What’s Your Name?
I roll towards the grey doors of Grossville High School like I do every morning. Marie, a “popular girl”, opens the door for me even though I have told her so many times that I can do it myself. Is the act of her opening the door against my request nicer than actually letting me open the door with my own two hands?
“Thank you, Marie. But really…I would rather open the door by myself.” I say in a nice and patient tone while gliding next to her, heading to our first class together.
“You can’t do that. You are the way you are and I am the way I am. Can’t you see that?” She innocently, yet ignorantly, reasons.
“You know what? I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I actually attempt to exist as normally as I can in a world which doesn’t even try to understand me. I’m surprised you even get A’s, given how clueless you are.” I say with a strong sarcastic tinge, proceeding to the classroom in a frustrated rage.
“Ouch! Kayla, watch where you are going!” Chris yells as he jumps, clasping his throbbing toe.
“Chris, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?” I question, my heart thumping fast.
A few seconds slowly, but surely, go by.
“Yeah…I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. You can’t help it, I guess.” He also innocently, yet ignorantly, reasons.
I give him a polite nod and carefully continue into the classroom, Marie stomping like a brat behind me.
She whispers in my ear. “Kayla, you need to be more careful.” Standing upright again, she smirks at me and sits down.
I flip her off as the teacher enters the classroom.
“Kayla, that is not appropriate classroom behavior! Go to the principal’s office!” The teacher commands.
“Stop giving me excuses and stop blaming people. Go.” She points at the door and I dip my head in disbelief.
“Yes, ma’am.” I agree, though mumbling under my breath a word that rhymes with ditch. She didn’t hear that one, unfortunately.
I begin to head out of the classroom as Mrs. Kliffore starts to teach, but the door is heavier than the grey ones at the front of the building.
“The square root of 36 is—”
“I can’t open the door. Can you help me?” I ask under the influence of sheer embarrassment. Why do these things always happen to me?
Her facial features soften. “Yes, one moment.”
As she walks over, I begin to cry. I can’t control it. I begin to burst in front of the entire classroom.
She turns towards the class. “Give me a few minutes. Use this time to study for tomorrow’s exam.”
She opens the door.
We exit the room.
This is where the story ends. Leaving that classroom is identical to society escaping the issues of Disability. You can cry and run away in frustration and fear, or you can challenge societal norms and change the common perspective.
I am not a freak, a problem, or a burden. I am a person named Kayla.
What’s your name?