I wrote a little of this months back but then never got around to finish it. I know this might be a little disorganized (?) and it’s definitely something I can improve. But till that lucky day comes… happy reading!
A lovely dumb head. That was the name my best friend had for me. Everyone else called me a dumb head but she didn’t. Because I had begged her not to. She promised to add the adjective ‘lovely’ with the offensive word. Then we became best friends.
We sat together in each class and we shared our books with each other. She shared her grilled tuna sandwich with me while I gave her half of my Peanut butter one. We had the same colored water bottles and school bags and we both had sworn to always have the same favorite color: Green.
She was the sugar to my cake, while I was the salt, as she often mentioned. I said that salt was too salty and I didn’t want to be the salt in her ‘friendship’ cake, but she reassured me that salt, nevertheless salty, was always necessary. Till the age of 12 I didn’t mind being her salt.
“Don’t call her that word again, you human. ” She said standing protectively in front of me.
“But you call her that too,” the boy shrieked.
“I am very much polite, young man. You can be a bit more courteous and add the word ‘lovely’ with that uncivil word as not to hurt my dear friends feelings.” She said in a relatively calm and civil voice.
“A lovely dumb head, eh?” A laugh escaped his mouth before his words did.
“Yes. Now leave us alone. ” My best friend got back to her usual self again.
As the boy walked away, I felt happy for having such an amazing friend.
Lilith was my best friend and I’m ashamed to admit that she was also my only friend. At school we were known as dumb and notorious. Dolores and Lilith. I wonder why my parents had chosen such a name for me. Maybe, they too like Lilith’s parents, didn’t want a daughter. Oh well, Mum says she and dad love me so I don’t need to worry about being a girl instead of being the better one – a boy.
I grew up with parents who didn’t had time for me. My mum was a gym instructor and my dad spent most of his time outside looking for work and doing odd jobs. He never really had a stable job. At least, not till people became such racists.
Not having much of my parents attention made me feel worthless.
Unfortunately, my grades got more attention than I did. My parents liked me, but not my grades. I knew I was worthless, but my parents liked me and earned for me and fed me and when late at night, both of them would open the bolted doors and enter the house (notice how I didn’t say home?), the sound of my mum shouting at me for yet another thing that I couldn’t manage to do actually soothed me. I’d rush to the door and hug her.
All the things I wanted to complain about would immediately slid away from my mind and all the gilas and shikwas I had planned to do would leave me alone in the brief hug me and my parents exchanged.
I guess I should have been upset for being compared to others and for not having understanding parents, but I wasn’t.
I’d store in all the little things my parents and everyone said to me and during the day, I’d cry in front of Lilith. But when mama and papa would come back, all those miseries would be silenced.
At school everyone called me a dumb head. The name had stuck with me since one of the teachers had erupted with anger at seeing me draw instead of writing down some dumb verbs.
Completely frustrated with being scolded nearly everyday for ‘not paying attention’ I shouted back at the teacher. I had no intention of being rude out loud but my anger got better of me. And guess what? The teacher said I was dumb.
I was a ‘d u m b h e a d’.
After being called a dumb head throughout elementary since then, I was convinced I was truly a useless and worthless fool who was only a thorn in the bush and just a useless person my mum and dad fed.
Since then, I was randomly called a dumb head. Every moment I needed be reminded of how stupid I was.
There were only two places I went; School and Lilith’s house. After elementary ended, I was no longer allowed to go over at Lilith’s house. Apparently, I was different because I was an immigrant and that made me bad. Being different made me bad. Being a guest in their country made me bad.
Me and Lilith had always been inseparable but when when I couldn’t go over to her home, she started spending time with other people. People other than me. People who’d call me dumb head even when I got better at studies. People who called making others laugh by making fun of me ‘humanitarian work‘.
You know all those books you read where the shy protagonist’s only savior slowly starts to fraternize with the enemy and the protagonist’s is left all alone and finally learns to stand up for herself? Well, that’s literally my story.
I lost Lilith. The only person who would call me her ‘lovely dumb head’. The only person who’d understand me. My safe space was no longer a safe space. What made it worse was that she left. She left even when I didn’t give her any reason to.
And to ‘comfort’ me, my parents told me life is unfair. And I was being unfair to them by not studying and wasting my time moping around.
But who could tell them that the only person who motivated me to study was the person I no longer had?
I was just a dumb head again.
I was no longer lovely.
What I learnt from this: life is unfair but that’s how you’re always learning. Also, I shouldn’t rely on others. I have to be my own savior. I know that’s not the complete lesson I learnt but I don’t think I’m ready to accept the other bitter truths just yet.
Lovely work-in-progress Dumb head.