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I awoke to the sound of shouting and gun shots. Startled, I bolted out of bed and looked out the newly installed bullet proof window. Outside was a horrific sight. About seven police cars were surrounding three adolescents and they were shouting some words I don't understand at the kids. One of the kids was a tall, lanky boy with deep pleading eyes. He was clutching a rock in his hand and his lips were trembling. Next to him was a smaller boy with the Qur'an in his hand. He was placing it defensively in front of him as if it was supposed to protect him. Next to this boy was a little girl. She looked no older than nine and she was squeezing a doll tightly to her chest and crying silently. It was a miserable sight indeed.
Some police were on top of their cars with huge machine guns, ready to fire. The look on their faces was a look of death. Did they have no souls? Did they have no conscience to tell them what's right and what's wrong? I felt a tear slip down my cheek. "I really should get used to this." I thought. These kinds of things happen many times a week in Israel, where I now live. I sighed and ripped my eyes away from the depressing scene outside my bedroom window. I climbed back into bed and tried, unsuccessfully, to fall asleep.
Two Weeks Ago
"Oribelle? Oribelle, can you hear me?" I opened my heavy eyelids and looked in front of me. Mrs. Lamia was three inches away from my face. Her pointy and hooked nose was covered in gross warts and her eyes were like ominous black holes. I felt myself shudder. "Oribelle this better be the last time I have to give you detention for sleeping in class, got that?" Mrs. Lamia shouted at me. I nodded my head and as her back was turned rolled my eyes.
Hi, I'm Oribelle Alita. I just thought that I should give you some background information about myself. My first name means "beautiful golden child." My parents named me that because of my golden blonde hair. My last name means "earth." So, my full name means "beautiful golden child of the earth." Pretty sweet name if you ask me. So anyway, I live in San Diego, California with my mom, dad, and little brother. I am 15 going on 16 in a month and I almost have my driver's license! My little brother is a pain and my mom is too overprotective. My dad doesn't work, instead he volunteers at Union Station and stuff like that. I go to Bright Middle School and my best friend is a girl named Luna. I think that's enough background for now. Let's get back to my life story.
I sluggishly walked into Mr. Samil's homeroom, otherwise known as detention. He barely looked up from his computer as I walked in. I am a regular suspect for detention so it's no surprise to him that I am here once again. I slapped the light blue slip on his desk and dropped into my usual seat in the very back of the room. Mr. Samil looked at the slip then looked at me. He looked like he was just about to say something, but didn't and continued to work on his computer. I sat with my feet up against the chair in front of me, popping my gum loudly. Normally, only three or four people get detention and I know all of them already.
There's Mortisha, a very mean punk girl with deep black hair. She gets detention every day for just showing up to class. She scares the living daylights out of most people, but not me. In fact Mortisha and I are actually pretty tight. Another regular is Fortis who is the class daredevil. He has never turned down a dare in his life. One time, I dared him to climb to the top of the flag pole and scream, "I love Mrs. Lamia!" and he did it. He and I are buddies. The last frequent visitor is a dude named Blade. Blade is the bad boy of the school. He goes through three or four girlfriends in a day and smokes in the boy's bathroom. No one knows if Blade is his real name or just what he calls himself, and no one asks. Well of course I know that his real name is Benjamin, but that's because we're pals.
The only thing that bothers me is I don't really fit in with the detention group. I mean seriously how does this sound? Mortisha, Fortis, Blade, and...Oribelle? I'm like a third wheel. Even my best friends don't fit in with me very much.
Luna is one of the most popular girls in our school. She has long, dark, and curly hair with bright blue eyes and a killer smile. Every boy wants her, but none can have her. Luna is actually very down to earth and doesn't want a boyfriend just yet because she says it would interfere with school work. Now I love Luna, but she is just too perfect. When I stand next to her she always is the nicer looking one, the prettier one, the smarter one, the skinnier one. I understand that Luna is just being herself, but I don't want to be a burden on her shoulders.
So anyway, here I was just sitting down and being bored when in walked my father. My jaw dropped to the ground and my gum fell out. He walked over to Mr. Samil's desk and talked to him in a low voice, so that I couldn't hear. "What is he doing here!?" I thought. "Does he WANT to ruin my life?!" I put my hand in front of my face a little. You never know, maybe he didn't know it was me. My dad turned around and was walking towards me. I couldn't read his face. I couldn't tell if he came to talk to me for a good reason or a bad reason. But I could tell that he absolutely knew it was me. He waved me out the door of Mr. Samil's room and I followed.
"Oribelle. I am afraid I have some bad news. I...I got a call today at home." My dad stopped talking and was thinking about how to say what he meant.
"...And..." I said trying to coax it out of him.
"And it was a lady named Lani Hartford. She works with the Israeli Palestinian Conflict Helpers, or the IPCH. She needs some new recruits to go to Israel to help the poor there." My dad said looking at his feet.
"You didn't agree to this stupid thing, right?" I asked, my breathing starting to quicken. We had learned about the Israeli Palestinian conflict very vaguely in 7th grade. All I know is that everyone wants Jerusalem as their Holy Land.
"Well honey, as you know charity work is my life. I believe that I was put on this earth to serve others. So, I did say yes." My dad said looking in my eyes. I felt something boiling up inside me. A red hot liquid ready to burst out.
"Ugh, how could you!? You're so selfish, you know that? Did you even stop to think about what this would do to the family? Did you ever think about what it would do to me? God, I can't even look at you!" As I said the last line of my speech I walked back into Mr. Samil's classroom, grabbed my backpack, and stomped out the door. My dad stood there, in shock at my behavior probably, but followed me out the school doors anyway.
Sometimes I don't know how people can just make group decisions like that. Did he expect our family to move to ISRAEL? Israel is so unsafe right now. Bombs, terrorists, robbery, all kinds of things are going on in Israel right now. Did my dad want to get us killed? Did he want to scar us for life? All these thoughts were whirling around in my head as I got into the car.
The drive home felt longer than usual and throughout the whole thing there was a deathly silence. You could cut the tension with a knife. Finally, I said something.
"Did you tell mom and Zane yet?" I asked looking at him with dagger eyes. He slowly shook his head.
"I thought you would help me. I assumed you would understand..." My dad cut off his sentence right there. I looked away from him and out the window instead. Oh yeah, Zane is my brother. He's 13. His name means "godly light." After a couple beats of silence I spoke again.
"To assume makes an ass out of u and me. Have you ever heard that saying?" I asked, knowing that of course he had. He was the one who taught it to me. My dad's hands got stiff around the steering wheel of the car.
"Yes I have heard that saying Oribelle, but I am ordering you to do as I say. If I want to move to Israel, we are moving to Israel. Any more questions dear?" He spat the last word "dear" and I shut my mouth. I know when to pick and choose my fights.
After what felt like hours, we finally made it back home. I swung open the door and let it fall behind me, even though I knew my dad was right there. I dropped my backpack on the floor and sprinted up our steps and ran into my room. I put my head in my hands and just sat on my bed. I just sat there and started to fall into a dreamy sensation. My eye lids became very heavy, like 100 pound weights. "I'll just take a little nap." I thought to myself. My eyes fluttered closed and I fell into a wonderland of deep, peaceful sleep.