I stare at the abstract painting hung on my wall. It looks very rectangular, and the frame looks expensive.
I want to say to myself, "Wow Cassie, you are an amazing artist."
But I can't.
I can't say anything to anyone.
Not even to my mom.
I continue marveling at my talent. My abstract painting looks very nice, I guess. I stare closely at all the colors I used. A hint of lime green on top of some royal blue in the top left corner. It made a weird and sloppy whirl. The imperfection is what I love about my art.
In retrospect, I feel I should have used peacock blue, it would have looked much better. But, too late for that.
Some more lime green splattered everywhere, with touches of baby pink, and scarlet red. Mahogany was going to be way too dark, too much on the brown side of the color palette. Using that color would have ruined my work anyway. I'm glad I stuck with warm and cool colors.
I squint my eyes, and I want to touch my painting.
I want to feel it.
But I can't.
I try to roll my wheelchair, but the table is blocking me from doing anything!
If only mother would come. Try to help me. I thought as I continued struggling through.
"Mom!" I yell, what feels like it is more in my brain.
Of course, I can't speak anything. But trying aimlessly won't kill you.
"Mom!" I continue calling out for her in my mind.
I give up and look frustrated, defeated. I guess I could try and just imagine how my artwork would have probably felt like.
I can imagine, what is now hard and dry paint, feeling kind of smooth and oozy. I imagine the different textures I would feel, going past my hand. The thickness of some areas, and other areas where the paint dried thin.
What is the difference between them? I wonder as I continue to shut my eyes hard, continuing to imagine.
Just as I was hoping for some peace and quiet, suddenly I heard a large sound.
Sadly, I knew what the sound was. Again, it was my mother and father.
I try to push the table to the far end, but I figured I couldn't push it more. It was already starting to crack the paint of the wall. I sigh and try to move the wheels of my wheelchair to the right side. Hoping it would budge. I wanted to come closer to the door, and listen to what they were arguing about.
Honestly, if I could speak, the first few words that come out of my mouth will be, "Stop fighting!"
I push the front wheels a bit harder, trying to make my wheelchair get out of this terrible corner.
Why did mother put the wheelchair here? It's terribly uncomfortable. I mutter in my brain, as I persist to get myself out of that tough spot.
Soon, after I pushed it one last time, the wheel budged and I was finally out of that corner.
Yes! I celebrated in my head as I continued moving my wheelchair towards the door.
I place my ear very gently on the middle part of the door as I try to listen to what they were saying.
"...I know my daughter better than you do Max. Don't try to teach me anything. I am her mother. I know what she is capable of. We have a connection, which not even you can understand!" I heard my mother hollering so loudly that the vase in my room almost shattered.
"She is my daughter too. You are her mother, and I am not saying that you aren't! But I am her father, and I too play a very important role in her life. But sometimes, you just have to admit the truth, Ava!" My father too yelled back at my mother, and for some reason, I felt mad at him for that.
I wanted to open this door, barge outside, and plead them to stop fighting, for them to just stop fighting about me! I wish sometimes, that I have become a burden for them.
If only I was born like any other child, I mumbled, as I continued to hear their conversation.
"She is talented—a smart child. I know that Max, I do. A person doesn't have to speak for another person to understand what they're capable of. I know my little Cassie can do anything. In fact, she even painted a beautiful painting! She is creative, bold, and clever. Cassie can write, she can do anything but speak! I know that she has so many things to say—so many things to do, just she cannot talk, that's all. She has a spark inside her Max. As a dad, Max, I just cannot understand why you can't see that in her. You claim she is your daughter, and legally she is, but emotionally, she isn't. You cannot understand her." my mother argued back, and the volume of her voice descending pretty quickly.
She was calm now.
Neither was dad.
I could tell very easily.
"Ava, she is a mute child! How can you even know if she actually has so many things to say? You are not inside her brain or something to confirm that. You are just defending her because she is your daughter, and you are her mother. After she grows up, what will her future be? She needs to talk if she wants to have a good job. To even get a good job, she needs to go to school...then college. You have been homeschooling her for how many years now? 7? Yes, 7 years! If you continue doing this, just think about her future. What will happen once she has kids? This is your problem Ava, you think of everything so positively. But this world isn't a fairy tale." my dad replied coldly, and I couldn't handle it.
I kicked the door, very hard.
I saw chips of wood from the door flake out from the harshness of my kick.
