Some people cannot move their hands, or their arms, or their legs. Some people, well, they can't move anything below their neck. But most of those types of people turn out successful in life, they move on from their limits and turn into great people.
Other people, they just can't do that.
One example is, well, me.
I can move my arms. I can move my legs just fine. I can move my head. It's what on the inside that's not working.
Everything that I want to happen, everything that I want to say, isn't possible for me. Everything that allows me to talk. Is paralyzed.
It happened to me when I was four, but my big brother, Kenny, takes the blame for what happened to me.
Halloween night. I wanted to go classic and use an old bed sheet for a ghost costume. Kenny went ahead and wanted to be Count Dracula. Carmen, my older sister, was a fairy princess, and my two year old sister, Anna, was Kermit the Frog.
I don't know why he wanted to do it, but Kenny did it anyway. He scared me on Halloween night. I forget how, but it had something to do with jumping on top of me from my bunk-bed. There I was, just dancing in my room pretending to be dead, when suddenly there was 96 pounds of pure fool on me.
I know I screamed. I didn't stop screaming until finally Mom and Dad told me to stop. They didn't let Kenny or me go out trick-or-treating that night. They said that I should stay home, and that Kenny was grounded. So instead Mom went to go take Carmen and Anna out, and Dad stayed home with Kenny and me.
I could tell that Kenny was going to get a real beating. But I would have taken a beating compared to what happened the next day.
Kenny woke me up, but I was so mad at him I didn't speak to him at all. I only spoke at the table, when Mom asked what kind of pancakes I wanted for breakfast. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. Mom asked again, and I tried to answer, but nothing came out again. "Maybe you're just losing your voice, after last night." She proposed, shooting a rather angry look at Kenny, who looked paralyzed in his seat.
I didn't speak that day, at all. I wanted to, sure, but Mom said to keep my mouth closed, and to not speak. That, and I couldn't speak anyway.
A week passed, but I still couldn't speak. Mom finally gave up on not sending me to school, so she sent me to Lincoln Elementary with a dry-eraser board and a marker, telling me to write whatever I wanted to say on there instead of speaking. I nodded, and I went to school.
That board, over the years, became part of me. I named it Lila, and whenever I waved hello to people, they would always say "Hi Lila," too. I wrote conversations on there. Answers. Math problems. Anything, really, I was almost never found not writing on Lila. My title at school became known as Loudly Silent Girl.
Finally, after three years of not speaking, after my tongue had probably forgotten how to form the words I wanted to speak so badly but couldn't, the truth was accepted - my vocal chords were paralyzed. Luckily I could still breathe, but I went to the doctor's monthly just for a check up. I could still give my mom sass if I wanted to. I could still roll my eyes, and sneeze, and cough, et cetera. But I couldn't talk.
Physically.Eleven years later, I'm still going strong. Eleven years later, I'm still gossiping with friends. Eleven years later, I'm still alive and breathing, most importantly.
It got harder to endure the ability to not talk in high school, but I've made it eleven years already without talking once, and I can last another. Teachers seat me in the very back, which gets me angry, but I'm never called on, so they don't have to deal with making their eyes angry with trying to read my scrawled writing. It makes me more mad, I want to scream.
But I can't.
Because I'm paralyzed - not on the outside, but on the in.