Cleaner-Ariana Flores

I’d always heard of people getting poisoned in movies and books. In scenarios where an evil senior advisor wants the power all to themselves & poisons the king to gain it. Taking a life only for the sake of fame seems unrealistic. I had never really heard of people being poisoned in my life. That was until, my mom got an unexpected text message.

I was lounging on the couch in my sweatpants and my favorite old t-shirt. It was yet another bright, sunny Saturday and I was bored out of my mind. There were no homework or projects to do. So, the choices were to either go work on my unfinished poem for club, read a new book, or go watch my brother play video games. Watching Tony play video games won because he was so obnoxiously loud I couldn’t possibly do the other two.

“Hey Ana, come upstairs real quick,” my mom called. I hopped up the steps two at a time and turned right, then jogged to her room before flopping on the bed.

“What’s up?,” I asked with my speech muffled in the blanket. I looked up just as I saw her place her phone down on the pillow.

“I just checked on Brian the other day because we haven’t talked to him in a bit,” my mom stated. It was a habit of ours to see how he was doing because he didn’t live in the same state as us anymore.

“He got poisoned,” she sighed with disappointment coloring her voice. Although Brian is 28, and not related by blood to either of us, we kind of adopted him into the family. So this knowledge was a big blow shock. The fact that we no money, nor time to go and visit him

“What?! How?”, I shouted, my tone full of disbelief. I dove to snatch her phone and went to messages, so I could see his words with my own eyes.“This can’t be happening,” I thought. “Things like this didn’t happen to good people like him who had already been through so much in life.”

Ever since he had lived in Philly, then moved Alaska, I’d had questions regarding his departure. Sure Philadelphia wasn’t the nicest town, but I never found out what his line of work was there.

“His drink was served to him with cleaner in it while he was out at a restaurant…and you know because of his lupus he was put in the hospital. There’s no way cleaner could’ve gotten all the way from a maintenance closet or something like that and into his drink. That means there was most likely malicious intent. What is wrong with people?” my mother declared.

The exact same things were running through my mind. It just didn’t add up unless someone had done it on purpose.He had expressed before that he lived in a town where there was a lot of discrimination towards the African American race. This caused us to presume because he had spoken of altercations between him and Caucasians. However, neither of us thought it would go that anyone would have taken it to such lengths.

I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that one of my family members was almost killed. Neither us nor Brian ever found out who possibly put the cleaner in his drink or how this (what could only be explained as an accident from the restaurant) took place if there wasn’t someone involved.

Eventually, Brian was discharged from the hospital and decided to move back to Philadelphia after much deliberation. I was glad to hear the news, and personally, I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to move back. All people have a choice at some point in their life to something right or wrong.

A few weeks after the incident I looked back and shook my head in shame because this is the society we live in today. I just hope our generation is the one to change it for the better.

Comments (2)

Bea Gerber (Student 2019)
Bea Gerber

This is crazy! I can't believe this happened! I hope he's okay and that nothing like this happens again. Your story did a great job of capturing the emotions behind this insane event. I could feel your disbelief, anger, and frustration. I loved the language you used, especially "with disappointment coloring her voice." SO GOOD! Keep it up because this was great.

Lily Rivera (Student 2019)
Lily Rivera

Ari, your essay is really interesting! I was so shocked to hear that that had actually happened. I agree that the society that we live in today is crazy and we do need to change it. The message was definitely clear as well as the system you chose. You definitely kept me interested throughout, so really nice job!