Monday, September 28, 2009

Belinda: Driving Away

April, 2009

"Belinda, tell me about the best day you ever had."

She shrugs and looks out the window at other cars stuck in the afternoon traffic alongside us.

"Can't remember a best day?'


"Okay, what about the best meal you ever ate?"

I find myself pitching my voice a little higher with each query as if my enthusiasm will brighten the child's life.

She shakes her head, exhausted with the interview.

Best birthday? Best friend? Best holiday?

I'm bested.

We drive in silence and then she speaks.

"Ms. Ryane?"


"You know that first one? The one you asked about the best day....Well, it didn't happen yet but it's going to."

"Really? What's it going to be?"

"Well, you know how like I told you my dad and mom are divorced?"

"Right, I remember."

"And he lives in Las Vegas, remember that?"

"I sure do."

Belinda used to tell me about a happy time when she lived in Las Vegas with a grandmother, her dad, her mom and her sister. The good old days for Belinda existed when she was four years old. Everything started to fall apart when the grandmother kicked them out. Now they live with the other granny in South Los Angeles with an additional two children. Dad stayed in Vegas.

"Well, you know what?" Belinda's voice perks up. "He's coming back! He's coming back here and he's going to marry my mom again."

"Wow, no kidding. Did your dad tell you that?"

"No, my sister did. Yup. He's coming back...." Her voice trails off and I watch her reflection in the rear-view mirror as she slides away into a nap.



I would like a life of peace. Because my mom always says that she wants peace. When she gets her peace she feels better. I also want peace because I want a good job, a good family, food to put on the table and I want to be able to pay my rent. Most of all I love Peace. I like me too! Me me me me me Peace peace peace peace me me me me peace peace peace peace me me me me

I learned things while being the narrator. One thing I learned was that when I am on stage try not to laugh at the people who are acting funny parts. Another thing I learned that don’t be jumpy be centered. Ms.Ryane says that is cheesy. Before we did our last performance Ms.Ryane had us say "I am centered I am focused."
—Belinda, 4th grade

Las Vegas photo from Done With Mirrors


  1. I had a dream two nights ago in which Belinda was in her classroom. I called her name and she turned to me. She was taller and smiling.

  2. Envision it and make it so. Or at least enjoy the dream.

  3. these posts are too much. my heart can't take it. i don't know how you took the real thing. so glad these kids had the chance to know you and perhaps look at their lives a little differently as a result. with hope.

  4. I think they'll remember what they are capable of...somewhere, down the road...they'll remember a crazy lady who helped them do Shakespeare and stuff and that they were really good.


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