Regular Americans Speak Out Part 2 High School Student

A series of essays from various regular Americans on love, work, and life in these United States, this one about a high school student going to bed.

America Speaks

RODNEY S., high school student,

New York City, N.Y.

8:30 P.M. "I was sent up to bed. I am not sleepy at all. The lights are on in my room, in the hall, and in the bathroom. I smell my brother's cough medicine. I hear my mother and father talking. As I go upstairs, I can feel the wooden banister under my hands."

8:45 P.M. "I'm washing up. The water feels warm against my face. I can see myself in the mirror as I wash. I soon hear my mother and brother coming upstairs."

9:00 P.M. "My brother has a fairy tale book and he thinks he is really reading it. (He can't, because he is only 6 years old.) The lights are off in the bathroom, and in my mother's and father's room. I'm still doing my English homework and my parents are still taking downstairs."

9:12 P.M. "I have just started yawning. My brother is crying because my father had to speak to him. I can hear the noise of the heaters in the house giving more steam. I can't explain the sound very well, except that it is the same as when a television set messes up. My eyes are starting to get watery."

9:17 P.M. "I'm climbing into my bed. As I get into the top bunk. my brother is kneeling in the lower bunk singing the 'Star-Spangled Banner,' saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing 'America the Beautiful.'"

9:30 P.M. "I start feeling as though I don't ever want to get out of bed. My eyes are starting to get heavy. I still hear my brother talking to himself. The lights are still on in the bathroom and in my parents' room. The heaters are still making their noises."

9:40 P.M. "My brother is now falling asleep, talking to himself."

9:50 P.M. "My father comes upstairs. The light is off in my room. My brother looks at the darkness and asks me, is it morning? The heaters stop making their crazy sounds. The house is quiet, everything is getting blurry. The last thing I remember is my hand hanging over the side of the bed and my brother playing with it." (From: The Me Nobody Knows edited by Stephen M. Joseph. New York, Discus, 1969.)

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