| From A to Z |

From A to Z : Chapter 9 

Why are you being so pessimistic? I asked myself. Miriam is only moving! She isn’t dying, or disappearing…


With my parents behind me again, it was much easier for me to get up for school every day. It was nice to be on a schedule again. Miriam was also happy I was back; she barely had any other friends. It was really just me and her. I used to be a social butterfly, but Miriam was always my best friend, and now, when the past year had turned me into a kind of wall flower, Miriam was the only one who stuck by me.

She kept me company for lunch, we skipped English together; I babysat with her when her parents were away and helped her choose a design for the yearbook. We were both good at drawing, and loved spending hours painting.

Miriam was my very own support system, the closest person I had in my life.

But then, just when life settled into some kind of routine, everything changed.

You should have known, Shulamis, I told myself as I walked home that day, shielding my face from the thunderous rain. I should have known that nothing in my life ever lasts. Good things go, bad things come. No routine ever stays a routine.

Why are you being so pessimistic? I asked myself. Miriam is only moving! She isn’t dying, or disappearing…

Miriam’s younger brother was sick. Very sick. Because they discovered it at a very late stage, it became absolutely imperative that he be treated in Boston Children’s Hospital. Overnight, my cool, calm and collected friend turned into a messed-up tornado. I couldn’t get a straight word out of her, except “Pinny is going to die!”

I spent an hour calming her down, but when I left her house, I was very sad. Not only for Pinny, all of eight years old, and Miriam, who had to deal with moving to another place and a sick brother and a messed-up life, but also for me. Miriam was my only friend; my only support system! What was I going to do?


I have not heard from Shulamis in a while. Her mother is too busy to answer the phone, but it’s so important to me to hear how she’s doing! I must know that she is learning how to read… I just read about this doctor in Manhattan that specializes in reading disorders. Should I give Shulamis’s mother the details? I think she would be happy if I would… I will do it regardless; for my own conscience, so I know I did everything I could.


My mother got this new bug in her head now — to take me to a specialist.

I hate specialists. They look at you like an animal in a zoo, or an item in a store that they are debating buying, and then they’ll either approve or disapprove of you, using a lot of fancy words to make sure you don’t really understand what they’re trying to say. I had been to one once, when I was a kid, and that was enough. She claimed that I had a learning disability, and that I would probably grow out of it in a couple of years. It took my parents more than a couple of years to realize that it wasn’t a learning disability, and it wasn’t going to be over soon at all.

My father isn’t even trying to convince me to go. He’s just looking at me, so, so tired. I just want him to be happy. I don’t want to cause them any pain or grief… should I just go? Will this specialist find something new? I have no clue where my mother got his name from, but he charges an arm and a leg; insurance doesn’t cover it. Do I want my parents spending that kind of money when I know how they are struggling? Do I even want to go?

Really, if I just want this to end, I need to agree to go to some kind of expert in the field. For sure I’m not the only one in the world who can’t read! Maybe… maybe it’s curable? Maybe I still have a chance…

I’m shocked at the voice inside my head. I’ve been trying to read for years. I’ve pretty much given up. So why even bother when I know I’m doomed?

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 878)

Oops! We could not locate your form.