My bookbag weighed a ton. I remember walking up the three flights of stairs in middle school to get to the third floor, which is where I had all my classes. What made my back hurt was that dumb book, The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan which had so many pages. It was part of some greek mythology novel which was part of a bigger series, The Heroes of Olympus. I would read them all the time during lunch, recess and even in my own classes. I would find any way to read that book but today was different. I came to school with that book ready to read it when I went into my math class and saw the lesson up on the smartboard. For the first time in probably all of my school life, I didn’t understand what the lesson was about. I saw a bunch of numbers and letters but I had to ask my friend Eduardo what they were about.
“They’re systems of equations Xavi” he’d say.
Of course, if I had been paying attention I would have known what that was. I was in eighth grade, so taking algebra in middle school wasn’t something every kid did but still I understood most of the lessons because math was always my strong suit. For the first time in months, instead of putting my Heroes of Olympus book in my desk like I usually do, I left it in my bag. A sense of nervousness and anxiety filled me because never in my life would I think I couldn’t understand math. It took me about a week and a lot of help from Eduardo to be able to understand what was going on in class. Once I got caught up in math though, I returned to my bad habit of reading that book everywhere. My mom would love that I was reading all the time.
“That’s good for your brain mijo” she’d say.
When my report card came out with all my grades though, it was a completely different story. My mom couldn’t even look at me in the eye and I couldn’t give her a valid excuse as to why those grades were so low. I knew she was disappointed in me and it was one of the worst feelings in the world as a child. I slowly realized that the book was doing me no good. The next day, I went to talk to Mr.Fernandez, my math teacher. He said my test grades were low and I barely paid attention in class. When I told my mom about this, she would then proceed to blame me and the books.
“It’s all because of those dumb books that you carry around and read everywhere” she said.
She went on to tell me to just throw the books out because they would just collect dust in my room. I was so confused because everyone told me that reading all these books was good for me and that I would grow up with a healthy mind and imagination. I didn’t realize that I was growing up and some priorities had to be set straight. School always came first which meant my grades and everything related to my future was to come first. I associated books and reading with school so I just assumed I was doing nothing wrong when I spent hours reading those fiction books. I told myself I needed a little self control and that school and my grades should come first. And they did.
That was my eighth grade, and I ended the school year with grades that not only satisfied myself, but my parents too. Putting the books away taught me to have patience with myself and that in a way ,since I was young, I have time for everything in the world. The books were good for me as it opened up my mind to fictional universes and gave me an interest in fiction and sci-fi novels. Reading is a luxury to me now and if it wasn’t for these books, I would probably have no interest in reading nowadays. Those books are probably still somewhere under my bed collecting dust as most old books do.