A Trip To Poverty

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The sky was filled with stars, as the moon slowly peered out from the dark clouds, and it was a nice pleasant evening. I was sitting outside on the bench in front of the library, trying to hear the sounds of the crickets hidden in the grass conversing with one another about things no one else would understand but them. I was lost in thoughts about the girl from my English class, who, for some reason always sits in the corner of the entire room, all by herself. When I awoke from my thoughts, I realized that the pattern of cricket noises did not seem to be as loud as they were before. Now a different noise had overtaken them. It was a weird continuous sound. A noise I had never heard before, a noise very new to me, but yet so familiar, very disturbing, and loud. It seemed to come from the bench behind mine.

Fear ran through my veins, and my heart started beating faster than a racer who wins the marathon! I slowly turned around, and to my surprise, there was not an entire soul anywhere to be found around me. I was the only one sitting outside, while all my peers were in the building chatting with one another. The noise also had seemed to disappear. Now all I heard were the crickets, once again talking amongst themselves. Then suddenly, I heard my friends 1952 Chevy driving away, after blowing a couple of horns to take me home. That is when I decided to leave the park, and go home.

" Don't you dare tell me what I do right and what I do wrong. I know how to run a household! Just get out of here!" said Jim, my stepfather. I heard these common words every time I reached home. Every night Jim would scream his lungs out like that, and I would hear my mom run out of the room crying. She would cry everywhere... in the house, in the lawn outside, here most of her tears shed, and even at work, during the lunch breaks she would get after requesting her boss a million times. She was the one who worked, and earned all the money in my family. All Jim ever did was sit at home and drink like a pig. Mom and Jim would usually fight on one topic, such as who ran the household. Mom felt she did, since she did all the earning, and Jim well, being a man was enough for him to think that he was the leader.

The night passed quickly, once again sleepless for me. The sun had just risen and it was time for me to go to the place where I felt a little happy--- college. I usually stayed in college till 11:00 PM, although my classes ended by 2:00 PM. I did not know what to do at home, so I just stayed in college till late hours. Today, unlike all other days, there was something different about the students and professors at Kean University. As I passed through the hallways, I saw people in groups discussing about a topic unknown to me. People would discuss, and look at me as if I was a new student from a different part of the world, and they had never seen me before. Their eyes wandered upon me till I totally disappeared from their sites. As I stood at my locker, Susan, the girl from my English class who had never uttered a word the entire semester, came up to me. She said, " someone was asking about you." before I could ask her anything, she disappeared, leaving me with so many curious thoughts.

Once again, as the moon sneaked out of the tricky cloudy skies, which earlier showed signs of rain, I approached outside to my favorite bench. Once again, I was sitting and got lost in thoughts. This time I was not thinking about the girl from my English class; I was thinking about the unknown person who kept asking about me in college. " Who could it be!"? I asked myself. Many names came into my mind, attempting to guess whom it was. Then out of nowhere, I began to hear that same, loud sound which interrupted the conversations between the crickets. The same loud sound, which filled my heart with fear. The same sound that came from the bench behind mine. It got louder and louder, fear filled my heart even more. My eyes popped out, nearly out of my eye socket! I closed my eyes tightly, as the noise got closer to me. I was too afraid to turn around and right at that moment, I felt a hand tapping my shoulder. I wanted to scream, but my mouth was too dry. The tapping continued, and as I turned around, I came face to face with this weird but unique object.

I stood there amazed, looking at it as if this were all a dream, and pretty soon I would hear the same "Koo Koo" sound which woke me up every morning. Then out of nowhere, I heard something. " Relax, sit down, I have to talk to you," said the object. I could not believe my ears, did I just hear this unknown creature speaking to me? After a moment of silence, I calmed myself down. I sat down on my bench and swallowed my saliva really hard, asked, " Are you the unknown thing-- person, sorry, if that is what you are, who was looking for me?" " Please, you can call me Eba, and yes I was looking for you all day long! Where have you been, Adam?" " Oh my god, how do you know my name?" I asked. " Well, how else would I ask about you? Forget that, first, I have an important thing to ask you, and you have got to help me! I am in deep trouble here. Please say you will help me." Requested Eba. " Well sure, go on what's the problem," I asked out of curiosity. " Well you see, I need to do this paper on families of the globe. But my only problem is that I watched television shows such as Ozzie and Harriet, and Leave it to Beaver, where the families are "perfect", however, as I was researching on families, I saw you sitting on the bench about two days ago, and I even gave you a call, but you did not seem to hear me. I followed you home, and there I saw the troubles your family is facing. I need you to help me write this paper by letting me know about your experiences. How are real life families different from the families I have seen on television?" asked Eba.

For a moment, Eba left me totally speechless. However, after some serious thinking I decided to help it. " Okay, Eba, I will tell you about my experiences, and how real families are not as perfect and happy like the families you have seen on television." The first difference is that in television families, you have seen the men are working, supporting their families. The women are usually housewives, and mostly found in the kitchen. They have two children, who for some reason are the world's most perfect kids, making their parents' lives as happy as possible. This is not necessarily true of real life families. In my family, for example, I do not even know who my real father is. All I know is that my mom and dad got into a fight when I was very little, and he just disappeared. Then a man named Jim came into my mother's life, and since then, it is just the three of us living together under one roof.

Another difference is the working situations. My mother is the head of our household. She works hard, earns money, and runs the family. Jim does not even know what the word work means! All he is good for is sitting, watching television, and wrinkling up an empty can of beer till it perfectly fits in his big hands. While Jim is snoring away, lying on top of linen sheets, my mother wakes up, and goes to work. Sometimes with a little smile on her face, and other times with tears in her eyes, as she thinks about all the verbal and physical abuse she goes through the previous night when Jim and her fought.

I am not the only one who is facing these kinds of problems. Many families around the world deal with such troubles. In some families, the parents are abusive or mean and rude to their children, and to one another, which causes separation and tensions between all family members; In other families, its opposite, the parents are nice, but the kids have no respect for them. The kids are too much into their own world to even think of their parents. Such situations are always arising to distinguish a real family from a make believe family.

While telling Eba all this information, I thought about when I had to write a term paper for my Sociology class. The topic was " How Would Circumstances Affect your Daily Life?" As I told Eba, I wondered how would it be different if I were not a male; I was a female? If I was not Christian, but was Muslim; and if I was not born into an average income making family, but into a poor one. How would my life, way of thinking, behaving, and coping with situations be different? I told Eba if I were to be a female, things would be so much different than they are now. The biggest difference would be the choice of freedom. In general, girls have more restrictions than guys. As a male, when I am upset or fed up with my parents fighting at home, I could always go out for a long drive, or for a walk, no matter how late it is. There are more concerns about a female; which makes the living for a male easier.

Life would also be very different if I was born as a Muslim. Many responsibilities and religious duties would come my way. Praying 5 times a day, giving the utter most respect to my parents, and becoming an adult as soon as possible to take over household duties and helping with financial responsibilities.

If I were born into a poor family, I would not be so wealthy, but the love that I am lacking today, without a father and a mother who is always emotionally upset, would not be there. I have always heard that people raised up in a poor family, always feel loved, if nothing else.

Eba listened carefully, and was amazed as I told it about how the real life families are not perfect, like they show on television shows. A small thing such as different gender, religion, and social class could dramatically change a person's life. Eba thanked me for my help, and walked away from me. I kept staring at it walking away like that, and realized that this was the first time I felt like a happy man, sharing my family problems to benefit myself and an " unidentified object."