STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
EMERALD BLUE OKIKI
Home of Mane.
My mom introduces me to my new bedroom, well, in a way she does. It closely resembles my old bedroom back in Virginia. These bookshelves are similar to the ones I had mounted in my old room.
Dolls line my window seal and model airplanes are suspended above my bed. I notice some minor differences like the room size.
This room is a lot larger. Also, the window is in front of my bed. I push my wheels to move forward, and park myself in front of my bedroom window. The view is different too. Back in Virginia, my room was located on the second floor of our house. From there I could see much more of the neighborhood, but from here I can only see the house across the street.
We have no trees in our new front yard, which gives me a clearer view of the full moon.
‘Like it?’ My mom asks, ‘we tried to make it look more like home.’
‘I do,’ I reply, still looking at the moon above.
‘I think you should get some rest. I want to take you somewhere tomorrow.’
‘It’s a surprise. You’ll have fun. Trust me,’ she says with lots of enthusiasm.
I was never a big fan of surprises.
‘Okay,’ I reply half-heartedly.
Shortly after, my mother helps me into bed. Before leaving, she kisses me on the forehead and closes my bedroom door. I stare at my model planes hanging over my bed until I fall asleep, which never take me very long to do.
Now it’s 10:30AM and I’m driving alongside my mom on the highway. Where to exactly? That’s still unknown to me. My mom informed me at the breakfast table that this trip will do me some good, whatever that means. Twenty minutes later, my mom takes an exit that leads us onto a narrow road shaded by deep woods.
We continue straight for a couple of minutes until we reach a strip of various restaurants and stores. We proceed pass the main street and loop around a circular intersection in the middle of the town. In the center of this loop is a bronze statue of a roaring black lion. Underneath the statue it reads, ‘Home of Mane’.
It’s as if this lion is a mascot for the town.
She turns onto University Street and keeps straight until a wide field of perfectly trimmed grass appears on our left. A long brick building with large white pillars rest in the middle of this wide field, the entire field is busy with various activities. Some people are tossing Frisbees back and forth, some are bathing under the sun, and others are merely walking about.
‘This is it,’ my mom informs me with a bright smile.
She turns into the school parking lot, drives near the main building, and parks at a handicap slot.
‘What are we doing here?’ I ask.
‘This is your surprise,’ she says cheerfully.
‘Yay,’ I stare her in the eyes, straight-faced. I’m obviously not as enthusiastic as her. Not only do I hate surprises, I hate crowds of people more.
‘Mom, you’ve could’ve at least gave me a heads up.’
‘I did, last night, remember?’ She asks. ‘Besides, this is a great school, your uncle and I’s alma mater.’
I sigh deeply, so she can clearly hear my frustration towards her.
‘Alright, let’s get this over with,’ I say tonelessly.
After rolling me out and locking up the van, she begins pushing me up the walkway. I try my best to ignore all of the eyes around me as I’m being pushed along.
Nobody is looking at me, I’m constantly reminding myself to ease the nervousness.
‘Are you okay?’ She asks. She’s reading me like a book again, as usual.
‘It’s lot of people here,’ I state while nibbling at my lip nervously.
‘They're here for the same reason as you. Just be yourself,’ she replies in a low voice to me.
Her little bit of advice only serves as mild inspiration.
‘Okay, if I throw up I’m aiming for you this time.’
‘Oh, stop it,’ she blows off my smart remark.
We reach a set of constantly opening and closing double doors. A student walking out notices us and is kind enough to hold the door open as he passes through.
‘Thank you,’ my mom responds nicely to his thoughtfulness.
‘No problem,’ he replies back as he holds the door open.
I’m pushed into a busy hallway filled with parents and students walking about hastily.
‘Excuse me—,’ my mom calls to a student that’s passing by in a hurry. ‘Which way is the admissions office?’
‘Down this hallway, make a left, first door,’ he replies without stopping.
‘I have a feeling you had this planned for a while,’ I tell her.
‘Oh no, what gave you that idea?’ She says with a hint of sarcasm.
We continue down the hallway and then make a left, just as directed by the passer-by. We reach a large office crowded with students, parents, and teachers.
There’s a hysterical man, exploding with rage, escorting a boy toward us. We stop in the doorway as they march closer. They’re both tall, athletic-built males, with vivid blue eyes and short blonde hair.
The man has a piece of paper in his hand, waving it around in the boy's face. I assume by their close resemblance, this man is the boy’s father. The man appears to be ranting about the boy's low test scores.
‘Did I raise a retard? This is the last damn time you are failing this class,’ the angry man says this in a loud volume in the boy’s ear.
His anger is so dominating it makes me feel uncomfortable. The boy is wearing a white polo shirt which is being stretched as the man tows him toward us. The man is wearing a black tee, tucked into a pair of gray slacks, and glossy black dress shoes. My nervousness only increases the closer they get to us.
The man is so busy ranting to the boy that he almost bumps into my mother.
He stops in the doorway and shifts his aggression towards my mother. And oddly enough I see shock gather on his face, as if my mom is the rude one in our encounter.
‘You’re excused,’ the man fires in a nasty tone.
He then looks down at me and my heart rate increases automatically. His rage is weighing heavily on my eyes, so I swiftly gaze downward to ease the burden.
He then shoves the boy out of the office and once again continues on with his rant down the hallway until it fades away.
‘That was so rude,’ my mom states a moment later.
I hear her frustration spilling out with every word. It’s hard to get my mom irritated and he definitely succeeded without a doubt. We proceed into the office, still feeling a little awestruck at what just happened. We spot a plump old woman with glasses sitting at a desk covered with various mounds of paper.
‘Hello,’ my mom says to her.
‘Welcome,’ the elderly woman responds.
‘We’re just checking out the campus. Do you have a list of courses?’
‘Yes we do,’ the elderly woman replies politely. The woman licks her pointer finger and collects a sheet of paper from each pile.
‘Busy here, isn’t it?’ My mom asks.
‘It’s always crowded around this time,’ she then shakes her head and sighs. ‘Oh, and I’m sorry about that whole thing,’ the old woman apologizes as she hands my mom the papers.
‘You’re sorry about what?’ My mom asks in a confused way.
‘That man was Cornelius Blaire, along with his son Kendrick. They're not the nicest people around here,’ she lets out a hazy laugh. ‘None of them are,’ she concludes.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Tuesdays