“Leave her!” She yelled. Hua threw her books on the floor and rushed to Abena. The girls sensing trouble left Abena alone on the ground.
“Abena?” She dropped down beside Abena and helped her up.
“Are you okay?”
Abena nodded. She had a swollen eye and blood was oozing down her head.
“Come on let’s take you to the school nurse.”
Abena didn’t have the strength to complain. She just wanted to lie down. It seemed like eternity before they finally made it to the school nurse. They entered the nurses’ office. Hua placed Abena on one of the seats.
“My friend’s been hurt.” Hua explained to the nurse, pointing to Abena. The nurse shook her head. “Take her some place else. I don’t want to touch her.”
Hua retorted “What?!” That was not how a student should be behaving. “She’s hurt!” Hua’s voice rose an octave higher.
“Take her out of my office. I don’t want to touch her.” The nurse replied again.
Hua stood in front of her, stunned by what she heard. Abena sighed. “Hua, I’m leaving.” She said trying to get up from the seat.
“Oh no you don’t you’re staying here.” Hua’s eyes flashed with anger. She turned back to the school nurse. “This is all bullshit. You are bullshit. She’s hurt for crying out loud! She’s meant to be under your care but you won’t treat her because she’s black?! This is fucking bull shit! Who the hell do you think you are to judge someone by their skin color?”
Abena raised her eyebrows in surprise. Hua was acting like a madman. The nurse looked at Abena and she looked away, suddenly fearful of what could happen to her.
“Hua let’s get out of here.” Abena whispered.
Hua turned to Abena and looked back at the nurse “This isn’t over.” And with that, she helped Abena up and both girls went to the girl’s bathroom.
“What a piece of shit.” Hua mumbled under her breath.
She helped Abena onto the sink bench top, took some tissue and wet them. She applied pressure softly to Abena’s head.
“You should go to class. You’re already late to class.” Abena said, trying to take the wet tissue from Hua’s hand.
Hua grunted and muttered under her breath.
“What did you say?” Abena asked.
“I’m not going anywhere and I’m not leaving you looking like… like this!” she kept cleaning Abena’s wounds. Do they always do this to you?” She asked Abena.
Abena shrugged. “What do you think?”
Hua groaned. “It’s disgusting.”
“The way they treat you. They treat you like shit. Why don’t you just leave?”
“You grow a thick skin at this school.”
“You don’t even seem to fight back. You just take what’s thrown at you.”
“If I fight back, I’ll be no more of a bully like the other kids.”
“Well, if you want to survive, you need to fight.”
There was silence. Both girls had nothing else to say.
“Thank you.” Abena whispered.
“For what?” Hua asked.
“For helping me. No one’s ever done that before.”
“Well I’m glad I’m the first.” Hua smiled.
Abena nodded and the tears started to flow.
“Why are you crying?” Hua asked.
“Nothing.” Abena replied.
“Nothing? It must be about something!”
Abena laughed but the tears continued to fall.
“You want to talk about it?” Hua asked as she gave Abena a tissue. Abena looked Hua in the eye for a long time, trying to figure out if she could trust her. She tried to stay away from her, but when she saw Hua, her loneliness seemed to evaporate and happiness somehow seemed to settle in. She now had someone to talk to. Someone who didn’t care about what people thought of her ideas.
Abena smiled and let the words come out of her mouth. She began telling Hua the story of her life and how she felt being who she was. She told Hua about how she felt like she was in a cage when she looked at herself in the mirror. Abena told Hua about how the color of her skin was like a prison cell and how it slowly ate away her heart and soul. She talked about her parents and about her bullying.
By the time she was done, she was being consoled by Hua. She had let it all out. She felt free. The pain, the heartache, the sorrow… everything was gone.