The Truth About My Neighborhood

15 Jun

The sound of snarling pit bulls rings in my ears as clear as a bell, a rigid, cold bell. I get chills up my spine. “Bang!” I hear a shot like a firecracker. Within the next few moments a bloodcurdling screech of pain and agony cuts through the air, through my head, stabbing my soul like a knife slashed in water.

“Ari, get inside!” my grandmother bellows with a terrified edge to her ancient voice.

Later, I am followed down the street like prey. Defenseless prey. It doesn’t connect in my mind, to know why he stalks, but I know he is there. The bass from the speakers shake the earth greater than any earthquake. And the profane rap leaks from the piece of rusted metal called a car stereo. Among the sewer water, cans of Budweiser and candy wrappers float carelessly. . . . A civil war begins. . . . Riots and incomprehensible Spanish is the only thing I hear then.

PregnantCatYet, it’s not all bad. Down the cluttered street, Shakayla and Jariah talk loudly about nonsense, and my house is being invaded by pregnant felines. This war between the adults, between ethnicity, will not affect me. I will not say that I’m color blind, but I do not take notice. I’m the outsider. I’m unable to fit in. What?! Is it because I’m Mexican?!

Ariana, sixth grade, Ojeda Middle School

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