Intellectual Depravity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Dystopian story on the importance of education in America

Submitted: January 22, 2013

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Submitted: January 22, 2013

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Rachel Martino

Intellectual Depravity

Everything rushed around me. My mother’s hand was in my own as we walked down the grim hallway. My new shoes clicked and clacked against the polished floors as my mother struggled to find words, “I…I…thought if they saw how bright you are… how much you already know…” Midst her flustered words, I remembered the moments that had just occurred.

 My dream had stood before me, a towering building, large in length and size. Everyday, for as long as I could remember, we had passed this school on the way home from my mother’s job at the dry cleaners and now, there I had been. I had spent most days at my mother’s work reading books. My mother told me that at this school there were thousands of books in a vast library and I couldn’t wait until the day when I would get to go inside. But most of all, I couldn’t wait to go to school with my best friend Derek.

It wasn’t as marvelous as I thought it would be. When my name didn’t come up on the class list I knew something was wrong and so did everyone else. So there I was, with my mother, heading quickly in a direction down the hall unclear to me. I heard the clock ticking, slower and slower. It seemed as if at a specific time a bell would sound. With each bell, students rushed out of doors into new ones. All I could think was of how  desperately I wanted to be a part of the crowd. I wished to be with the students rushing into the gaps in the wall to fill their minds with knowledge. With all the commotion about, I hadn’t noticed that my mother had stopped and we turned toward a grand door. My mother’s hand clenched and worried, I looked up at her distressed face and asked if this was my new class. She just smiled for some reason and said, “Oh, I hope so sweetie. I want you to stay out here while mommy goes and talks to the teacher, okay?” I nodded and she put me on the bench next to the door and placed a book in my lap, but I set aside the book and tried to listen to what was happening in the room my mother went into.

“I told you already, Miss Jones, your daughter simply cannot attend this school without the proper…” was all I heard from the man inside, whom sounded quite familiar. I tried desperately to hear why I couldn’t attend. It was difficult to distinguish the words exchanged between the two, but as the conversation heated up the information became clear to me.

“But don’t you see how talented she is? How bright? Half the kids who attend your school don’t want to learn half as much as Amanda!” I could hear my mother practically crying out in despair to this man and I felt guilty that she was doing this for me. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just let me in to class with all my other friends.

“As I have told you once before, Miss Jones, our school would be privileged to have a child such as yours, but things simply do not work as they once did before. We simply do not have the funds to give free education to any child who needs it.” I pondered what this man meant. Funds?

“There must be a scholarship, just something until we get more financially stable?  I’ve raised her all by myself all these years. I’ve given everything up while working three jobs so she could go to school. Your just standing there and telling me that my daughter isn’t good enough because we cant afford to pay high cost for 1st grade education!”

“Miss Jones, I…”

“Whatever happened to the America our ancestors came here for? You didn’t need money to make something of yourself. You got the same education as all the children, until some rich aristocrats decided to change it all ‘for the better of society.’ School funding from the government got lower and lower until they just decided to not fund schooling at all! 58% of American families can’t afford to put their children through school! Because less than half are getting an education, our country is far from improving. But do they give loans, scholarships, or any kind of money to those who can’t afford to put their children through school? No…”

“Miss Jones!” Then suddenly it got real quiet. My eyes fixated to the window behind me and with the drop of my heart I saw my mother collapse in her chair and break into tears.

“How can you tell me that this is truly for the better of society?”

“I…”

“Because you are the one getting paid. You are the one who can afford to put your son through school.” I turned around and saw her pointing at a picture; it was my best friend Derek. I looked closer at this man’s face and realized that this man denying me education was practically my father. I felt pressure on my chest, as if it was about to collapse and I was unable to breathe. I felt betrayed by the one man I had ever had in my life. He was the one whom I had told my dream to, my desires to learn and yet he had no desire to make this simple dream come true.

“Miss Jones, this is an impersonal matter…”

“This is far from impersonal. You know how hard I have worked all my life. I didn’t get an education. I want things to be different for her. I want her to have everything I never had and more. It’s Amanda, John. The little girl your son adores… How can you stand there and deny my child an education when your son is practically my daughter’s brother? When she is practically your daughter?” Her voice was tense and I understood the resentment beneath her words now.

“Samantha, if you don’t leave, I’m going to have to call security, which is an embarrassment I’d rather avoid for you.” I turned once more to the window and I could tell in his eyes that this was truly a hard thing for him to do and he believed he had no choice, but in my eyes the man that I had looked up to all my life was kicking me to the curb. With a controlled roughness in his voice he said, “If you can’t pay the dues, you and your daughter must leave at once.” My mother rose to her feet and after looking through her wallet placed a piece of paper on the desk and said,

“Believe me, you can be sure that, that is the last of Amanda you will ever see.” And without another word my mother walked out. I picked up my book, wiped my tears, put on a brave face for my mother, and turned towards the end of the story.

“Mommy??”

“Yes, baby doll?” she said as she wiped her tears from her eyes. I could tell she was trying greatly to keep her emotions hidden, but little did she know I too had experienced the events that had just occurred.

“Am I going to go to class, mommy?” She grabbed my hand and pulled her face closer to mine,

“Not this year, honey… Not this year.” The bell rang and once more down the hall we went. But as I looked back, I saw Derek standing there with his father. His father looked longingly after us but stayed put where he was. But Derek, he just smiled, not understanding that I wouldn’t see him again. So I smiled back and waved with tears in my eyes wishing things were different and in that moment I vowed that I would change things. I turned around, and my mother and I stepped out of the doors of that school faster than we had entered. That was the last time I ever saw Derek or his father ever again. I started a study group for kids who also couldn’t attend school. My mother hoped that a home study group would count for school on a job application but I hoped that, that 58% would prove those aristocrats wrong. A package arriving at our house of educational books was the last trace I ever saw of Derek and his father. Even my friendship bracelet and pictures strewn about the walls slowly disappeared as if my mother was trying to erase them from my memories. But she didn’t she know I didn’t want to remember the man who had failed me, and the so-called friend who didn’t care. Someday, I may just forget them. But forgetting and forgiving are two different things.

 


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