Leaning on the Wall
Sruthi, Age 16, Flower Mound, TX

It was four in the afternoon when Anna’s children, clothed in a dark shade of blue, pounded on the door with all of the force they could muster in spite of their indolence, just like they did every school day. As soon as Anna gently opened the front door with her delicate fingers, Billy and Bobby, identical thirteen year old twins, insolently demanded to know if their snack was ready. In a frantic attempt to quell their hunger, they walked right past their mother without bothering to greet her, even though she had been toiling restlessly all day to finish her household chores to spend time with her kids. Anna motioned at the kitchen table where a mountain of crackers was resting. The boys instantly shoved the crackers into their mouths like scavengers picking ruthlessly at the remains of the dead. Anna, clad in a silky white gown with her gaunt figure and frail personality, stood silently looking down at the stiff wood floor while leaning against the hard stone wall, waiting patiently for Billy and Bobby to finish their food so she could spend some much anticipated quality time with them.

However, much to Anna’s disappointment, as soon as the uncouth twins finished ingesting the hefty quantity of food in a matter of minutes, they bolted right past their awaiting mother to the television to watch their favorite cartoon. Despite her sons’ negligence towards her being a daily occurrence, Anna felt disheartened. She slowly began to muster enough courage to ask her kids if they wanted to hang out with her; first she lightly lifted her tiny waist off the wall and began readjusting the weight in her feet to properly stand up without any support. Once she completed this intricate dance, she pleaded in a quivering tone, “B-B-Billy, Bobby, would y’all like… t-to come and spend time with your m-mother?”

Without even turning around to answer their sweet mom, they both simultaneously yelled, “NO!” at the top of their lungs. Once again feeling belittled, Anna pressed the shaking palm of her hand onto her eyes to prevent the tears from falling onto her cheek; she turned her back and walked straight back to the hard stone wall onto which she once again shifted her body weight.

Thirty minutes later, with Anna still leaning on the wall, Jonathan, Billy and Bobby’s father and Anna’s ex-husband, came over to negotiate custody terms with Anna to ensure that he would never have to see his kids again, which Billy and Bobby knew was the reason for Jonathan’s visit. As if Anna’s own two children denying her were not enough, Billy and Bobby shot up from the couch as if a bolt of lightning ran through them and sprinted to Jonathan as soon as they heard his voice. They began showering their dad with hugs and kisses, although Jonathan, who had a large burly frame, was trying his best to pry their clammy hands off of him since he utterly despised his own children. Even though it was clear that Jonathan did not remotely care for Billy and Bobby, they persisted in their efforts to try to start a conversation with their dad.

After this blatant display of affection by her children, Anna felt completely dejected; she could feel the weight of every bone in her body as she involuntarily dropped to the floor. She was utterly appalled by the fact that her children idolized Jonathan, who was only their father by name; he walked out on the kids and Anna for a prettier girl who was twenty years younger than him. Anna gawked at the fact that Billy and Bobby gave so much attention to someone who came to disown them, but they could not even give their own mother, who worked tirelessly to take care of them and wanted nothing but their happiness, the time of day. Distraught at this unfathomable fact, she could not get up off the floor, despite how much she tried. She tried using her hands to push herself up, but they would not move. She tried using her legs to stand up, but they would not budge. She tried using her core to hoist herself up, but it remained motionless. That is when it hit her that her whole body was paralyzed from the shock of unconcealed rejection by the two people for whom she lived her life. The only thing she could do was move her eyes from left to right and up to down. She would forever have to be supported by an exterior force keeping her up like her much beloved hard stone wall.

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