story and photo by Lili Garkavets, age 15
Rico was a shy boy, but very trusting. He never lied. He was a tall, skinny boy with black hair and brown eyes. One morning his parents told him that they are moving. He got up sad but did not say a word about not wanting to move. He took it how it was.
They were moving to Ohio from Mexico. They moved to a small house with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The rooms were all dark and very creepy. It smelled like bad food and old stuff. The house was the very last one and the oldest one in neighborhood.
It had been five days from the time they moved in, so it was time for Rico to go to school. The playground of the school did not have any swings or monkey bars. The school building was old and smelly, the classrooms were very small and crowded, kids crammed together like kernels of corn in a can. It even smelled like old corn in class.
When Rico checked in to the room they called office--it was big room with two chairs and a big desk--he found out that his new teacher was Mrs. Parallelepiped. His homeroom was #25. When he walked in the halls, it was dark and there was trash all over the school. The walls were all dirty, old books on the floors.
He finally found the small room with a lot of desks and a chalkboard and a teacher's desk. His teacher was a middle-aged woman, with short hair and big glassless. She was mean and grumpy. She could almost eat a kid up with her mad look. When Rico started talking, all the eyes were following his lips, his every word.
Mrs. Parallelepiped looked up and asked, “Are you Rico ?”
Rico whispered, “Yes, ma'am.”
She did not smile just said, “Go sit down by Leo."
Leo was a big guy for his age and he was mean looking he had a big scar on his face. It was like a sign that he is a guy you don't want to mess with. He had messy hair and dirty t-shirt. It looked like there was real blood on his t-shirt. Leo gave Rico the look of “don't you dare." When Rico walked down to his seat, all the eyes followed him. He started doing the class work. It was a history test. It was so easy for him, and Leo did not like that Rico was smart.
Rico did not notice how the class ended so fast. It was lunch time. All the kids circled him and told him the rules in this class: if you are a bad boy you're welcomed. If you are a teacher's pet, you get beat up.
Leo was in middle of group and said, “Let's test you and see who you are.” It was clear that he was the boss here.
Leo asked Rico to say a bad word. Rico said no. He knew that was the end for him in this class; that he will get beat up.
The kids said, "Say it or you will be sorry."
Rico said, “No.”
So they pushed him around and told him, “Get ready pet!"
After school, a group of boys followed Rico. Leo was in the middle of the group. When Rico turned onto his street, the boys caught up to him.
Leo said, “I give you one more chance. So say it and you will be welcomed to our group."
Rico looked up and said, “No.”
Now there was a feeling of blood coming from his nose. He saw someone hitting him more and more. Harder and harder. Stronger and stronger. He heard crying. He thought that was his mom but he had no strength to talk or open his eyes. Then he woke up home. He felt so much pain. He had blood all over his body, but he did not think that he is hurt. He felt good inside.
His mom was crying, but he said, “I did not say it. I did not." Then he said, “I want to go home."
The next day the Rico's family started packing. They ended up leaving the next month because to much work needed to be done. They will not forget that day, the day kids treated their son unfairly. But Rico was not sorry for the stuff he did. He proved to himself that he can stay strong.