Trigger Warning: This story contains non-explicit depictions of physical abuse.
The counselor said I should keep a journal or diary or whatever you call this. He thought it may be good for me to write out my thoughts and experiences. How many experiences could a 13 year old kid have in the suburbs?
I guess this all started when I came to school last week with a bruise on my arm. It wasn’t even a big one. My mom's fist is much smaller than my dad’s so the bruise was pretty small. They noticed it anyway.
Mrs. Hafeez noticed it first. We were in the middle of English class, taking a quiz when she came by and tapped my shoulder. She motioned for me to come with her. When we were out in the hallway she asked about my arm. Tears started rushing to her eyes and I thought about how I used to cry uncontrollably too. I looked down at my black and white Chucks that my big toe was busting out of in the front, averting my small brown eyes away from her. I lifted the sleeve of my blue Mickey Mouse shirt and revealed my severely underdeveloped bicep muscles.
I have asked Mr. Dai about this, he is the one who gave me the journal. He says that a boy of my age has plenty of time to get bigger muscles and that I have nothing to worry about. He said I could pretty much ask him anything, so I asked him about that. I seem really behind the other boys in my class. He reassured me that I’ll catch up.
Mrs. Hafeez walked me to Mr. Dai’s office for the first time that day. They both gestured for me to sit on the huge, cozy, blue velvet seat in front of his desk. I pushed my long, greesy, straight brown hair out of my eyes and tried to get comfortable in the armchair while they talked right outside the door.
Mr. Dai started asking me questions about all kinds of things when he walked back in and even set up the game clue for us to play while we talked! It was so great, I had never played a -
I have to go.
I didn’t expect to write so much in one of these! I was so excited to tell Mr. Dai when I got to school today how fun it was to put the thoughts that were in my head onto paper where they could live. He liked how I said that, he said it sounded like poetry.
He set up checkers today and in the middle of it Mrs. Hafeez even stopped in with a special lunch for all three of us! Cafeteria pizza, a juice box and a chocolate chip cookie. Gosh it was so good, Diary.
While we ate, we talked about other foods we liked and what we had for dinner the night before. The adults went first, Mrs. Hafeez had chicken pot pie with her family last night and Mr. Dai and his husband had their favorite, Chinese takeout. I immediately chimed in because I also loved Chinese takeout and we had had it too at my house the night before. He asked what I ordered and what the portion size was like. I thought this was kind of a weird question but he said they always end up getting too much and have it for leftovers for a few days after.
I just told him that we got a normal amount. Not enough for leftovers and continued moving my checkers pieces.
The truth is, Diary. Last night we did order Chinese takeout but I didn’t get to order my favorite, pork lo-mein. I’ve only had it once but I know it was my favorite because I dream about it all the time. But that was a long time ago. But we did have enough for leftovers! After mom and dad were finished eating they threw it in the trash.
I was so hungry and by around one in the morning I just couldn’t take it anymore. My stomach was doing flips and mom and dad were already in bed so it was safe to go get the garbage can.
I have learned how to make almost no noise when bringing the trash into my room. I just always seem to forget to grab a plate. Luckily, I had a frisbee hidden under my mattress that I got from my walk home from school last week, it made the perfect plate! One day I would really like to play with it though. I bet Mr. Dai would play frisbee with me!
I carefully opened the trash bag and shined the light from my lamp into it, poking around to find the edible pieces hidden in there.
I was finally able to get a good amount, plopped it all onto the frisbee and dug in. Someone must have cleaned out the vacuum recently though because there was dust and hair and little pieces of cat litter attached to all of the rice noodles and vegetables.
But I found the coolest thing in the bag when I was done. A whole fortune cookie! Can you believe it Diary? A whole, unbroken fortune cookie. It was already out of its wrapper for some reason but gosh I was so excited. I can still remember its sweet taste and perfect crunch as I bit it in half.
I closed my eyes to enjoy every piece of the dessert and suddenly felt a small flapping breeze sweep past my face that had come out of the other half of the cookie in my hand! I looked around the small room and swallowed quickly, trying to stay completely still until I saw it on the mirror on the door of my closet. I walked over to it slowly and noticed its furry little body and small brown and white speckled wings.
No one else has ever been in my room before. Even if it was just an insect, I was happy to have a guest. I pulled over my metal, foldable chair and sat eye to eye with the moth.
Well Diary to be honest, I feel bad just calling her a moth. I named her Ami, friend.
I forgot to put the trash back last night after talking to Ami. Mom and Dad woke up and stormed into my room. I thought there was an emergency, like a fire or something.
Everything happened really fast and now I am sitting in Mr. Dai’s office while him and Mrs. Hafeez are outside talking to some other people. Ami is okay. I was so scared she had also gotten hurt when I saw the red speckles all over her wings. I was so worried about her but Mrs. Figgis, the science teacher who had joined us that morning, assured me that bugs don’t have the same kind of “blood” makeup that we do and that the red splatters were not hers.
Can you believe that Ami stayed with me the entire night? And she is still with me now as I am writing this. She seems to like to stay on the top of my hand and the constant moving while I am writing doesn’t bother her at all.
Calling her a pet would feel wrong, she is family.
I wonder when I’ll go back to class. I do have a big test toda- oh I have to go they are coming back in now.
I guess I didn’t realize it but things at home had gotten pretty bad. After my teachers and the councillor came back into the room, along with a police officer they asked if they could take pictures of my face, back, neck, arms and torso. I told them it was fine as long as Ami could be in the pictures with me.
She stayed on me the whole time and got her pictures taken too! My teachers loved that. They all giggled and talked about how cute she was. I felt so proud.
Things are changing and they are changing really fast. I get to stay at my school and continue playing games and eating lunch with Mr. Dai and Mrs. Hafeez. Mrs. Figgis even said she would join us sometimes and bring some books on insects! I can’t wait for them to get to know Ami better.
I am not going to go back to school for a few days though. Just until I feel comfortable and have gotten settled into the new home I am going to.
They don’t live far from my old house actually but they have a huge pool and a yard that I am allowed to play in. It will be so good for Ami to get some fresh air because she just doesn't seem to want to leave my side.
I am in my new house, Ami likes to stay perched by the window if she isn’t on my hand and I have an entire dresser of new clothes!
I finally got to throw away the Mickey Mouse shirt that I have worn for years. Both armpits of the shirt are torn and it shows the bottom of my stomach when I raise my hand in class. The way it made me smell was so embarrassing, too. I was happy to throw it in the trash, Diary.
Today I replaced it with a fresh, clean white collared shirt and a new pair of dark blue jeans. I have never owned jeans before but I loved Mr. Dai’s so much that he bought me a pair just like his!
We are about to leave for my haircut in just a few minutes so I have to go but don’t worry Diary, they said that Ami could come with me so she won’t be alone. And we are getting Chinese take-out after!
I’ll tell you all about it soon!