Listen and Write It, Writing Exercise, July 5th, 2012

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

Ermilia has given me another opportunity to write for her an exercise, called Listen And Write. Thank you Emilia!

Oh my God, help me! This is what was heard as people gathered in the small, dark living room. The mama was in hard labor, in danger of losing her child and herself. She was taking the risk, the chance, to bare this child. God had gifted them this child, and she was bound to have it.

The child was born into a poor home where all adults were considered slaves, and the youth were considered new experiences for the land owners. There was no money hidden in the cookie jar, and books were scarce, only being taught and read when one could be found and stolen through the darkest nights. Shoes were bought once a year, and if they were injured in any way, the foot walked naked. Clothing was made from old cloths that were given from the mistress of the main home. How ever much material was thrown their way, this became the deciding factor in who got the new dress or slacks.

With the hard labor that was endured, the child grew up to be slow minded. The simple things of life, that are taken for granted, such as walking and talking, were hard to learn. Being spoon fed was a task that took many weeks to master, and yet the child picked it up in his own time.

There was something bright in the child’s eyes, when ever you looked into his little face. Alertness comes to  mind, as you watched  him take in everything that moved. He didn’t seem to miss anything, but he made very little sounds.

As the child grew older, some called him worthless, retarded, too slow for any use. Gerald, the child’s name, understood what they were saying. He knew they were making fun of him. He didn’t want to be labeled. He wanted to be what he considered normal.

At night when everyone slept, he would sneak down into the cellar, with his lit candle, and he would spend as much free time as he could get by with, reading the few books that were there. His mind took longer to digest the words, but with repeated practice, what he read, sunk in and was comprehended.

One day, he was outside playing under the shaded apple tree, and a young boy came to sit by him. Gerald found out that he was the owners son, and after some time, the two became good friends. As the two bonded, they learned many facts about each other, and they each were united in the spirit of reading. Nathan, the owners child, started sneaking books down to Gerald’s house and leaving them outside the window, close to where he slept. After all were fast asleep, Gerald would wake up with excitement in his veins, and sneak out his window, and grab the books and run quietly down to the cellar and read.

There were many different books now. Books on history, spelling, and some math. For months to come and going into years, Nathan had ended up becoming Gerald’s teacher, and together they blossomed into young men.

Nathan would talk about his college that he would be attending next year, and Gerald would feel pangs of jealousies because he also wanted to go. He had learned much about himself through out the years, and he knew he loved math. He loved everything about it. All the figures he could work with, short cuts to come up with the same answers that Nathan had. This was his love of his life, but he knew that he was labeled and he knew there were no funds for him to be able to attend a fine college.

Without asking his mother’s permission, Nathan mailed out a request for an application to the same college he was going to be attending. When it arrived, he filled it out with Gerald’s information, and on a separate piece of paper he wrote a testimony of Gerald’s life and his yearning to learn.

After several weeks went by, a white envelope addressed to Nathan arrived. Ripping it open the letter stated, that the college knew of Nathan’s attending their school, and they were familiar with his parents. They were touched that he would write on behalf of his friend, and were going to extend a welcome to Gerald and let him enter the first year of college with Nathan.

Nathan could hardly get through his chores, and when lunch finally arrived, he gobbled down every bite and excused himself for his free time. He raced down to Gerald’s home, and not hiding the envelope by the window, but flinging the front door wide opened, he motioned for Gerald to follow him. The excitement in his eyes,  prompted Gerald to rise quickly from his seat and both young men ran to their favorite spot, the apple tree. As they both sat down, Nathan held out Gerald’s hands and placed the gift in them. He screamed to him, open it! open it!

Gerald opened it gently. He was not used to receiving mail for himself, so this was a special treat. As he took out the paper, and began to read it, he looked up into Nathan’s eyes, and Nathan nodded up and down. Gerald grabbed his friend around the neck so hard, they both tumbled to the ground, falling over each other hugging and laughing. They sat up and if you were standing near, you could hear all of the plans and dreams being made at that moment.

