“’Filthy Asian!’ I felt a rush of fire build inside of me as his shrill voice pierced through my ears.” (1) Imagine getting put in a situation where you are the only Asian kid in the entire middle school. How would react if somebody called you a “Filthy Asian”?
This story is about a kid who gets discriminated in middle school because of his skin color. He suffers physically and mentally to stand up for himself, because he knows nobody understands and experiences the same struggles as him of being “the only Asian”. The theme of my story is “Stand up and Believe”. But there are many others that you may be able to come across, such as “The significance of Perspective”. My short story tells readers the importance of standing up and believing in themselves.
I was able to apply many of the techniques I had learned in class. First off was the formatting of the story. I was able to maintain the audiences’ focus by starting and ending with a physical scene, while filling the middle with flashbacks. Second off was the figurative language I used to create vivid imagery. “I watched the window. Watched the raindrops dribbling down, the raindrops that were once pure, falling into a puddle of mud as my childhood and purity drained away.” The setting of the story was also hinted to the readers in different ways. “Pokemon cards… Brown paper lunch bags” (1) showed it was in the early 2000s, the rain and the chilliness suggested that the season was autumn. I also used flashbacks and dialogues in my head, to create a person vs self-conflict, which enhanced the story in various ways. A pair of glasses was the motif in the story. It symbolized perspective, and how each individual saw things in different ways from others. The glasses were mentioned throughout the story, concentrated more in the beginning and ending.
I plugged in a few onomatopoeias, like “Boom” (1) and “bam” (1) to show the physicality of certain scenes. Connotations such as “petrichor” (1) and “outpour of rage” (2) to set a mixture of cold but lively mood. I was also able to use metaphors and similes such as “crashed into him with the force of a mad rhino”, (1) “the yellow of his jaguar-like eyes”, (2) and “like a wolf thirsty for blood” (6). Again, to describe the intensity of the scenes by comparing them to violent animals.
I finished the story with an appropriate resolution, leaving readers with satisfaction and a food for thought. The last sentence referred back to the title of the story. “A Smile of Redemption.” (8)
A Smile of Redemption
By: Hirotake Wang
Word Count: 1732
Boom! Pokémon cards soared through the air, textbooks slammed, and peanut butter jelly sandwiches flew out from brown paper bags. I had crashed into him with the force of a mad rhino. The sheer impact of the collision threw him into the bulletin board and left me splattered across the cold tiled floor. I reached for my special glasses that had been damaged quite badly, and stroked through my spiky hair, hoping my skull hadn’t cracked open. As I fidgeted around the frame of my glasses, I came to a realization that without looking into them, the color and shapes of people changed. I squinted my eyes and scanned around the narrow hallway for a familiar face, only to meet cold eyes glancing back at the mess I’ve made.
He sat there rested on the wall, with his left hand wrapped around his shoulder. He groaned, as I observed him and wondered in confusion; how was my tiny body able to handle him? He was big—not in a muscular way, but lanky; wore a black jacket, a pair of half-sagging ripped jeans, and purple vans that had multiple holes in them. His piercing eyes and gelled blonde hair emitted an ominous energy. Still feeling disoriented, I pushed off from the ground and limped toward him.
“I am extremely sorry. I wasn’t paying attention walking down the hallway because I was looking down adjusting my glasses.”
I apologized with the sincerest tone and gave him a hand with a sense of embarrassment.
I felt a rush of fire build inside of me as his shrill voice pierced through my ears.
“Don’t you dare say that to me, ever again!” I roared and made sure my saliva stuck onto his face. He smirked, stared right through my shaded thick glasses and into my eyes. He tested me by slowly saying out the words. My adrenaline pumped in unison with the blood in my veins, as I clenched my teeth and fist with rage. Bam! I knocked a tooth out of his mouth before he could get a chance to say it once more.
I watched the rain drizzle outside of the window. I sat next to him in a dark room, feeling the shaking of his legs and the beating of his heart. I glimpsed into the yellows of his jaguar-like eyes, feeling them try to break through my glasses and into my eyes. I was distracted by the rain, the tension, and the whole atmosphere. The Principle’s words ran through my head without being processed.
“Eddie, are you listening to me?” I turned my head toward the voice, trying to guess what he said.
“I, yes, I-I agree?”
“Eddie, this is a very serious situation. I don’t want this to happen, ever again in our school. Do you understand me?
“You and Jack are both dismissed.”
The cool drops of water trickled down my body and petrichor plumed through my nose. I wondered in my head, as a flashback of the hallway incident played in the back of my head. Was it really my fault? I quickly denied it, because I knew he was the one who started attacking me verbally. I hopped on my bike and started peddling, but soon lost balance and crashed hard onto the cold ground. What is wrong with my glasses today, I thought; they have made me disoriented. Mud smeared across my blue jacket and stuck to my face.
That same mocking voice again. I managed to pull myself together, although it took a while to stumble back onto my feet. The drizzle five minutes ago had now become a shower, which drenched my bag and I. I felt no urge to find shelter or to save my soggy textbooks; my mind was simply too busy dealing with the outpour of raging memories.
