The security guards had broken us up, trying not to hurt us. For five minutes we had swung at each other, landing punch after punch and calling each other names. The Longfellow schoolyard, filled with active students, watched all this.
“My little cousins got hand. She took off on her,” one girl said.
“The girl in the sweats got her licks in too” said another.
I was first to reach the office. On the way there I felt anxious and scared. I didn’t want to get in trouble but again I still wanted to fight: so I walked very slowly. It seem it took me forever to reach the office. When I got there they were waiting for me. Meetings with the principal never go the way you planned. My discipline was a three-day suspension. I felt scared when he hung up the phone with my mother. He explained that my mom couldn’t pick me up at that moment, so my step-mom would come… which was better for me because she was more relaxed when it came to me getting in trouble at school.
The ride with my step-mom to her job was relaxed but tense. It was completely silent; that confused me. It made the situation I was in a problem, made me think about what I just did. My step-mom worked at Alta-Bates Hospital; it wasn’t long until she would talk to me.
“Are you hungry? Did you eat before you got into trouble?”
“No, I’m fine. But thank you."`
She seemed like she was happy exiting the car. We walked into the hospital and quietly headed toward the elevator, we entered quietly. The nursery room smelled like baby vomit and milk. I thought she was going to yell at me, but all she said was to sit down and behave myself. I was kind of happy being in public because she couldn’t yell at me like she would if we were at home. The last thing I needed was her to be mad at me while she was pregnant. With all those unstable emotions, I didn’t want to be her target. I started to do my homework, until I heard her scream. I was frozen solid; I didn’t know what happened but I was scared for her and the baby. Then I found out the baby was born, but in her mother’s pants leg. She was a preemie so it made me feel baffled. I was happy about the birth but still confused about the situation.
“What happened?", I asked one of the nurses.
During the time that I watched them wheel her away, I learned that the baby died and was taken to a room where they would try to bring her back to life. Suddenly, I felt a cold rush, I was terrified for my sister’s life, Not knowing what to do, I sat afraid. I then decided to comfort my step-mom, who was crying. The lights were bright, and time felt slower by the second. My mind kept repeating my stepmother’s screams. That sound made it hard for me to believe that this was real. My step-mom’s words caught me off guard.
“Why would this happen to me? Why?” she said.
This was real.
Suddenly there was a halt, a halt that made me realize how special life is.
Now the doctor walked up to us and explained that my sister had been brought back to life again. We were all just too happy; everything just made us happy. Suddenly my grandmother arrived out of nowhere to tell us about a phone call from a Stockton hospital. My Uncle had just passed, she told us, and we were all sad again, crying and hugging each other. That made me realize you can die instantly, that life is not a game, it can do the worst for you. That hour took a hold on us all. Life wasn’t the same anymore. Sukari, my baby sister, was the miracle baby who put us all back together.
That day was so awkward: the way I got into trouble, the way the baby died, the way my uncle passed, and the way my sister was brought back to life. The way the baby came out looking, she had nothing but a softball for a head and a stalk of celery for a body. Later I had a flashback and remembered seeing her slide down her mothers’ pants leg, with umbilical fluid and streaks of blood. It all seemed fake, the way everybody was asking. “What’s going on?” Like everybody was concerned about what was going on with my step-mom.
This experience was a life lesson learned. It taught me how to live life and be full of laughter.
Jade Moss is a student in Berkeley High School’s Life Academy, a program for freshmen.