Changes by: Henny Daniels



The sun will soon rise, and this 20 page paper will remain in progress. I have no idea why I continue to pull all-nighters. Initially when the idea presents itself, I’m all for it — my energy is high, snacks are on deck, the music playlist is nice and inspirational, and I feel confident about completing the mound of work ahead of me. But by the crack of dawn, rue intercedes — in accompaniment with a song that I’ve heard at least twice already, heavy eyes, and the overwhelming urge to procrastinate; I need to look at ANYTHING besides a computer screen right now or my eyes will eject.

Aside from a mild issue regarding time management, college is going pretty great! Considering the amount of credits I have at this point, graduation should be at least a year early; my GPA is on point! Only one B so far, and that is still up for debate— she WILL change my grade, I don’t care if I need to go through the dean or president himself! 

Arrogance isn’t really my style, but I’m really proud of myself and the direction my life is headed. I wish I could say the same about my friends— well two of them specifically: Azarae and Jaeda.

I’ve known Azarae for a while now; we met in middle school and shared many of the same classes together throughout the years as a result of our advanced learning— gifted, honors, AP, you name it. We were also usually the only black girls in class. So it was nearly impossible not to learn to like each other. However, it wasn’t always easy.

When I first met her, the girl was a major nuisance— loud, proud, and wrong. What vexed me the most was that it was all a front. She would pretend to be confused and slower than the rest but would score among the highest on every test and quiz. 

I couldn’t grasp the purpose of playing ignorant— but then I got to know her better and began to somewhat understand the combination of life factors that make her who she is. My judgment transformed to sympathy and a desire to  help her discover that she is more than where she comes from— low income projects, MLK streets, domestic abuse and welfare royalty. I just hope and pray that one day she believes me and more importantly, believes in herself.

Deep thoughts are interrupted by my phone ringing mother’s special tone. I wonder what she could possibly have to say so early in the morning; I brace myself as I answer the call to find out, “Hey mom, is everything ok?”

“No it is not!” Her voice is riddled with distress.  She sniffles and continues her exclamation, “After all these years of working my butt off sacrificing and saving for this house, they’re taking it from me! They’re taking our house, baby!”

“Huh? Ma, you must be mistaken. Have you stopped paying the taxes on it or something?”

“I’ve paid them every last dime they asked for until now. I couldn’t pay this one. They have gone and lost their minds if they thought I was gonna pay all that money by the end of last week!”

My stomach sinks. Unfortunately, this is not the first I’ve heard of property tax inflation since the arrival of our new clown of a president. “Well, how much is it? Can you work something out with them—like a payment plan?”

A forceful knock is heard, and my mom enters panic mode. “Aaaaww crap! These jokers weren’t playing— hold on.” She must have placed the call on speakerphone, because I can hear her fumbling with the door.”

My eyes involuntarily squint as I listen in on the conversation.

“Sorry to inform you ma’am, but this house is now property of the US government and must be vacated, effective immediately along with all belongings you would like to keep.”

“What! How can you do that? You only gave me one week to pay you 50 thousand dollars! This is highway robbery!”

“You have 30 minutes to remove your property from the premise. Everything left in the house after that amount of time will be boxed and transported to our affiliate landfill; which is about twenty four miles southwest of here.”

“But—how— where am I supposed to go? THIS IS MY HOME!!”

“There is one housing option we offer for those that become homeless due to delinquent payment— a shelter site that has hot meals, beds, and limited storage space. Our team can escort you there, but you must first sign a waiver relinquishing certain rights as a former homeowner.”

At this point, I’m screaming in the phone, “MA! THAT SOUNDS CRAZY!! PICK UP THE PHONE MAAAAA!!!” Click. The phone is disconnected, and I am left staring at an ended call screen, worry steadily growing. I may not be well versed in real estate nor the legal side of it, but that interaction was shady. Especially since the call was ended by someone else.

As I rush to get dressed and find my keys, my unfinished paper catches my attention— due at 9 am in Political Science. I guess I’ll just have to find a way to make up the grade later on; it physically hurts to close my laptop and decide to take my first zero that I can recall (in life). But there is no paper in this world more important than my mother!


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