I was only eight at that time, pure and innocent, unaware of the creeping shadows of darkness and cruelty. One day, however, while I was walking to school, Josh and Harold had blocked my way. They showered me with bolts of hostility and enmity.
“Dirty Jap! You look like someone took a piss on you!”
They were all unknown vocabulary to me then, but the way they said it to me. So full of evil and hatred, I instantly realized the meaning. Before I knew it, I felt a cold slap to the face and merciless kick to my stomach. I groaned on the cold sidewalk. Rolling in pain. The rain started mixing with my tears, creating a muddy solution. I crawled back home in agony and managed to suppress my tears so my mother would not worry, but the red mark on my cheek and the dried tears on my face was a dead giveaway. While my mom prepared bandages and medicine, I watched the window. Watched the raindrops dribbling down, the raindrops that were once pure, falling into a puddle of mud as my childhood and purity drained away.
Drip-drop, drip-drop. The rain neared its end, and I got back from the past. My fists were still clenched firmly on the bike handles. Beads of sweat rolled down from my cheek. Completely soaked, I trudged back home in misery, leaving the floating autumn leaves behind me. After slinging my soaked bag onto the floor, I threw myself onto bed. I thought hard to think of a way to stop Jack’s discrimination towards people in school. As I got more paranoid about it, suddenly, a weird question popped out of my mind. Do Jack and I see people differently? Is there a difference between looking with and without glasses? The answer hit me, as parts of the hallway incident played back in my head. I remembered what things looked like without glasses; stupid and weird. I figured It must be the opposite for people without glasses.
I allowed myself a grin; it was my turn to retaliate.
Next day at school, I walked around the corridors with excitement and ecstasy, although a hum of anxiety also buzzed around me. There was always the “what if I fail” phrase trying to poke its way through my brain, but I did my best to block the cowardly side of myself. There was no more time to dwell on my anxiety issues; nevertheless, it was time for it to happen. I knew my destination, the piazza, where all the students would be. The time was 11:43 a.m., 17 minutes before Jack would walk out of the door with his brown paper bag lunch. The cool chilly air soaked into my jacket as I strolled outside. I quickly spotted Jack’s groups of friends and some other familiar faces.
I told myself as I took a deep breath, checked the time, and fixed my glasses. It was time.
“Can you all please do me a huge favor and listen?” I screamed from the top of my lungs. The whole piazza turned dead silent. It was my stage now.
“For all of you that don’t wear glasses. Do you want to see what things look like with them?”
Heads slowly turn to our direction as gasps and whispers arose, but nothing stopped me.
“I will hand a pair of glasses to each of you guys, but don’t wear them yet. I will tell you when to put them on and which direction to look!”
I grinned and opened up my backpack, which was filled with around 30 of the same type of glasses I had on. I dashed through tables and chairs, handing as many people as many glasses I could. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience; by the time it was 12 p.m., everybody had their glasses on, facing the right direction.
The moment Jack pushed through the doors, laughter burst out all across the piazza.
“How does it feel to be different and laughed at Jack?”
I questioned him with my eyes locked dead on his evil face. Boos and jeers scattered across the piazza.
“I never knew Jack’s face was a tomato!” Somebody in the back joked.
I finished my last sentence with confidence.
“You need to stop discriminating against people just because they don’t look or act the same way you do! I didn’t do this to start another fight. I just wanted you to know how we felt, being laughed and joked at!”
Jack raged at once and went inside the canteen to get something. A knife. Sharp and shiny, just liked his jaguar yellow eyes and gelled blonde hair. Jack charged toward me like a wolf thirsty for blood and let out a malevolent howl, before viscously drawing the slender knife through my body. I felt the sudden comparative relief as the knife got pulled away. People screamed and dispersed and ran away from the enraged monster of Jack. I took a peek at my injury under the blood-drenched shirt. The knife had entered below my rib cage, leaving a gash in my flesh.
I collapsed on the pavement with my cold hands clutched onto my stomach. I tried to stop the enormous stream of blood, but it kept on flowing like lava down a volcano. Jack said nothing and remained standing. His cruel heartless eyes stared down at me, just like he used to when we were in elementary school. I looked into the sky and tried to cry out, but only a bubbling of blood burst between my dry cracked lips.
Rain drizzled again from the thick stormy clouds above, and the stinging yet satisfying pain of cool droplets soothed my burning wound and heart. I grasped for air and cleared up everything in my brain for one last notion.
“I had stood up for myself; stood up for what I believed in. This day will get remembered, and change would take place.”
I continued speaking in my head, as my vision slowly blurred out of focus. All I could see was the vague color of blue and red, and a long-wailing scream that pierced through the stillness of the scene.
“I had made the most of my lifetime.”
I finished off the last of my thoughts, and lifted my cheeks by draining all of my energy. I dozed into a deep sleep with a smile. A Smile of Redemption.