Miya Evans is 12 years old, and she hasn't ever said a single word. She could, maybe, if she wanted to, but she has never tried. Along with dealing with a crazy mother who has never understood her, Miya has other problems. Who is the new kid at school? Shy and polite, Miya knows that this can be her very first friend. But how to befriend this mysterious new girl without stepping out of her comfort zone? Answer is easy she can't. So Miya can either take her first step into an unknown world to her, or stay hidden in the dark, where she has always been.


1. School


 Chapter 1: School


  On the bus ride home, I sat with my head in between my knees and my arms wrapped around me, as I usually did. When I first did this at the beginning of the school year, the other middle school students had looked at me funny. One girl even had the nerve to ask me why I sat like this. I didn’t answer her, and now she knows why. But now I’m glad, because they are all over that now. Now they just regarded me as an empty seat, like I wanted them to. Like I needed them to.

I sat like that to become smaller, more invisible. And also so I didn’t have to look at anyone. If I curled up into a ball, there was no reason for anyone else to look at me either. Except for maybe that they all think I am mental, which I’m obviously not because I’m writing this for all of you little people out there. But I let them think that anyway. If they think I’m weird, they won’t look at me, because nobody would want to be caught staring at the ‘weirdo’.

I also let my teachers think that, because then they don’t ask me questions. I already know everything they teach, but there is no reason to share that with the entire 6th grade. No, that information can be kept to my-self.

I always sit in the back right seat on bus 56. Nobody sits in the back but me. I’m guessing because they don’t want to have to sit near me, which is fine with me. Just less people I have to look at.

With my eyes being covered, you might wonder how I know when it is my stop. Well, that one is easy. On the first day of school, I counted how many stops there were from Blue Creek Middle School to my house. My over-active brain remembers anything and everything, so it was pretty simple for me. I always pay attention to the absent chart, just in case we have to miss a stop.

But that first day was horrible, because I actually had to open my eyes and look out the window. There were too many loud sounds of people talking, too many shrieks of the bus brakes, and too much noise in general that could easily be drowned out if I curled up into my dark little ball. But it was only for the first day of school, so I guess it might have been worth it.

Right now, we had made 17 of the 36 stops on the bus route. Brain: 52 percent done with the bus. Oh yeah, and I also have a kind of calculator installed into my brain, so this little ‘Brain:’ thing will probably pop up a lot.

I breathed slowly and evenly, trying (unsuccessfully) to relax. But of course, school and its inhabitants had not yet left me in peace, so there was no way I could relax. No matter how many courses of relaxation exercises that my school behavior specialist, Ms. Wonder, put me through, never would I ever be calm at school.

21, 22, 23 stops….. Brain: 68 percent done with the route. Sometimes my brain is annoying. Like during math class when Miss Carmon asks what 10,789 divided by 13 is; I already know. 829.92. On impulse, I want to show the answer. But while all the other people in my class scramble for their calculators and dig for their pencils and scrap paper, I remain still and silent. Like I always am.

30, 31, 32 stops….. Brain: 88 percent there. Everybody thought that I couldn’t speak, including my parents. Even my doctor wasn’t sure if my voice box actually worked. I hadn’t ever tested my voice; it was just more natural for me to remain silent. Talking was used to communicate, and I couldn’t think of any reason I would need to do that.

36 stops….. Brain: all, 1/1, 100 percent. I rose slowly out of my seat, being careful to place my feet so that I didn’t step on any of the dry faded chewing gum that littered the aisle floor. I grabbed my blue LLBean messenger bag from the gray leather seat and walked down the aisle. A few curious eyes glanced my way to see who was getting off, and then quickly turned away. I wasn’t important enough to be acknowledged.

I got to the front of the bus to where my bus driver, Jo, sat. Her ‘official’ school name was Mrs. Oakburgh, but that was kind of a mouth-full to the verbal people, so everyone just called her Jo, so that is what her name is in my head. Her short curly brown hair was stacked on top of her head neatly, with her mouth suspended in a forever smile that had never once faltered.

 “’Bye Miya,” she said to me, like every day, as she pulled on the lever to separate the single door closing the way out of the bus. I didn’t respond, but Jo was used to that. I stepped carefully down the steps, being attentive to not let my book-bag swing away from me and cause more noise.

When I stepped onto the black pavement of my driveway, I heard the two double doors creak shut behind me. I didn’t turn around. I just walked toward the big brown house that would finally give me peace.

 I dragged my feet along the smooth driveway. Sometimes I would come out here on the weekends during the day and look at all the bugs and beetles that swarmed in clusters underneath the warm spring sun. Every single bug I found went into my Bug Journal. I’m pretty sure every bug that has ever crossed onto this property is recorded in there. I’m proud of that.

I continued to walk down the long driveway, while Remembering every bug I had ever added into that journal. Beetles, butterflies, ants………

Finally, I reached the front door. I reached for the for the cold steel handle that clung to the old wood that was the door frame. The wood looked like it was ready to fall apart any second; it was so frail and weak. But that’s how it has looked for the past 3 years, so I wasn’t worried.

I turned the handle that would lead me to the peace of my house; my room. The door creaked open slowly and loudly, and I wanted to cover me ears. Any sound does that to me. The open door led me into the living room. The walls were painted an orangey cream color, so much better than Blue Creek’s sickly green (and you would think it would be blue?).

