any girls that came to the home, currently Ashely, who was four, May, who was seven, and Lily, who was eleven. At fifteen years old, I was both the oldest and the one who was there for the longest at that point.
I pulled out my hearing aids, turned them off, and set them on my bedside table. The world went into complete silence, but I enjoyed it. My emotions mixed and swirled while I looked through clothes for tomorrow. As much as I missed Ale, it was good he was in a better place. I had lost two friends by the time I was 12. That must be a record of some kind.
I was brought here as a baby, or so I was told. They were convinced I could quickly get a good home. But the weeks went by. Months. Years. I was different than the other kids. I didn’t play with them, I didn’t talk, I didn’t seem interested in anything. Even when I finally got hearing aids at three, I would play in a corner by myself, stacking Legos into complex structures. When I was four, Alejandro came in. He was cute,with black ringlets and tanned skin. We became inseparable. I nearly instantly picked up Spanish; Mr. and Mrs. White would just watch us babble in Spanish for hours and we built together.
No one wanted a kid who didn’t know English. No one wanted a kid who was completely antisocial. So, we stayed.
Ale got diagnosed with Leukemia at age five. It was rapidly getting worse, but the doctors did all they could. I spent every moment I could with my dying best friend; I was right next to him until the moment he died. Part of me died with him.
I rubbed my eyes with my palms in an effort to clear out the memories. They faded, but were never truly gone. I grabbed a pair of black skinny jeans, a black TØP (twenty one pilots) t-shirt, my black high top converse, and black half length binder out of the trunk by the door of my bed and placed it on top for tomorrow. I dreaded school. It truly was just full of ********. Band was the best part of the day, and even that wasn’t that great. I couldn’t wait to see the ******* that were my classmates.