By: Akari Davidson
1st Place Winner, 2011
Grades 4-6 Division
Janney Elementary School, 5th grade
Teacher: Ms. Jaclyn Seward
Sometimes, even though you think you can handle it by yourself, you may need someone’s help. I learned this the hard way the summer I was 6 and attended a public school in Tokyo, Japan. There, kids walk to and from school by themselves. I envied my friends’ freedom. I begged y mom and finally, she gave in. She said my sister and I could walk home without her. I was thrilled!
As the school day dragged on, I got more and more excited. I proudly told my friends, “I’m walking with you today!”
“Ding Dong Dang Dong,” the end-of-day bell echoed in my ears as I ran to catch up with my friends. My sister, Sumika, spotted me and asked, Are you ready to walk home, Akari?” What was she talking about? I was sure that Mommy had said I could walk home with my friends. I didn’t need my big sister’s help.
“No,” I told her. “I’m old enough! I’m going to walk home without you!”
“Mommy told you to walk with me,” Sumika said calmly. I knew that I was right and she was wrong, and I turned to leave without her. I won’t let her stop me, I thought. But she followed me, so I ran. I ran until my feet hurt and my shoe flew off in the middle of a busy street. Sumika was screaming now but I didn’t care! I was free! No one could stop me!
As I reached the other side of the street, Sumika caught up and tried to grab me. I remembered what I had learned the previous week about fires. When you’re in trouble, stop drop, and roll. And so I did. I rolled all over the sidewalk as Sumika tried to pull me up. There was litter everywhere, but I didn’t care. Homeless people stared but I didn’t care. I was free! No one could stop me!
Sumika gave up. She ran into the closest building and called home. A woman passing by tried to get me up, but I refused. “Akari the unstoppable” headlines flashed in my mind and I rolled faster. Then, Mommy came. She was furious! I got up and hung my head in shame.
After long lectures and longer time-outs, I learned my lesson. You can be grown up—and be free—and it’s OK to accept help from someone who loves you.