Accepting Life


It has been a long two weeks after the high school graduation. Except sketching and reading there is nothing much to do. One morning at the dining table Alexa sits with her parents for breakfast with her hands folded on the lap, on her blue dress. Instead of eating her cereal, she glances through the window. Outside the presence of summer is clear; some of the neighborhood kids are riding their big wheels, one woman is playing catch with her dog, a construction is going on at the cul-de-sac house. The most interesting scene for Alexa is the two squirrels scampering through the trees and playing hide and seek. Her dad clears his throat. “ Alexa finish your breakfast.” Then he takes a sip from his tea-cup and says. “ After the breakfast I will help you in applying for a part-time job so that it will keep you busy.”

Alexa is not sure about that but she takes a deep breath and faces her dad while pouring the cereal to a bowl. “Sure.”

After three weeks she receives a date for the  interview. Before the interview Alexa  goes to different sites in the internet to find out a few tips on how to answer the interview questions, how to show her confidence…She changes her mind and occupies herself in watching the Animal planet. It has more interesting facts on the movements and impulses of the animals to understand them better. She taps one finger on her cheek and smiles. May be I should work in a zoo.

On the day of the interview Alexa walks into her closet to pick up something nice to wear. Inside it is a big mess: unfolded clothes are everywhere. She tries her best to fold neatly but her weak motor skills make it impossible. On one hanger  she finds a black pant and a white shirt. At the top corner of  the hanger there is a sticky note from her mother. “ Wear this to the interview and best of luck!” A brief smile flashes on her lips. Alexa opens the front door but then she steps back.  She is not sure if she can talk in the interview or if she can concentrate. Instead she decides to stay home. It will be fun to  spend the day in studying the birds and the squirrels in our backyard. She grabs a writing pad and wheels into the deck.

After this incident on one Saturday Alexa’s parents decide to visit the zoo. Alexa prepares the picnic basket with trail mix, cheese sticks, sandwiches in one plastic bag and a few water bottles in another. After spending the day with the cute animals Alexa decides to sign up for the volunteer program. Her parents eyes grew bright with excitement like incandescent lamps.

On a bright Sunday morning after her morning walk with the dog, Alexa stands in front of a mirror. She is getting ready for a birthday party. She does not want to but her mother insists.

“You should go and enjoy with your friends.” Her mother says affectionately touching Alexa’s shoulder. “ It is good for your health.”

Alexa tries a black mascara but pokes herself in the eye, around the lid and all over the sink. Next she picks up a mauve colored lipstick. Instead of coloring the lips her unsteady hand colors all the places around her lips. She looks down. Oh, No! The immaculately cleaned white sink has turned into a painted canvas. The door opens. Her mother walks in.

“Come, I will help you.” She says lovingly.

Alexa returns early from the Birthday party. She walks straight into her room with her head slightly bend towards one shoulder and her hands dangling down.She settles herself on a bean bag and leans back on the wall. Her arms folded on her stomach, one foot crossed the toe pointed to the ground. Everything in her life has changed after the accident in her middle school. She is not the same energetic, bright and lively girl any more. No one can see her mind churning out distractions after distractions, squandering her concentration. People could not  seem to understand her inability to pay attention, to stay focus or to calculate simple math problems. They do not know that Alexa has brain damage from the accident. She has to visit  so many doctors in so many clinics! Alexa wipes the warm tears from the corner of her eyes with her palm. She has tried so many times to fake that she is perfect,to be like others but truly does not know any more. She wants to embrace the reality, take the life as it comes and move on. I do not know if I can work anywhere but I want to continue my study. May be I should volunteer in the zoo and learn the animal behavior.


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