Chapter 3: Lice

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Lice 

“Now, Sona you are not in trouble. We are just checking to make sure your hair is clean, okay?” She said looking in my eyes.  

WHEN I ARRIVED HOME after school one day, my older brother Jacob was sitting outside the trailer. He was holding his hand up to his face and crying silently. I looked closer at him and saw a huge blue and black bruise on his right cheek. As I walked passed him and up the steps to the front door, I heard yelling coming from inside and I knew that my aunts and uncle were drunk. I peaked in the screen of the door and I saw my uncle’s hands around my Aunts neck and yelling something about “Why did you?” to her over and over. Not wanting to look at anymore, I went and sat next to Jacob. We both sat outside waiting for the yelling and screaming to get done. As I sat there, I realized that I wanted to go back to school where no one was getting hurt and I felt safe. I looked at my brother again feeling the pain in him.

He looked at me and said “What are you looking at?”

“Does it hurt?” I asked

“Nope!” He said acting tough,

At that moment, my drunk uncle walked outside and started yelling at us. “You children are not mine, go away” and “You have been here long enough, you mom needs to come pick you up.” We just looked at him terrified, he wore only his stained white shirt and stripped underwear. He had a beer in his right hand and a cigarette was hanging from his mouth. He towered over us like a giant waiting to step on us. We did not know what to do, so we just there frozen and staring.

“Wh-at are you Looothking?” He said drunkenly.

We did not answer.

My brother stood up and next thing I knew my uncle was pushing a cigarette into his arm making him scream. My aunt came out pulled my uncle off Jacob and told him to leave.

“Well….they they are not our children, so so so why matter?” he said stumbling around, trying to hold on to my brother.

“Get Inside!, NOW!” she said yelling at my brother and I.

We ran so fast inside that I had manage to cut my leg on the edge of the door. I was so scared of my uncle that I really did not care. We both ran to the bedroom and huddled in the corner, listening to my aunt kick my uncle out of the trailer.

That night we kept looking out the window for our mom, but she never showed up. As I stared at the stars, I looked at my brother and the realization hit me, where was Danika?

“Where is Danika” I whispered to Jacob

“She left with mom earlier today” he said quietly

In a Whining voice I said “Mom was here? Why didn’t she take us?”

Staring at my brother again. I asked “What happened to you face?”

“Nothing!” he quietly said angrily “Stop asking me!”

“Why weren’t you at school today?” I ask him quietly

He stopped staring at the window and looking at me. “Stop asking me questions, go to bed” he whispered.

I went to bed trying to keep that sour milk in my stomach and upset with my mom, because she did not take me with her. I did not know what I did wrong. All I knew was that sour feeling in my stomach made my head hurt, I just wanted the pain to go away.

I woke up the next morning with my body aching. My legs felt like jello and every bit of me did not want to get off the mattress. I heard my Aunt getting my cousins ready for school in the living room. “SONA! JACOB! time to get up! and hurry your cousins are going to leave without you.” I slowly climbed out of bed and put back on my clothes from yesterday. My aunt brushed my hair into a pony tail and I put on my backpack. Walking to school felt like forever, my stomach hurt and legs felt like they have been pulled in every direction. I looked over at my brother, he was trailing behind us and holding his arm, where our uncle had burned it. As we neared the school, there were more people than usual sitting outside the front entrance. A Red truck with the letters B – L – O – O- D B-A-N-K on the side of it. I did not know what this meant, but I knew the letters. We made way pass the truck and into the school.

Throughout the school day, these people in white coats would come through our classrooms and tell us we had to hold still as they looked through our hair. We had to sit quietly as they searched our hair. A lady with black hair approached me with her hands extended that were covered with white gloves, I felt my sour milk stomach turn again. She pulled my hair all over my head, goose bumps went up and down my body, I flinched with every pull and tug. When she was done, she took off her gloves , smiled and walked away.

After lunch, that same nurse who had searched my hair,  came into the classroom, whispering something in the teacher’s ear. She looked directly at me, like I was doing something wrong. My stomach turned again and I could not concentrate on the color sheet in front of me. I began to wonder if school was the right place for me. I wonder if I could run home, as these thoughts flooded into my mind, I felt my eyes started to water.

“Sona, go with the nurse to the office please.” came my teachers voice from far away as if we were in a long hallway and it was echoing through the wall. I could barely hear her, my sour milk stomach was turning. I got up from my seat, legs shaking and followed the nurse out the door.

As I walked with the nurse to the office, trying to hold sour milk down, my legs felt like jello and all I wanted to do was hide, I wanted my mom. The nurse instructed me to sit down on the chair next to her desk. She put white gloves on and kneeled next to me.

“Now, Sona you are not in trouble. We are just checking to make sure your hair is clean, okay?” She said looking in my eyes.

I nodded my head, still not really sure what she was doing, but I knew if I said anything, she might hit me on the face like my aunt does when I talk back. She looked through my hair pulling it here and there, once she pulled so hard that tears came from my eyes.

She suddenly stopped. “Sona, wait here” she said quickly.

I stared at her terrified, because I was not sure what was wrong. She quickly walked out of the room, her heels clicking on the ground loudly. She stopped at the principal’s office and shut the door. After what seemed like forever, she came out of the office, looking at me sadly.

“Sona, we are going to have to call your mom and let her know that you have to go home.” She said.

Oh! Great here comes the sour milk. I could not hold anymore back and it was all over the floor. Tears were coming down my eyes and I could not make it stop. The nurses grabbed some towels and told me everything was going to be alright. After she cleaned up, she called my aunt asking for my mom. She told my aunt that someone had to come pick me up explaining that I had “Lice” in my hair and how I made a mess on the floor.” From the sound of other line of the phone, I knew that my aunt would hit me. I had gone too far this time. This made more sour milk in my stomach. A few minutes later, my aunt came to pick me up, giving me a look of anger and disappointment. I knew that I would get hit. I was scared, I did not want a mark on my face like my brother.

When we got home, my aunt instructed me to get into the tub, which was full of warm water. She put some shampoo in my hair and roughly scrubbed it on my head. I did not fight her, because I knew I was in trouble from getting sick at school. She scrubbed my head so hard that my body rocked back and forth making the sour milk swish around in my stomach, I had to force it to stay down this time.

“There!” she said. “You are cleaned, Let them try and send you home from school again” Tossing me a towel and my clothes, she angrily said “Go and put your clothes back on and sit next to the couch so I can look through your hair one more time.”

As I sat next to couch, my aunt picked the Lice out of my hair. She tugged and pulled like the nurse did at school. She would pop them between her long nails and throw them on floor. I sat here until my brother and cousins got home from school. They told my aunt that they got sent home, because of the lice in their hair also. My aunt gripped a chunk of my hair and pulled so hair, I was sure there was no more hair.

Not fully understanding how bugs got into my hair and why we had to stay home from school, we had to sit every day on the living room floor for hours as our cousins picked the bugs out. My aunt repeatedly said “If your mom was here, this would not have happened” or “These children are not our responsibly, I do not even know why they are here.”

We ended up not going to school for the rest of the school year, because of the lice. Each day we sat next to the couch at my aunt and uncle pulled Lice out of our hair. They would complain about finding new Lice in our hair and pull at our hair until I was sure I had none left.

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