The Months After March

Submitted into Contest #80 in response to: Write about a child witnessing a major historical event.... view prompt

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Teens & Young Adult Inspirational

1.22.2020

Dear Diary,

I think we all have something important to say. 

I haven’t found my story yet, but I intend to. I’ve always wanted to say something that was helpful to others. Or maybe helpful isn’t the right word. I want to say something that gets people thinking, and hopefully, talking to one another. 

I am only in 8th grade and don’t know much, but I do know that 6th period US History with Mr. Hizal is my favorite part of the day. Right now we are learning about the US Constitution and we have to make over 100 flashcards to memorize. We have debates every Friday morning with the other US History teacher’s class, Mr. Raskin. That class has all of the Academy students, which means they try extra hard and get A’s on everything. We don’t stand a chance, but Mr. Hizal thinks we can beat them at this week's debate. He picked me to go against Conner Nelson, a straight-A student and basketball player. I think now would be a good time to tell you that I have a stutter, which has only gotten worse since I had braces put on last summer. 

I don’t want to look like an idiot, but I also don’t want to let Mr. Hizal down. He thinks that I’m smart because I was the only kid in the class to get a 50/50 on my US States and Capitol test. He ran around the room and pretended to give the 100% test to five other students before he stopped at my desk, smiled, and placed the paper gently down in front of me. I couldn’t stop smiling that whole day.

But this is a different challenge, one where I will have to speak in front of a whole classroom, no, TWO whole classrooms full of 8th graders who already think I’m weird. 

I’m so nervous. Wish me luck. 

Love, Zoey

★★★

1.24.2020

Dear Diary, 

I surprised myself today. When it was my turn to stand up against Conner, I stood. I walked to center of the room and only looked at Mr. Hizal. He read off the first question and Conner got to his bell before me, even though I knew the answer. He answered Article II and was wrong. The question went to me and I answered Article V, which was correct. The rush of winning flooded through me and it gave me the power to keep trying. Before I knew it, I had answered eight questions correctly, with Conner only getting two. Then the class was over and my friends were cheering and making faces at the Academy class. Mr. Hizal clapped and Mr. Raskin shook my hand. I never stuttered, not even once. 

On my way out the door, Mr. Raskin asked me to join a Speech Club. I just might. 

Mom took me out for Golden Spoon frozen yogurt and even let me get Oreo toppings! 

Love, Zoey

★★★

3.10.2020

Dear Diary, 

I know it’s been a while, I’m sorry! I’ve just been so busy with school and speech club, but I made a new friend. Her name is Kensi and she likes Harry Potter too. We met in Speech Club. She’s better than me but she doesn’t make me feel bad after it’s my turn to talk. 

In Speech Club, we can talk about anything we want as long as it “has a point.” Well that’s what Mr. Raskin says. Oh, and it has to come from a list of topics Mr. Raskin gives up. Last week I stood up in front of my classmates and talked about Global Warming. I kind of knew about it before, but after I had this assignment I learned how scary it all is. I hope things change soon.

Conner has started to talk to me and even showed me how to throw a basketball into a net. I’m really bad and it makes him laugh, but it’s nice to have a friend. 

Love, Zoey

★★★

3.25.2020

Dear Diary,

Everything has changed and my world is upside down. I am scared. 

One week ago, this virus, the “Coronavirus,” came to our home. Mom says things will be different for a while. She says no more school, no more Speech Club. She says I will have to stay inside most of the time. It makes me sad because I just made two friends and now I can’t see them. The worst part is I can’t see Grandma for a while. I cried last night because I missed seeing her. Now, I’m terrified that I might get her sick, just by giving her a goodbye-kiss on the cheek. 

I hope this ends soon.

Love, Zoey

★★★

4.29.2020

Dear Diary, 

My family has stayed in this thing called “quarantine” for one full month now. I’m not allowed to go anywhere without a mask and gloves on. Mom bought me a Chromebook so I can see my friends through Zoom, but it’s not the same. School was transferred completely online and my sister’s college graduation was canceled. Conner says school has been even harder, but I am doing OK. 

