STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
EMERALD BLUE OKIKI
‘No worries,’ my mom replies modestly. ‘So, when do fall courses start?’
‘How long is the application process?’
‘Just fill it out as soon as possible, she’ll be fine.’
‘Okay, thank you so much.’
‘Is it fine if we take a small tour around the…?’
‘Help yourself,’ the elderly lady butts in.
We take an hour long tour around the campus. Most of our time is spent looking inside the classrooms. Some rooms are flat with normal desks, some have monitors, some have black counters and faucets, and some are like miniature stadiums. We also visit the student lounge and library area. I can easily picture myself in the student lounge reading my favorite novels in between my classes.
At first I felt a little weary about this trip but now
I’m actually feeling excited by the idea of attending college. Soon, our tour is over and we’re heading back to our van.
‘So what do you think?’ My mother asks as I’m pushed down the concrete walkway.
‘I like it here,’ I tell her with a sincere smile.
Okay, I’ll admit, I’m beyond excited. I haven’t had an honest smile in such a long time. It feels good to be excited although there’s no guarantee of me attending this specific university. My mom pushes me down the walkway and next to the van, and then slides the side door open. I hear a faint clutter of voices next to me, so I look over at a tree that rests on the lawn.
A group of students are sitting underneath the tree. The group consists of three boys and two girls.
One of the girls, who have coffee colored skin, is sitting furthest to the right. Everything she has on is obscure, even her lipstick. She’s wearing a long black dress with fishnet stockings and black high heels. Her hair is trimmed short and wild with blue highlights that compliments her grim choice of fashion. I stare into her blank face and suddenly she gives me a bright smile.
I grin halfheartedly back at her. The other girl is a long haired brunette. She is sitting on the far left, arguing with a boy next to her. Both of their features are identical except the boy has shorter, messier, hair. He’s wearing a sky blue shirt, a pair of jeans with the knees cut, and a pair of red Chuck Taylors on his feet.
His lookalike, the brunette girl, is wearing a similar outfit but with more pink involved.
An Italian boy beside them is staring at me. He has dark hair and beautiful baby blue eyes; his short silky hair is neatly combed straight back perfectly. For some strange reason I can’t help but stare at him, it feels nearly impossible to turn away. He’s wearing a tight white tee, a pair of denim jeans, and a pair of black sneakers.
A modelling agency can easily hire him as one of those billboard models. The last boy is centered in between them, lying on his elbow, and chewing on a red apple. He’s wearing a black tee, baggy jeans, and loose leather boots. He’s undeniably bigger than the other boys, not much in height but wider. His barbaric hair is large like his body.
His skin tone is neutral, somewhat tan. He looks up and catches me staring at him. He’s a very odd looking person with a constant stern look on his face.
His stare is so harsh that it forces me to look away from him. In the corner of my eye I can still see all of them looking at us.
My mom tugs on the wheelchair ramp but it doesn’t budge. She pulls again yet harder, still nothing happens. I can feel an embarrassing sensation gaining strength as they continue to watch my mom struggle.
My mom takes a slight break to examine the ramp.
‘I think it’s jammed,’ my mom says with frustration.
I have a strong urge to hide my face in a paper bag. I just hope they don’t notice my cheeks turning pink. I’m not even in school yet, and my mom is already making me look stupid. I look out the corner of my eye and see the darkly dressed girl nudging on the muscular boy’s shoulder. I hear them having a secretive argument about something unclear. Then he stands slowly, tossing the remaining apple to the side, and approaches us.
He approaches my mom, who has her back turned to him and clears his throat for her attention.
‘Done embarrassing yourself?’ He asks unenthusiastically.
I start to consider that sternness on his face is permanent.
‘I’m sorry?’ My mom replies.
‘Do you need help or what?’ The boy asks.
‘Thank you but I think I’ve got it,’ she says with another tug.
Being the stubborn woman I know, she continues to tug repeatedly with no success. The brunette boy mumbles something to his friends. All I can make out before they start snickering is ‘arms’ and ‘tearing off’. My mom finally stops to catch her breath.
The bulky boy glances over his shoulder at his snickering friends and shifts back to my mom.
She finally surrenders and turns to him, grinning through tight lips.
‘Yes, I do need help.’
‘Are you sure, I couldn’t tell,’ he replies.
My mom snickers at his remark, but I know he didn’t mean any humor by it.
‘Yes, I’m sure,’ she says while catching her breath.
The boy walks over, leans into the van, and examines around the ramp.
‘Be careful, don't hurt yourself.’ My mom tells him, ‘The way to get it out is by that—oh, okay.’
The boy pulls out the ramp and places it on the pavement.
‘Well, thanks a lot for—,’ my mom says but is abruptly cut off by the boy.
‘Yup,’ he replies and quickly turns away, and then walks over to his friends.
‘—your help,’ my mom finishes awkwardly.
As he walks back to his friends, they all give him a round of applause.
‘That wasn’t so hard,’ the darkly dressed girl tells him.
‘Shut-up,’ he mumbles back as he sits down next to her.
Soon I’m secured into the van. My mom gets in, letting out a deep breath.
‘Well, that was fun, right?’
I smile honestly.
‘Yeah, it was,’ I reply.
‘And you didn’t throw up on me. That’s a plus,’ she says brightly.
‘Yeah, right,’ I respond with a weak, almost toneless, voice.
As she brings the engine to life, I look outside my window at the kids underneath the tree. The black girl waves at me with a smile. I smile, somewhat, and wave back as we pull off.
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