Old Things Die (But Not Us) -- Chapter two and a half: Entry 12

Fiction By Madalyn Clare // 11/25/2018

Dear Levi:
I just got to my cabin here in Best Foot Forward. I hate it. Hate, hate, hate it. Right now, I’m trying to finish writing this before Alan comes in. I’m watching him from the window; I think he’s playing football, or whatever that is, with some of the other guys in our group of cabins. I can’t tell when it’s all running and tackling and getting hurt.
I’m really scared right now, because a lot of these kids are bigger than me, and meaner. I don’t know why a lot of poor kids are just so cruel. Not all of them are. The other ones are just embarrassed that they’re here.
Why are the cruel ones the ones you remember? Why aren’t there kind guys here? I know I should be happy for you, for being in that prep school and studying all those chemistry atoms and stuff, but I’m not. Really, I just want to be with you and I can’t because you’re there and I’m here.
The people who work here are okay, I guess. They want us to succeed. They really do. But right now they’re going on about how it’s the economy and the rich people that are keeping us from being like the rich people. And they’re also pointing out the black guys and the Hispanic guys, and saying that white guys don't hire them because of their skin. But then Alan pointed out that I shouldn’t be here, because I should be working for some tech company or NASA, because my eyes are slanted. He said that, Levi. He didn’t say ‘because my dad should want the best for me’ or ‘because my parents worked hard’. They obviously didn’t. He said I should be rich because my parents happened to come from Asian places. Of course, he said that in my ear. He didn’t want anyone else to hear it. I just stayed quiet because I was so angry and I didn’t know what to say at all.
My dad should have cared to want the best for me. My dad should have treated my mom right. My dad shouldn’t have yelled for her to slam herself into the semi.
I’m not poor because of rich people. I’m not poor because of the color of my skin. Nothing like that is keeping me from being anything I want. My dad is. This isn’t about race or status. Nothing’s like that. It boils down to who’s telling you to do good and who’s making sure you feel like nothing.
You’re dark-skinned and look where you are. I wanted to tell them that it doesn’t matter; we’re in Maine, not Alabama or something. I don’t get why skin matters so much. It’s already thin and only a coverup for what’s pretty much the same for everybody: if you get a cut on any color skin, you bleed red blood. We’ve all got stomachs, kidneys, hearts, brains. I want to think everyone has hearts and brains. I don’t think that’s so different.
I guess people don’t want to live with blame. That it makes them feel better about not trying. That it makes it easier to live the way they want. I don’t know everything about being poor, but I’m sure that these camp directors aren’t telling everyone’s stories.
Alan’s coming back. I don’t want him to find this.
Your friend,
Josh

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