I don’t know how my life would have ended if I had not met Asya on my way. She taught me how to believe in myself. I grew up in a not-so-fun neighborhood. Poverty, drunkenness and theft were on the agenda. As I walked down the street, the sounds of arguments were coming from more than one window.
I had the same thing at home
Shouting, insults, alcohol. I’ve been doing it with my brothers since I was little. Not that we liked it. Oh no! The television showed beautiful, large apartments and people speaking in the language of books. So we knew that Elsewhere people live differently, better and more peacefully. But I didn’t think I’d ever catch up with them. All these doctors, lawyers, engineers – it was kind of a strange planet. I didn’t even dream of such a thing. Anyway, my mother, when she was in a good mood, would say to me, “Kinga, look how beautifully Euka has settled down with those Germans. You’ll be old, you’ll graduate, you’ll drive like her, you’ll find a good house to clean, and you’ll live like a queen.”
But she has rarely had such a good day. She was yelling at us for being lazy and wasting her life with us. My father often stood in front of the shop with my friends’ parents. And we, the kids, sat on benches outside the blocks after school, until dark or even longer. We would smoke cigarettes, and sometimes someone would order a few beers. Oh, every day. This was also the case that day. I was twelve years old, I recently returned from school after school, and I was looking forward to the next summer vacation. I was sitting with a group of my friends: Stick, Jerry, and Angela. We didn’t talk much, the topics were running out at the moment, so I stared blankly at the clouds. Suddenly Stick’s angry voice:
– Run, you are not from here!
I turned around and saw a girl who looked like those actresses on TV. She had curly red hair and glasses. She was wearing a long blouse and skirt, lots of bracelets, necklaces, and dried lemon earrings. She smiled happily, feeling a bit ashamed of Stick, but the girl didn’t look offended:
– Hey, take it easy. I just want to tell you that here, in this block of flats, a place is created where you can sit, sit and talk. Drink tea as you like.
We looked at each other
– What is this place? Jerry finally asked.
She replied: “Lighthouse”.
We burst out laughing in unison.
“Go find some first-rate statues!” Angela snorted disdainfully.
“Can you come in though?”
“Get out of here, get out, get out!” Sticky back, still in a bad mood recently. – I don’t want to go to any nursing home, the old man is leaving prison today…
I thought the girl would be afraid of such children from good homes, but no. She looked as relaxed as before. I think that’s when I fell in love with her.
“Oh, it’s coming out…” She nodded. “You don’t seem to be jumping for joy.” If you want, we can talk about that, too. We can talk about everything. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have such an old one, do you?
“Well…not really,” Stick admitted.
Then the conversation took off on its own. In the end, the girl gave us the address of the common room that was set up and told us to ask for “Mrs. Asia”.
We got there without a problem
The biggest problem was not getting to the place, but hacking to look there at all. However, these few rooms in the building were enough, and no one knew when she became “our place”, and Mrs. Asya became something like an older sister or friend. She listened to us, gave us advice, laughed with us and helped us with our homework. Just like a few others the foundation has hired as street workers working with young people from difficult backgrounds. But the one I remember best is Asia. She really cared for us and I felt that way. When my friend Ella found out that she and her six siblings wanted to take her to an orphanage, the first person I called was Asia. I went to middle school, of course to the county class, because with grades like mine, I had no chance of getting other grades.
“Kinga, why don’t you study, huh?” Asya asked me one day.
“What is it used for?” I snored. – Being a nerd? They come to us after school. He wears glasses, with a nose in notebooks, if you stumble upon such a person, he will fall apart.
She reminded me: “I have glasses, too.”
I was a little embarrassed by those words, but shrugged my shoulders.
– crap. I will finish school and leave.
– where? she asked.
– to Germany. – You must know the language. – It’s for England. There are so many Poles there that English people have to learn Polish.
– Maybe so. But languages are worth learning. Because you have to have something on your mind, you know? You’re well groomed, you dye your hair, you do your make-up and nails too, you won’t go out in any rags, and what’s your head? It also requires practice, effort and care. Like everything.
No one has ever spoken to me like this before. At school, the teachers shouted over and over again, “You learn by yourself,” but who would listen to them there, who would believe them. I always thought it was blah blah blah, just plain poisoning, because it’s appropriate for a teacher to speak like that. However, Asya’s words moved with a flutter in my head, and I opened them, although I had not yet begun to work on myself. And only when Asya brought a stack of some magazines into the common room. They looked old.
– What is it? – I asked.
– “Filipino.” There was a magazine like this she replied with a smile.
– What is this for?
– for you. You will read it all.
– I? No way! Screamed.
– Yes Yes. There are a lot of articles about what a girl should know. About menstruation, contraception, love. But not only about that. You will read about babysitters or volunteers in Africa. People do all kinds of fun things. And then when you read it, you’ll call all of our girls, Ella, Angela, and Carolina and we’ll have a girl meet-up. Tell them what you’ve read. an agreement?
I was tempted, but it wasn’t my style, so I exclaimed:
– I will not read this nonsense!
Asya looked at me carefully and left without a word. I left the magazines. After a while, probably not wanting to disappoint her, I started reading.
I got into these texts!
When she returned, she asked:
“I am supposed to talk about it?”
– This is it. We’ll sit in a circle and tell you.
The meeting took place. We talked about baby stuffAbout men and more, and I felt something changed in my life. When we finished, I confided:
“It’s fun to teach others. I didn’t even think about it. How about teaching people everything a girl needs to know? But not like a catechist, but differently. Well, you know what it is…
– I know. You can become a teacher. or a doctor. whatever you want.
– I? I can? seriously? –
why not? Just don’t apologize: you have to study. Pass the high school exams, then the final exams for high school, and then go to college.
It was then that I first thought that this colorful world of television is not only on the screen. That there are people who make a living differently than janitors. I can too. I have already begun to study, although my parents did not like it very much. My dad doesn’t want me to waste my time in high schoolHe treated his studies as pure whim. Then Asia stepped in. I invited my mother and father to tea and explained at length that I was gifted and that some money should be set aside to buy books for me. They were persuaded, although Dad was not happy.
It wasn’t easy for me
Even though I attended a good high school, years of neglect haunted me nonstop. And then I didn’t know what book or movie everyone was talking about, and it turns out that education is also a theater, a philharmonic, a museum … places I’ve never been. My path and Asia gradually diverged. First, I did not have time to come to the common room, and then Asya changed her job and left for another city. disconnected. I only got to renew it in college, thanks to Facebook. I found out that she got married and had a son. I took advantage of my free time, and went to her then. How happy she was to see me! She hugged me and kissed me. I asked about my studies and life plans.
“I don’t know yet,” I indicated, as in the old days. I have so many ideas…
– I am sure that you will succeed, I always believed in you, – Asya admitted, and I knew that she was sincere, because after all it was her and her faith in me that changed my life.
– I didn’t thank you properly.
– There is no need for that. Just when you get the chance…let it go. OK?
On the way back, I thought about her words. When I got home, I opened the internet and looked up the phone number of the nearest daycare center. Perhaps they will have vacancies for volunteers …
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