Something to be Proud Of

Keyanna hurried out of the house, she practically ran down the long driveway away from the big house. She was beyond angry and hurt. How could he just sit there silently and let that happen? Let his father say those things to her? Not say or do anything? She hadn’t expected to him to argue with his dad or anything but she was completely surprised to see that he was a different person this afternoon.
She could hear him calling after her but she wasn’t in the mood for him to stop her. She was leaving. “Wait Keyanna! Would you slow down?”
“No!” Andre caught up with her, reached out grabbing her arm to stop her escape. “Get off me.” He held her firm.
“What is going on with you? Why did you freak out like that?” Her eyes widened in surprise at his ignorance. He was sitting right there. She snatched her arm out of his grasp, he released a sigh and let his arm drop to his side. Keyanna fought hard to not cry or to yell at him. It took everything in her not to break down in front of him.
“Why didn’t you say anything? I mean, I wasn’t expecting you to fall out with your dad over me or anything but you just sat there, drinking your tea, freaking out over the fact that your snobbish ex-girlfriend was sitting there and just let them bash me and my family.”
Andre scratched his head not understanding why she was being so emotional. He told her on the way over, that his parents could be a lot, his father especially. Cherise was a different thing entirely. There was no way he could have known she would be there. He hadn’t talked to her in at least a year, they went to different schools now. He couldn’t help their parents were close.
“I wasn’t freaking out over Cherise. She was just there, I didn’t know she would come but it’s fine. There’s nothing going on between us.” He reached out and grabbed her hands, squeezing them gently. Trying to reassure her. Keyanna shook her head and tried to pull away, but Andre tried to keep her steady. “Don’t pull–“
“Andre… listen to me okay? You don’t tell me about your life, I’m completely blindsided by your family. I mean, you have white parents, a sister and a puerto rican brother. I really wish you would have trusted me enough to tell me beforehand.” She pulled away completely, trying to not to yell at him for something she couldn’t control. “My problem is that you invited me, you act weird the entire time, you barely talk to me, you looked like you wanted to jump out of your skin when Cherise sat next to us on the couch and you said nothing when they laughed about how my family is mediocre.”
“You’re family isn’t mediocre, they didn’t say that.”
“What does your father do Keyanna? Oh? He runs a non profit? What about your mother? Oh, a teacher and she volunteers at a women’s shelter, what for?” Keyanna made a show to imitate the condescending words and the sneers from Andre and Cherise’s parents. Mrs. Butler was kind, she didn’t say much. “Your mom doesn’t even know me and she stood up for me more than you did. Then he called me ghetto…”
Andre chuckled shaking his head. “I think you’re blowing this out of proportion. It also didn’t help that you blew up at them like that. It was embarassing.”
Keyanna just stared at him. Was she being overdramatic? Should she have not stood up for herself and her parents? She may have run out of there, but she didn’t leave without saying her piece. No one talked about the good things her parents do. Sure, they may not be able to have an unnecessarily large house, or drive the newest cars, but they love what they do. Her father loves his organization, he loves helping young boys become men, he loves being involved in the community. Her mother loved teaching math, Keyanna never understood because math just wasn’t her thing, but her mother loved it and she loved volunteering.
“Maybe, maybe not. My parents are good people, they may not be perfect but they try to do what they can for those who can’t. My mom can’t sit at home and paint because she doesn’t have to or want to go to work. My dad gives encouragement and a safe haven to boys when they can’t find it anywhere else. That’s something to be proud of.” She turned but before walking completely away she said one more thing. “You need to find out what to be proud of because you don’t even seem to know who you are.”
Andre watched her walk away. From being around her these past few months, he understood her character, her strength, he resolve, kindness, stubbornness and temper. She seemed to know all of that about herself and it drove him crazy. They were still so young. How could she possibly know who she is already and what she wants when he barely knew what topic he wanted to argue for Debate class tomorrow. With a sigh, he moved to follow her, he couldn’t let her leave without her knowing how to get back.
“Andre?” He turned and there stood Cherise, long legs, dark skin, long hair that she kept wavy. His stomach started to twist and turn again, as it always did when she was around. “Your father sent me out here to get you. Has she left?”
“Yes, can you tell him I’m going to take her home?” Those long legs moved towards him, Andre held his breath as she grew closer, he could smell her body wash from where he stood.
“Don’t worry about her, I’m sure she’ll be fine. People like her always find their way. Come on.” She slipped her hand in his and led him back towards the house, Andre too busy following those legs that he didn’t remember to look over his shoulder again.

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