Here’s another story from An Imaginary Trip Around the World, the brand-new writing collection from the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program and the NYU Gallatin Writing Program. The following story, along with the other stories in the collection, comes from the Advanced Writing Class taught by Prof. June Foley of NYU Gallatin with the help of undergraduate student-teachers. Enjoy!
Boom, boom, boom—again and again. The sound grows stronger, faster. Boom, boom, boom. She closes her eyes. Tears cover her face and fall to the floor. The floor is gray and old, with small holes in it. There is a strange smell that surrounds her. She does not understand what is going on. Cords and wires are everywhere. Again, the sound: boom, boom, boom. She cannot concentrate, and loses control. The room has a huge window without a view; no sunlight, only a brick wall. This darkness creeps inside of her. She is scared. Boom, boom, boom. She grows dizzy. She is weak and strong at the same time. The sound bothers her. She tries to be calm and focused, but again: boom, boom, boom. She cannot control it. She is not hearing, she is feeling. This sound is a part of her. She is me.
It was a summer day. That day, I had decided to stay at home because it was so warm outside. My intuition told me it was the right thing to do. I spent the whole day eating watermelon and doing chores. I was excited because I was waiting for you. I went to sleep as usual. I did not know that the night would be special. In the middle of the night, I awoke. I called Mom. She told me it was time. I was not prepared for you. I had nothing packed. But I left.
I returned to the familiar room. I knew the smell and the walls, too. Cords were everywhere. My body was shaking, and then I was unconscious, but I do not remember for how long. Suddenly, I felt pain. I was screaming and crying, “Why does it hurt?” My body did not belong to me. I did not understand the people around me. I begged for help, but they ignored me.
A room. A table. Cords. Instruments. The same smell. The same people. I was conscious and unconscious. I did not know how long it was. I saw you. It was a nightmare that became a miracle. Sunlight shot in, and the room became warm and cozy. It was really you. You were mine. I had waited for you for eight long months. I forgot the pain that cut me apart when I saw you: a red miracle. You were crying, so I did, too. We had different reasons for our tears, but it did not matter.
Boom. Boom. I am crying. I am happy and scared. This is my miracle. It was the first time that I heard you. It was the first time I knew you were inside of me. Now I know you are real. You are alive. You are part of us. I cannot explain what I feel. I love you so much. I waited for you for so long. You.