From Silent to Speaking: A Memoir

So for my final, my English teacher wanted us to write a short personal memoir/essay. So after feedback from my teacher, I have decided to share it with all of you. Please remember that this memoir was a 3-day project by a girl wanting to pass her class (I gave it my best attempt!). I hope you enjoy it.


“You’re so short. You look like a kindergartener! Ewww.” the kid said snarkily. Those words drew my attention away from the homework, and I turned around, ready to intensely glare at the bratty child. To my surprise, it wasn’t me on the receiving end of those comments but rather a trembling girl who was being demeaned by a guy who seemed to be full of pride as he watched the small girl hug her books tighter with every passing remark. I watched the scene unfold onto the field. And I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. Everyone is always told about stories of bullying and how we should not judge anyone based on their appearance. Those presentations and lectures were pretty much seared into the brains of every single child. Then, why was this still happening? We were practically high schoolers. Alas, I took a deep breath and sighed, knowing what would happen if my mind had its way.

It’s not common to see someone else take a stand for a stranger. And I saw that on the looks of everyone’s faces when I marched up to the kid. Being aware that he was towering over my 4’ 7” body, I, with more defiance than I knew I had, stated “So, do I need to tell you how disgusting that is, or should I grab an adult? Perhaps they can be the judge of your behavior?” The guy stared at me as if he was attempting to break me down. After a couple of seconds, he simply gritted his teeth and walked away. As he went away, I looked down and immediately felt a pang of guilt run through me. Was I too harsh? By threatening to tell an adult, was I being a coward? Maybe, no one would even care. All of a sudden, I felt an embrace warm my body. I glanced up to see the girl smiling ear to ear. Immediately, that insecurity was buried as I realized that she was truly grateful. With a certain gleam of inspiration in her eye, she asked “How did you do that?” I drifted into my thoughts, looked at her, and gave her a simple smile.

“Stop kicking my seat!” She stood up and turned around, meeting the innocent eyes of my 4-year-old sister with an intense gaze. I, only 9 years old myself, cowered back as much as I could while remaining in my seat, and looked at my younger sister, her eyes filled with terror. My mother sincerely started to form her apology.

“I’m sorry. She was—”

“I don’t care! She was kicking my seat!” the woman yelled as if the tiny child had just committed the greatest offense of all time.

I had never seen my mother, one who had always shown us so much love and care, get angry so quick. It was as if someone had said the magic words and snap! Instant anger had boiled. At that moment, I was more terrified by my mother than the random stranger who was yelling at her. Yet, I can only imagine what everyone on that plane thought as the next 20 seconds passed, watching my mom and this random stranger get into an intense verbal fight. I, meanwhile, wasn’t. I was staring at the tray table in front of me, noticing the graininess and its bumpy texture as I started to delve into my memories.

“That food looks like a burnt pancake.” “You look like you touched the sun.” “I almost didn’t notice you. You’re so short!” These comments were only a handful of what came to my mind as my mom fought this stranger. It occurred to me how long I would just endure the statements. Just brush it off as if they never existed and then laugh about how stupid the comment was with some friends and then go back to playing Super Smash Bros. It was a pattern, and it seemed to work. However, what was my mom thinking? Why did we need to create such a big scene? Had it never occurred to her that people were watching us? Wait, what am I thinking? We aren’t even doing anything wrong! Thoughts endlessly filled my brain for the rest of the flight.

The rest of the flight with this random woman wasn’t any easier. I swear it felt like the gods themselves were testing our patience. For the next three hours, my family and the rest of the plane watched this woman put on some ridiculous acts, such as asking a flight attendant to pick her nose and even accusing my family of trying to kill her with nail polish. Yes, trying to cheer my sister up with nail polish apparently equates to suffocation. I didn’t even have to look. I could just feel the annoyance of everyone around us, probably thinking “Oh God, how much longer do we have to be here?” As ridiculous as the rest of that flight was, nothing could have prepared me for what would happen when the flight landed.

“Everyone, we have landed, but please remain in your seats till further notice.” I’m sure my family and I couldn’t wait to get out of that flight. It had been by far the most chaotic thing we ever experienced. We waited for about 30 minutes after the announcement was made. At this point, I was pretty ticked off. Surely, they knew that people didn’t want to be in this plane any longer than they had to. Surely, the flight attendant complained about this woman’s antics. Then, why are they forcing us to still— Boom! Out of nowhere, police came on the plane and arrested this woman in front of us. And I was in utter shock. I know that what she did was really horrible, but being arrested? Seriously? As it turns out, not only did my mom feel that this woman’s behavior toward my innocent 4-year-old sister was completely unacceptable, but so did the rest of the plane. My mom was the only one who actually voiced it.

I told this story to my friends, years after it happened. Yes, it did happen over a game of Super Smash Bros when one of them inquired about that trip to Disney World. Yes, they were all asking me, “Wait. Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?” I think the immediate effect that the experience had on me was so great that it never really occurred to me that all of my friends need to hear about the entire situation. After that experience, I became subconscious of little incidents in the classroom. There would be incidents, where classmates eagerly raise their hands and then shrink away in what seems to be fear. However, what would’ve happened if my mom had been afraid to voice their opinion? The woman may have gotten in trouble, but who knows whether or not she would’ve been arrested? While I may never know the true impact of my mom’s words in that situation, I know that it had brought an impact upon me. Perhaps it gave me confidence in my own opinion. Perhaps it showed me that reality may not always be what the movies and TV shows represent. Perhaps some people don’t have a voice. Perhaps I can be one to give it to them.


I hope you guys enjoyed the writing. Don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss any posts. Leave a comment on the contact form for collabs or post suggestions. And as always, stay safe!

Your sincere writer and confidante,

Anushka


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