This story is by Gigi Guan and was part of our 2021 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
When Alicia was born, her mom Paula, was thrilled. Although Alicia was a premature baby, she looked beautiful. Paula even envisioned Alicia’s future. She might be a flight attendant, model, or even Miss Universe.
By the time Alicia turned 13 months old, she was still not babbling and walking, so Paula brought her to the doctor.
“Your baby has a moderate Intellectual disability due to preterm birth.” Dr. Peterson said. “Children with intellectual disability learn things much slower than normal children.”
“What? No way! This can’t be happening.” Paula looked incredulously. It was a totally a bolt from blue for Paula.
She put her hand on her forehead and asked, “Is there any cure?”
“No.” The doctor said.
“Dr. Peterson. There must be a way cure this disease. I pay whatever it costs.” Paula grabbed both of Dr. Peterson’s arms and begged him.
“Oh, calm down. Mrs. Anelly. First, Intellectual Disability is not a disease. It’s a general learning disability. As long as you have enough patience to teach your daughter daily life skills, she’s going to be fine.”
When Alicia turned four years old, Paula decided to let her homeschooled.
“Alicia, let’s learn the alphabet today.” Paula took out an alphabet book from the drawer.
“This is A.” Paula said.
“A.” Alicia repeated.
“B.” Paula said.
“B.” Alicia repeated.
Paula taught Alicia to E. “Alright Alicia, let’s see if you remember the letters now.”
Paula pointed at the letter C; Alicia thought for a few seconds then she shook her head.
“How about this letter?” Paula pointed at the letter B. Alicia shook her head.
“Ok, I am going to teach you the alphabets one more time.” Paula tugged her hair behind her ears.
She took ten minutes to teach Alicia.
“What’s this letter?” Paula pointed at E.
Alicia looked at it closely and tried hard thinking what letter it was. “B?”
Paula finally lost her patience; she slammed on the table with her hand.
“Mom, sorry, sorry…” Alicia pulled Paula’s shirt gently, looked at her mom like a pet asking its owner for forgiveness. Paula then broke in to a smile.
“No Alicia, it’s not your fault. I am just a bit grumpy today.” Paula patted Alicia on the head. “Anyway, I guess you are hungry by now. I will make you some food.”
“Yay!” Alicia clapped her hands.
This was also the year Paula started smoking to alleviate her stress.
When Alicia was seven years old, she was able to say complete sentences.
“Good morning, mom.” Alicia said.
“Hey, darling. You are awake?” Paula asked.
“Yes,” Alicia answered. ”You are making omelette, Mom?”
“You are right, darling.”
“Yay.” Alicia clapped her hands.
Paula taught Alicia drawing afterwards. Alicia seemed to enjoy drawing very much. When it was lunch time, Paula brought Alicia to a Restaurant.
“Dad, look at her. She’s different.” A boy sitting next them pointed at Alicia.
“George, that’s not nice,” His dad said.
After ten minutes. The boy pointed at Alicia again, who made a mess with her food all over the table. “Dad, look at the mess she made.”
“George, say sorry to that young lady.”
Paula took out her wallet and left 50 dollars bill on the table, grabbed Alicia’s hand and left angrily.
When Alicia turned ten years old, she made a friend, Natasha. Natasha just moved into the neighbourhood.
“It must be hard to raise Alicia.” Natasha’ mom, Belinda, asked Paula.
“Yeah. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I can’t, because I am the one who brought her into this world. I have to be responsible to her.” Paula said.
“Look at them. They are playing Jenga happily.” Belinda said.
Paula turned around and looked at Alicia. Alicia was taking a block from the middle of the tower and it collapsed; she laughed loudly.
Paula walked to the balcony and started smoking.
“Paula, quit smoking for the sake of Alicia.” Belinda persuaded.
“Smoking is the only way to relieve my stress.”
“This is not a good sign. You should stopping smoking.” Belinda persuaded again.
“You are right. I should.” Paula snorted, then she smiled.
When Alicia turned thirteen years old, she was able to do many things on her own which impressed Paula.
Paula brought Alicia to the supermarket. Alicia looked around like a curious baby and she put a lot of snacks in the cart. Although Paula told Alicia to stop putting things in the cart, she bought them anyway.
Alicia was jumping around on the way home. Suddenly, she ran a to bird that was in the middle of the road. “Stop!” Paula yelled, but it was too late. Alicia got hit by a car. Paula threw everything on the ground immediately and called the ambulance.
Siren sound. The ambulance was here. Paula kept saying “Alicia, you will be fine” in her heart.
“You daughter is in a persistent vegetative state now. In order words, she lost her consciousness.” The doctor said.
Another shocking news to Paula since 12 years ago. She almost fainted. She stared blankly.
“When is she going to wake up?” Paula asked.
“Hard to say. Maybe six months. Maybe a year. Maybe 10 years.”
Paula put her hand on her mouth and sobbed. “Why do my daughter has to suffer from these?” Her heart was aching.
She took a deep breath, and picked up the pieces. “I have to stay strong, Alicia needs me.” She thought to herself.
Everyday, Paula would come to the hospital and tell Alicia stories. Maybe one day, miracles happen.