I heard my mother and father screaming towards me and heard the floor tremble louder.
"My child! Cassie!" I heard my mother shriek loudly.
"Cassie! Is everything fine?" I heard my dad ask.
Of course, I couldn't answer, but this was the only way I could get their attention.
Before they came to my room, I quickly grabbed a sheet of notebook paper and a mechanical pencil and started writing them a note...more like a request.
Daer Dear Mom and Dod Dad,
I want you
boht both to PLEASE stop figthing fighting about me.
As I finished writing the note, I heard mom and dad turning the knob to open the door. I stare at mother first. She looks so worried, anxious about my ruckus with the door. I kind of felt bad for startling both of them. But whenever I want something, this was the only way I could get their attention.
"Cassie! Wh—what happened? Do you want water? Hungry? Sleepy?" my mother kept asking me, expecting me to nod my head for one of them.
Instead, I shake it and fold my letter I had written. After folding it, I give it to mom so that she could read it.
"...want you...please stop figh—oh honey, is this why you banged the door? You heard us?" Mother first muttered some words and then figured out the reason why I banged the door.
I nod my head.
"See? My Cassie can write. She can do it with no help. Yes, her spelling needs to improve, but she at least crossed out those words. Max, I know what I am doing. I know her. I know my own daughter. Here, read it." she passed on my letter to dad and continued to skim through it, and when he was done reading, he was looking astonished.
"Ava...you—you were right. She...she can write!" my dad says, as he slowly finds my painting, and looks even more astonished. "She can also paint! I thought you were lying! Boasting about her!" dad continues to be pleasantly surprised.
"I told you, Max. She is such a smart girl. It seems like she has so many things that she wants to say to us, and I can feel her sadness. Every night I feel sullen for her. I never sleep well, because I continue to think about her health. Since the day we figured her disability, I have been telling you to send her to a doctor!" my mother started to cry, her tears fell on my hands, and I too started crying.
"I'm sorry Ava. I should've listened. I guess I will book an appointment, and soon Cassie can actually talk, not just keep all of her words inside her." he said, as he shifted his direction to look at me. "Cassie, my girl, you are going to talk. I know it." he smiled, and patted on my shoulder.
This tap felt a little different, more special. More positive.
I had been getting so many valuable lessons about speaking and enunciating. I finally feel like I can become a normal child again. Every day I try to say many words.
I still remember how hard it was to say words with so many syllables.
"C-cho-re-o-ogra-ph-phy." I remembered trying to pronounce that long word. It was one of the hardest and longest syllable words I had learned on the last day of class, which was last week. Now, mom and dad gave me the challenge to come with one sentence and try to speak it to them. I was trying hard to come up with a good, thoughtful, and meaningful one.
Hmm...what should the sentence even be? There are so many sentences in this world that I just don't know what to say! I keep thinking.
I look around my room to spot a word poster, which had a beautiful quote and it gave me a perfect idea of my original sentence. I knew that this sentence was going to be the perfect one to write and present it in front of mom and dad.
This sentence is going to work like a charm! Perfect! I was glee.
I took another scrap piece of paper around my room, and started jotting down that sentence, and hoped that it wasn't going to be too hard to say it.
As I continue writing, I think about how much my life has changed. Before, I was stuck with a wheelchair all the time, had so many things that I wanted to share with everyone! So many things to show them, to do in front of them. But now, I can finally do all of that.
I learned how to talk.
I can talk.
I am normal.
I can even go to school!
All these happy thoughts circle my brain as I try to get confused on writing, and even finish writing my sentence. I am way too excited about all the things that are happening to me now! All the things that are changing.
I try to shut my brain down, from it thinking about all these things and try realy hard not to be distracted by anything my brain might throw at me.
Look down Cassie, focus. You can do it Cassie, you can.
I was done writing my sentence, and slowly came down the stairs. I saw that my parents were working on their laptops, but when they saw me coming down, they looked at each other and gave a smile. Slowly the smiled back at me too.
"H-here is muh-my sen-tence." I say, as I slowly unfold the piece of paper I held tightly in my hands. "I lu-lo-love yuh-you m-mom an-and d-dad." I say, and look down at the floor.
I thought I messed up very bad.
But my parents looked at me, straight in the eye, and hugged me tight, smiling at me. Whispering to me that they were so proud of me.
THANK YOU SO MUCH BETH CONNOR FOR COMING UP WITH THIS TITLE IDEA!! :)