As a child, my mother always told me not to stare at people who looked or lived different from myself; and not to judge people before you know their story. It’s easy to say that we don’t judge others but in reality we do; however, we don’t mean to because since we are unaware of their situation, we assume instead. This is a story that my mother shared with me about one of her old friends, to teach me the importance of judging others. To this day, I still remember this story because it shows you that there’s a possibility that something good can be hidden inside a bad situation.
A young girl enters in the only decent store that has not been overtaken by the gangs in her neighbourhood. Her black baseball cap shadows her slim face as she slowly pushes the door open. She walks slowly towards the back of the empty store. Her eyes glance upon the box of needles that she so desperately needs. Her body trembles while her hand slowly picks up the box, trying not to make a single sound. She did her normal routine; each time more successful than the first. She slips the box of needles inside her backpack and replaces the missing box with an empty one that she brought to the store. The clerk’s squinty eyes stare at her closely. “Hey you, kid. Come here.” He exclaims. Her legs drag heavily against the hard cheap tile. “Open your bag.” He declares. Normally, her voice is silenced, but she manages to strain her vocal cords to yell, “Why would I want to steal from your broke ass store?” Without another word, she runs towards the glass door. Unfortunately, the clerk’s bony hand grips the back of her black bag with one hand and thrusts her forward with the other. She rapidly falls to the floor as the wind aggressively pierces through her body. The clerk turns the bag upside down and examines the one item as it falls to the tile. “I need those!” She squeals, as her eyes turn red. “If your black ass ever steals from me again, I will kill you. Get out of my store you addict! You damn addict. Get out of my store before I call the police.” She sluggishly picks her aching body off the ground and walks out the door in disappointment.
She walks out in pain back out to the pitch-black street. She sucks air through her teeth as she passes the grown men selling the green plants. She would do anything to have money in her possession. The long walk back to her uncared wooden house felt never ending. Her mind screams with so many thoughts. “I can’t go tonight without needles. I need them! I need them!”
As she walks the lonely streets heading towards her neighbourhood, she passes a group of men inhaling the green plants on the street corners. The distinct and familiar smell fills her nostrils, but doesn’t harm her calm drowsy body. She reaches beyond a point where homeless men and women are hidden in shadowed areas between the stores, asleep with their thin covers on the cluttered asphalt with waste. As she approaches her neighbourhood, she looks upon the barred windows and busted wooden doors from the chipped-painted homes. She hears the constant ear-splitting sirens that aggravate her temper. She clenches her teeth and continues to walk further into the neighbourhood. This is her life; and she isn’t ashamed of it. She kicks the pounds of soiled waste from underneath her, thinking of what she should do next.
She arrives to her wooden home and rams her shoulder against the door because it wouldn’t budge. She strolls inside the crammed hallway and walks up the creaky steps as quietly as possible. She hears a voice from the only bedroom inside the house. “Did you manage to get the needles?” Without a sound, she enters into the small and crammed room. Her glossy eyes gaze upon the woman lying on a mattress placed on the dirty carpet. She has a small patch of blood on her index finger and beside her was a small electronic gadget. The woman’s lifeless eyes look upon her. The young girl falls to her knees while tears pour down her face. She cries, “I am sorry mom, I let you down.”