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Koli in the Middle

I feel like I am jumping in at the middle here, but I want to tell my story in my own voice. My name is Koli Jameson. I live in Myrtle Hollow, Kentucky and I'm fourteen years old. My favorite subject right now is English because we are doing literature. When we switch back to grammar I'll prefer French. Biology and geometry are good too. I live with my mother, grandmother, father, younger brother and sister in a house that my dad built out of two trailers and with a lot of skill and ingenuity.

I like my dad. I wish I got along better with my mother. I love my grandmother, but I worry about her more than like her at the moment. You all want to know about my grandmother, but she doesn't deserve center stage. The only reason she'd get center stage right now is she is terribly sick. Grandma got sick when I was in middle school. At the time they gave her three months to live. She is still alive now but don't call it a miracle. If grandma's being alive is a miracle, then we all better give up on miracles. I don't really believe in miracles myself. I think people calling everything a miracle has just made miracles a bit overrated.

Grandma is paralyzed on one side, in a wheel chair. They say she can see, but if her glasses slip down her nose, she just leaves them lying there. Mom doesn't want grandma to die. I figure it has to happen sooner or later. All the doctors can do is keep grandma alive and sick, but that is good enough for mom.

If you live in Greenup, you've probably seen a picture of my grandma. She is on these little banks that stores have on their counter. It is a heart shaped picture made from an old photograph. It has grandma in a heart on top of a red heart set to the side so it makes a bloody shadow. The cup says "help me heal." This is so mom can have enough money to take two weeks to three months unpaid leave from her job to take grandma to Washington, DC to participate in clinical trials. Yes, that means medical experiments, but they dont' call them that.

While grandma and mom are gone, my older sister, Liza, is going to run the house. No, I'm not looking forward to that. People who don't know our family wonder how Liza and I can be sisters. She never cared about school and dropped out when she was sixteen to have a baby. Now she is pregnant with number two. She is four years older than I am and I totally DON'T want to be like her. Living here with her in charge is going to be disgusting.

I'll be glad every morning when I catch the bus to school and come back as late at night as I can on the YGTA bus if I still have my pass. I may not be able to get another monthly pass if Liza is in charge. She'll be able to run her own errands. She drives a beat up clunker. Her boyfriend will even be here. Mom will say it can't be helped. Dad will be too busy at work at the Saturn plant to care.

I know I don't want to work at any auto plants when I grow up. I want to work in an office that is air conditioned in the summer and nicely heated in the winter. I want to wear a skirt and stockings to work every day and have clean fingernails. I want to have a title in front of my name or after it. I don't want people to think Myrtle Hollow when they look at me and leave it at that. I want them to wonder where I come from and when I say "Myrtle Hollow," I want them just to shrug as if it means nothing.

Of course all of that is a long ways off. I need to get through four years of high school and not just get through. I need to do well. I also need to do extracurriculars like the Legion d'Honneur Francaise and the Model UN. Our country is Chad by the way, very third world and some people would say it's very appropriate to Greenup, but they've never lived in Greenup or spent any time there. Chad is also a four letter word. All ready it is the butt of jokes such as Chad you! Chad yourself etc... Poor Chad is getting invaded by the Janjaweed in the east and has refugee camps full of Darfurians. Don't ask our boys to go in to Darfur. They are all ready fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. Isn't that enough?

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