The Domiciles Project



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Belle Hall – Grade 10 Mrs. Amberg: Lesson #1
ELA- “Doors to Stories” Domiciles Project Door #1
Gouverneur High School
Behind Closed Doors
It all started when I lost my mom to breast cancer. I was really young when she passed, so I don’t remember much about her. What I do remember is that she was a very loving woman. People always tell me she was the kindest woman they knew; she always took care of everybody. When I look at pictures of our family before she passed, we all looked so happy. I just wish we were still like that today.
Now I live with just my brother, Justin, and my dad. My dad used to be happy all the time, but when my mom died, he wasn’t the same. He was depressed and no longer cared about anything. He didn’t pay much attention to my brother and me. So Justin started falling behind in school and hanging out with the wrong guys. When Justin had his friends over, they always made fun of me. The worst part is that Justin didn’t stop them. He actually went along with them. I was used to kids at school making fun of me but my own brother? It made me feel awful and lonely.
Quite often I went in my mom’s closet to be away from everyone. I really spent most of my time in there alone. One day I got so upset that I kicked a hole in the closet door. The next day I boarded it back up so nobody would notice. That closet was the only place I felt safe. When I went to school, the kids in my class made fun of me. I wore my favorite shirt almost every day. It was pink and had a pony on the front. It was the shirt my mom gave to me right before she passed away. She said that it was her favorite shirt when she was a kid. She told me when I wore it she would be with me, so it didn’t bother me much when they made fun of me for it. Also I didn’t get new clothes often because my father didn’t have much money, so he couldn’t afford to buy us new clothes. I got called poor a lot because of this. After a while I had had enough of the kids at school and my family at home. I just wanted to talk to my mom about it all. She would have made everything better. But I knew I couldn’t do that so the closest I could get to that was to sit in her closet. I knew my father would make me go to school, though. I had an idea, when the bus came, I pretended to get on so my dad thought I was going to school. But when the bus left, I snuck upstairs and stayed in the closet all day.
After about a week, the school called. They asked my dad what was going on. He had no clue; for all he knew I was going to school. So the school decided to schedule a meeting with us. On the way to the meeting my dad told me to stay quiet. At the time I didn’t know why he said this, but now I realize he didn’t want them to know how he and my brother treated me. When we got there, they asked why I wasn’t coming to school. Although I wanted to tell them, I couldn’t because my father was staring at me with a threatening look. They asked if they could speak to me alone. I told them everything that happened. I knew dad would get mad, but I thought it was for the best. They were so supportive and understanding. I felt so relieved that for once I wasn’t alone and there was hope. From then on, my brother, Dad, and I went to therapy sessions. I stopped hiding in the closet and I made more friends at school. I realized that I didn’t have to wear the pony shirt all the time because my mom would be with me no matter what. Dad got a good paying job and Justin brought his grades up. He also got some new friends. They were all really nice when they came over. Looking back on my childhood, it was pretty rough, but it all made me a tougher person today.

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