Our English teacher assigned us to write three short stories in the style of Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. So here you go! (Whether they’re true accounts or not are up to your imagination)
Story 1: Nina the Ballerina with two legs
Nina is a ballerina. She has a slender body, a small face the size of a coconut, skinny arms, legs like sticks—everything a girl like me could ever dream of.
Nina has a perfect vision. She never once wore those ugly glasses with thick, black frames. Nina never wore contact lenses, those tiny pieces of hard round glasses that turn rocky and makes your eyes scream in pain every now and then.
Nina moved here from Japan on her own when she was just 12 years old. No parents, no siblings, no nothing. She couldn’t even speak English! Now, she is 19 years old.
I loved talking to her, the way she looks straight in your eyes and smiled so warmly you couldn’t keep yourself from blushing. I loved the way she expressed her love for ballet—her dedication was one of a kind. I loved how she was always surrounded by friends, and I wish that one day I could be like her.
But one day, she wasn’t surrounded by any friends no more. She stopped talking about ballet. She started wearing an ugly hat that she never took off and she gained some weight. I don’t think she had any hair left either.
Nina still looked straight into my eyes when she talked. The only thing different was that this time, she couldn’t see.
Story 2: A little more than friends, a little less than lovers
There’s a cute boy in my class. And we have a thing going on, him and I. Well, it’s a secret that no one knows about, not even my closest friends. My parents don’t know, his parents don’t know, his friends don’t know, my friends don’t know.
Why, why do you make my heart skip a beat every time I see you?
Why, why do you write me cute little notes with a surprisingly neat handwriting and unexpected hearts?
Why, why do you text me ‘good night <3’ every single day and ‘good morning <3’ first thing when you wake up?
Why, why do you hold my hand and kiss me on the cheek when no one is around? And why, why do you tell me you love me so many times that my heart can’t take it anymore?
Why? Why are you hugging a pretty girl I’ve never seen and kissing her on her forehead? I guess it was just me who thought we had something between us.
Story 3: Barcoded
I go to a public school. You know, those large schools with 4,000 students. I’ve been to the same school for three years now and I see at least ten new faces every day. All kind of faces. Americans, Asians, African Americans, Egyptian, Mexicans. Short and tall. Chubby and skinny. ‘That’s racist!’ is what all kids say.
I go to my fixed classes every day, all with different subjects and different teachers. But there’s one thing in common: “There’s homework tonight.”
In my math class, the teacher is very mean. A middle-aged lady with a pointy nose, she gave me a ‘B’ on my homework for not circling my answers. When I asked her why the ‘B,’ she said it’s because I didn’t follow her instructions.
In English class, we had to write an essay on whether our government is corrupt or not. I especially did my best because I care about the society. I care that my gay friend doesn’t feel safe at school and I care that Carlos got rotten eggs chucked at his house for being Mexican. I got my essay back. It had ‘C’ in red, fat marker on the top. When I asked him why, he said he didn’t like the style of my writing.
In my physics class, our teacher made us build a catapult to launch pumpkins on Halloween. Not to complain or anything, but it took me ten whole hours. Ten. My partner said she would help; it’s a shame she had food poisoning every time I called her to come over. My teacher gave us a ‘B-.’ He said we didn’t have a latching mechanism like he wanted us to have. I didn’t feel like going out to trick-or-treating after that.
In my history class, I had to make a pamphlet about Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. I had a rough night. I didn’t have any sleep and I kind of scrambled it all together. I was surprised that he gave me an A+.
It’s strange, how I’m constantly labeled
Here’s an A, here’s a C, always so unstable
“You didn’t follow my instructions,”
“You made too many assumptions,”
More and more, I don’t want to get out of my bed
And go to school, for another label