I stepped inside and felt the cool wave of the air conditioner hit me in the face. It felt good. Immediately, my muscles relaxed. I was at home, I was safe from all of the dangers that school gave me. I could relax.

I rounded the living room corner, leaving behind the couches and the T.V., the thing my parents so hoped I would someday be interested in. Instead, I turned into my room. The baby blue walls reflected my favorite color, while the carpet would be soft and fluffy when I finally took my shoes off. The rest of my room was simple; a wooden desk, a twin bed, a bean-bag, and a bookcase.

Okay, maybe the bookcase wasn’t so simple. Even though I had already memorized every word in all of the books, I saw no need to get rid of them just yet.

The huge white cabinet held 364(and I’ve counted) books. That’s why the bookcase had to be so big. Books are my only interest. So many books are etched permanently into my ever Remembering brain. Words, words, and more words. The stories they tell never cease to amaze me, no matter how many times I Remembered them.

I walked over to my bed and sat on the end. I took off my blue Nikes and set them down perfectly side-by-side on the floor next to my dresser.  Then I got up just to plop back down into my bean-bag chair. Since I had already read every book in the case, I just closed my eyes and Remembered.

You might wonder how my head works, so I’ll try and explain it to you. It’s kind of like a filing cabinet. All of my memories are stored into their own separate file, and I just search through them to Remember something. Like right now, it’s kind of like I have a file labeled ‘BOOKS’ in my head, so I open it to find all of the documents of the different books I have read. I pick Black Beauty, one of my all-time favorites, and somewhere in the back of my mind the pages of the books come back to me in perfect order.

I sat just there with my eyes closed for a while, while I read that book. After I got to chapter 4, I decided it was time to eat. I dog-ear my page (remember where I am), and close my book back into its metaphorical filing cabinet my head, and stood up. I opened the door and walked to the kitchen.

The tile in the kitchen was cool beneath my bare feet, but it felt good after having my feet stuck in those sweaty tennis-shoes all day. I came to the countertop and I opened the wooden cabinet above it. Inside of it were my favorite snacks: gummy worms, graham crackers, and strawberries.

Today, I reached for the strawberries. I rinsed them off in the sink before I ate them, because I remembered reading about a sickness that comes from eating dry strawberries. Although the only side effect is not being able to talk for up to a month (which wouldn’t really matter to me), you can’t be too careful.

I carried my strawberries back to my room, where I picked up where I let off in my book. I pulled off all the leaves on my strawberries. I couldn’t stand the leaves. I placed the first strawberry in my mouth slowly, enjoying the sweet juice that slid around my mouth, making me shiver. I chewed and read, chewed and read.

Suddenly, the alarm clock went off in the living room. I sigh, close my book, and take my bowl of what were now just leaves back out of my room. I walked past the living room and into the kitchen, where the white digital alarm clock sat on the stone counter. I pressed the ‘alarm off’ button and went back to my room to get ready for when my mom got home.

I set my alarm for my mom’s arrival. Every day I set it for 4:00, because she gets home at 4:15. My mom doesn’t really like the fact that I never really do anything (which is what it must look like to her with my eyes closed). When she finds me just sitting like that, she kind of has a mental break-down.

“Why?!” she would say over and over, trying to understand why nothing was most interesting to me. So now when she comes home, I try to look like I’m doing something. I went into the living room and sat down on the worn-out beige couch. I pick up the remote on the nightstand next to me and press the power button.

As soon as the T.V. came on, I quickly pressed the mute button. Even the quietest channels (like the one where the 70 year-old guy talks about the forecast and politics) are too loud for my sensitive ears. Without really paying attention to the channel, I waited for my mom to come home and hopefully start to believe that I was a ‘normal child’.

I forced my eyes to remain open, trying to stay out of the comforting world of my memory. My eyes had gone blurry in the effort to focus on the screen. Finally, I heard the distant rumble of the old garage door opening. I quickly sat up and un-muted the T.V. and cleared my eyes of the glassy look that my mom was frustrated with so often. I tried to look comfortable, yet not too comfortable, like I had been sleeping.

The back door opened, and my mom came through the doorway. Her brown hair was curly and stiff, like she had used too much hairspray this morning. She wore her usual outfit for work, a light brown blouse with long black slacks. Her face was tired, like usual after work.

“Oh, Miya,” she said defeated when she walked over to me, “why on earth are you watching Politics Weekly?” Too late, I realized what channel I had turned to. Thankfully, I always held a straight face.

Mom just sighed, exasperated. “But I guess I’ll never understand you.” I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to deal with the ‘psycho mother’.

She turned back into the kitchen and grabbed a banana from the bunch we had sitting on the counter. She unpeeled it and began chewing as she spoke the same question that was always waiting for me when Mom got home. “How was school?” she said with her mouth full. I just kept staring at the TV screen. I slowly inclined my head to indicate that school was fine, which I did everyday that she asked me. Of course it wasn’t fine, but there was no way to indicate that to my mother with-out triggering her “Why?!” lecture/yelling speech.

She didn’t notice my nod, but she never really did. I guess she just asks me that to make sure I went to school today. Not that I’ve ever ditched, just that she can’t really expect anything I’ll do.

Since we were both past the moment where she checks to make sure I’m doing something ‘normal’, I tuned out the noise of Politics Weekly, and picked up where I left off in my book.



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