Mom got very sick in the last week of March and we think she had the sickness that’s all over the news. One night, I stayed up until almost midnight watching my mom pace up and down her bedroom. She was breathing hard and sweating. My hand never left the phone; I was ready to dial 911. 

We tried to schedule Mom for a COVID test, but they said she couldn’t get one. I don't know why, but Dad was mad. 

The worst thing though, was that my Dad lost his job. Mom was really upset, but Dad is out there trying his best. They tell me to focus on school and Speech Club. If it were not for my weekly Speech Club Zoom meeting, I think I would be even more sad. 

Love, Zoey

★★★

5.25.2020

Dear Dairy,

Things started to turn around in the early days of May. Mom has finally recovered and even went for a walk last night. The beaches here in San Diego opened up and my parents let me see my friends (as long as I wore a mask and kept 6 feet apart). School ended but we still have Speech Club. Mr. Raskin says he thinks we should still meet each week for our Zoom meeting and prepare a weekly speech. I like that idea very much.

I really thought things were starting to get better, but then today something bad happened. A man named George Floyd was killed. I saw the video on my Instagram and started to cry. I texted Kensi and she was really upset. She said her parents were angry, and that the evil in the video could have happened to them. I was really sad but also confused. I didn't understand why the Police Officers were doing that. When mom found out I watched the video, she took my phone and laptop away for a week. I was mad that I missed a Speech Club meeting, but I didn't want to upset mom. 

Mom says she took my phone away because there are a lot of angry people out there and she doesn’t want me to see them do bad things. I don’t really understand, I just miss Conner and Kensi.

Love, Zoey

★★★

6.26.2020

Dear Diary,

Things have gotten worse. I went to the grocery store with mom today and saw a car on fire with a large group of people around it. They were shouting and throwing stuff at a building. It was scary and mom took us home. She says it is going to take a long time for things to get better, but I don’t know if I can wait any longer. The good news is I have my phone and laptop back.

Last night was my Speech Club meeting. Mr. Raskin asked me to wait online after the class meeting ended. He told me that he has a special assignment for me. He said he thought some of my classmates were really sad and that he wanted me to write a speech about everything that has happened since March. I told him that I didn’t know if I could find the right words, but that I will try. This assignment makes me a little nervous, but I do have something to say. 

Love, Zoey

★★★

7.4.2020

Dear Diary,

Happy Fourth of July! Dad found a job and mom is really happy. I have been happier too. 

I gave my really big speech to my classmates last week. Some of them cried, and Mr. Raskin told me I was brave. I was proud of myself. I decided to write it down here in my Diary, in a safe place where I will always remember it. Here it goes: 

There is a lot of pain right now. In mid May we hit the 100,000 mark of deaths due to the Coronavirus, and now we watch twitter, snapchat, and the news for videos of Police Officers attacking peaceful protesters. We watch radical activists attacking Police Officers who stand on their side, supporting Black Lives Matter. 

I suppose at one time or another, we all have a hate so vile, it bubbles up in us, and we can't help but explode. We on the outside have no right to tell someone to “simmer down.”

I don’t know what it will take to feel safe again. To not hurt when you wake up, or cry when you watch the news. Political leaders say you can start by coming out and voting. Maybe. But I also think it starts in the morning, when we decide to get out of bed and be the best version of ourselves, each day. Every morning, we are faced with the choice to be kind, to have an open heart, to love our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. To respect anything alive, from plants to animals, from a white person to a black person. I thought we had overcome racism decades ago. But I guess monsters have a way of lurking in dark places. They decide to jump when you least expect them to, or, when you are least prepared for them. 

I have decided to find the beauty in everyday things, from the warm yellows the sun sends, to my smiling dog down at my feet now. I remind myself that my family is alive, and well, considering the horrors sweeping the nation. I remind myself that I can read and think for myself, and in some small way, I am making a difference, by choosing to be aware, and choosing to love. 



I hope you do, too. 

Love, Zoey

February 07, 2021 21:11

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