By: Basilia Vega
I loved to write. When I wrote my first poem I was in 4th grade. My teacher, Ms. Hudson Myer, is a terrorist. Every one of my poems, stories and even letters to my sick classmates were burned in the prosecution of plagiarizing. Invading my intelligence with her yells and principal meetings, I was scared and threatened that I would never become smart on my own.
My principle Ms. Cook would ask“Basilia, show me the books where you took all these poems from? I need everything! Come, lets go to your locker.” My tears were bullets fighting this terrorist out my territory, where she didn’t belong. “Basilia, you can get in a lot of trouble of writing stories for class that were not yours. Honey, do you understand what I am explaining to you?”
“But Ms. Cook, I don’t have no books. I don’t have nothing from the library. Can you trust me?” I was just a pathetic young Mexican girl against a white teacher, who is she going to believe? My forearm was already sore and bruised. The velocity of my heart beat thinned my blood and I couldn’t keep my back straight as she dragged me down the hall with balls and chains around my body. It was hard enough slipping on my fear that was running down my face. I admitted to myself that I stole money before, and yes, the sweater I’m wearing isn’t mine, but I thought I at least had words of my own.
The slam of the locker boomed! Smacked against the other lockers, I hope they bruised as well. “Where is it!!!” Ms. Cook’s eyes grew. My legs started to rattle like the snake she is trying to find; would the wrap of her words finally dismember me from district 65. Ms. Hudson Myer watches as her eyebrows come together and her lips start tucking in. The kids are screaming from recess and here I am resuscitating the attack. Ms. Cook bowed her head, closed her eyes and dragged me lifeless to her office.
I’ve always knew they thought they were better than my kind. My people. They had fancy vacations, handsome husbands and intelligence that drained from books bought by a $45,000 education, anyone else who can receive from $2.50 of late fees from their local library. “Did you hear me, Basilia?! Why aren’t you telling me the truth! Ms. Cook and I would be able to help you.”
“I don’t have no book! Please leave me alone! I want to go home and I hate you!” It’s a pointless argument I’ve thrown. As much effort and courage I had to stick to my guns, I wish I had that same amount of willing to check out at least one novel, one story from the library.
That way it wouldn’t have took as long as it did to learn how to read.