Well, I guess you could call me crazy, I mean that’s how Italian New Yorker’s are perceived right? Dumb because they don’t speak right like others. There was a particular time when I felt this, being dumb for the way I talk. Being a teenager ain’t easy, especially when you “different.”
“Oh c’mon Michael, we don’ wanna be late.”
“Ma, you know I don’ wanna leave. One minute, we’ve gots time. Don’ gotta be dere til six anyway. It only five.”
She really had to make the flight at eight a.m.? Airports are stupid, gotta be there hours before yo flight. I could use that time hangin’ with mah friends, havin’ a good time. Not travelin’ seven hours to somewhere stupid where I know nobody.
“Do I gotta go? Boardin’ school is fo preps. I could live alone, I practically do. You never home, I always gotta feed mahself and shit.”
“You stuck with me boy, yo father’s dead. Where you gon’ go?”
Gettin’ off that plane never felt better, everythin’ was beautiful in Liverpool, but not the kids. Oh God, not the kids, they got to be some of the ugliest kids in the world.
The following Monday after we arrived, my Ma started her new job, and I started at a new school, King’s Bruton. All my luggage was put in a dorm (well here they call it quarters), and I was forced to have the bottom bunk by the door. Perks of being the new kid. In the afternoon, I started my classes. Great.
“Hey, erm, excuse me? Where’s class two fawty two?” I said to a kid, who looked like he was in 11th grade.
“Huh? That’s not a class. Sorry.”
“Oh, well you know where three fawty five is then?”
“I don’t know what ya sayin’, I’m lost. Try aaa-nun-c-eee-ate-ing better.”
All day it went like this. I was late by at least ten minutes ‘cause nobody in this school can understand simple English. I speak perfectly good, and it’s as if I speak a differen’ language. After classes, I jogged to my dorm to go call my Ma.
“Ma, the people here are dumb. Don’ know standard English.”
“Why’s dat my dear? ”
“Just some kids and teachers in the school don’ like how I speak. (speaks in a Liverpudlian accent)’I’m not torkin’ right.’ I’m not, “Ayyo, mate, what’s appenin’?’”
“Don’ worry about them, it’s only the first day. In a months time, things won’ seem as bad as they are right now. By the way, shouldn’ you be busy?”
“Ard, Ma. Talk to ya later.”
Two weeks and still no friends. Wow, what am I doin’ wrong? I should be the class clown, somebody fun, not no picked on loser. Thas for the wimps. Some 12th grader I never known, came up to me.
“Ayy mate, why don’t ya go back to New Yark? You not one of us, kid. You tork weird, and you just don’t belong.”
The same thing over and over. Mah speech is wrong? Their speech is wrong, I’m the only speakin’ right, they the one’s who say, “talk,” as “tork.” That day after school I went to my dorm with a swollen black eye. After the 12th grader talked to me, all his buddies came around and started throwin’ punches, and kickin’. I could feel the hate with each blow. The leaders of the dorms don’ seem to care, and nothin’ ain’t right here. My Ma was wrong. I’m the loser of this school ‘cause of dis damn accent.
“Is Michael Visss...innie here?” Said our English teacher on the first full month of school.
Out of her ignorance I said, “Nope. Michael Vicinni does happen to be here doe.”
“No need for smart-asses, ya wanker.” Said the kid sittin’ behind my.
“It’s a month inna school, boardin’ school, people shoulda know my name by now.”
“You warkin around like you own something,” said a classmate. “You oughtta get webbed with your attitude, nobody wants to be friends with a nob.”
After that I lost it. I couldn’ fight, I jus ran out, like a wimp cryin’. I lost all respect in myself. I wanted home. I needed my Ma, I needed friends who spoke like me. I’m usually the class clown, the one the girls like. Now imma no good, “wanker.” That afternoon I jus’ went to mah quarters, and called my Ma...Only to realize she’s busy and has no time for me. Great.
I walked into the mess hall to get some dinner, as usual I sat by myself. Halfway through when I was eating my dessert a girl come over, and might I add she was quite attractive, got goosebumps and everythin’.
“Erm ello, Michael is it?”
“Sorry to bother you, I just noticed nobody eva sits wit you.”
“Yeah, don’ have no friends.”
“I’ll be your friend and help you wit your accent if you’d like. I noticed you get teased quite a bit.”
“That’d be uhh well, thanks uhh...”
“Ali, I’m in yer grade.”
That day was a turning point. Everyday Ali and I would sit under the Weeping Willow tree by the main entrance in front the school after three p.m. I helped her with math, and she helped me with my speech. She was beautiful, enticin’, long wavy blond hair with slight streaks, a perfect smile, with slightly blushed cheeks. She was practically an angel, and made me feel like nothin’ could go wrong. Mike and Ali, Mike and Ali, Mike and A...
This burly boy in my grade came around to me, with his group of friends. Ali was in the back of the group just watchin’, with a smile on her face. To think I could have friends here, to think somebody might like me, how stupid.
“We’ve told you, you aren’t anythin’.” *Another smack across the cheek* “When you tork, you tork weird, it’s not right. Go back where you belong.”
The thought of Ali and I together was interrupted by punches, left and right, across the cheek, in the nose, in the eye, and more stupid comments about my accent. That was it.
“I’m not takin’ yo crap anymore. You ignant, imma be me. I may damn well, speak as I want.”
Before I knew it, I threw a punch at the main, burly boy’s face. It connected to his jaw, and my knuckles were scraped up by his teeth. The only thing I remember after that was sittin’ outside the principal's office. I was all alone though, no other boys, or Ali. My body was shakin’ and couldn’ sit still. I hated this place, why was I nervous about what the frickin’ principle thought? All that was said was me tellin’ my Ma I was expelled. Nobody else, just me. Great.