Years later, Gerald and Nathan graduated together from the same college. Nathan with honors, and Gerald with a diploma, for teaching math.


Opposite Paths


Books (Photo credit: henry…)

He bumped into her knocking her down. Books flying everywhere. Loose papers going in all directions. She bent down to pick them up, cursing him to herself, as she knew this was going to make her late to class. She could hear him apologizing to her, but she was ignoring him, scrambling to pick up everything. He bent down to help her, and soon, they had everything neatly back in her hands. He looked straight into her eye, and said with a sincere voice, that he was so sorry. She said ya ya, I gotta go. She breezed by him, leaving him standing there watching her go, then turned around and went to his own class. She entered her class room, all eyes fell upon her, as they were all seated. A stern look from the teacher, told her to go silently to her seat. He found his seat, and as the teacher said open your books to page number 105, his mind drifted back to the incident in the hallway. He felt like a fool. She was so beautiful, with her long, blonde hair. Her eyes were the color of the sky. The teacher came by his desk and smacked  his hand on his desk. I asked you a question. Wake up! He came back to reality, hearing snickering around him, as he had been caught daydreaming. After class was over, it was lunch time. He went to his locker and got out his brown bag, and proceeded to outside under the big oak tree. He sat down, using the trunk as his back support, and ate his lunch that his mom had packed. He then pulled out his paper back book. It was a book about how to become more confidant in yourself. He was pretty engrossed in it, so he didn’t notice the shadow standing over him until he heard someone clearing their throat. She was staring at his book, and trying to read the title. I heard her say, do you always sit out here alone? He said yes, I like to have time to myself after going from class to class. It clears my head. She walked on by. He watched her get into her red sports car and take off. He shrugged his shoulders, and sighed, and went back to his reading. A couple of days went by and classes went as normal. She found him at his favorite spot, under the tree, reading. She walked up to him, and this time he had seen her coming. He cleared his throat, and sat up a little bit straighter, running his fingers through his hair. She came and stood in front of him. Saying nothing, placing awkwardness between them. He asked her if she wanted to sit down, she sat. He watched her as she pulled a brown paper bag out of her book bag, and she started eating. No words were spoken. He couldn’t even read his book, he was so aware of her sitting beside him. After both had finished their lunches, she asked him where he lived, did he work, what kind of car did he drive. He answered  that he lived a few blocks away, that he didn’t work, and he walked to school. She asked him what kind of book was he reading the last time she had seen him. He said it was a book on how to better himself. She asked what was wrong with him, he said nothing. Lunch was over, and each went their separate ways back to class. At the end of the school day, she saw him coming out of the front school doors. He saw her immediately and walked her way.  She said matter of fact, that she would walk with him on her way home, as she only lived a block further. He thought he was going to faint, right there in front of her. The most beautiful girl was going to walk home with him. There was very little conversation between the two as they walked the few blocks. As they came to his house, she waved and said see ya. He smiled, and turned towards his front door. That night, sometime after supper, he heard his mom yell at him that he had a phone call. As she handed him the phone, she covered the ear piece and whispered to him that is was a girl on the phone. He waited for his mom to leave the room, and said hello, in a barely heard voice. She said that she had went through some of her father’s books in his library and found some books on confidence. Would he like to borrow them. He said sure, his voice a little stronger now. She asked him if he would be home that coming Friday night around seven. He said ya. She said I will see ya then. He hung up the phone and leaned up against the wall. There was a daze in his eyes, and sort of spacy look. Friday at school seemed to never end. When he got home, he picked out the coolest clothes he could find, and took a bath. He splashed on some cologne, and went down to supper. Mom and dad just looked at him and each other, and smiled. At seven prompt, the door bell rang. He let her in. After a brief introduction with parents, they walked out to the porch swing and both sat down. She handed him the books that she had brought, and together, the boy with no confidence, and the high-class girl, made a connection that would last the rest of their lives.