Speak Up

Speak Up

A Story by Yari Garcia (Older Profile)

Bailey is painfully shy. "Huh?" is the word she hears most often. But today she must make the choice of speaking up for the first time.

Speak Up

    Bailey hated this bit of her part-time job.  She found herself, yet again, standing there in front of an older man.  “HUH?” he asked loudly, thick brows furrowed and leaning his head to the side as if trying to put out his good ear.

    “I said what flavor--”


    Bailey tried to speak up, “I said, what flavor would you like?”

    The older man looked at her like she’d just been rude.  Was she? She didn’t mean to be.  She was only trying to raise her voice so that he could hear her.  She wasn’t trying to get an…

    “Got a’ ah’ttitude?” he challenged.  He looked her up and down.  Bailey felt like he could see right through her stiff uniform, and she shifted her weight from one leg to the other. He finally said, “Chocolate.”

    Bailey didn’t say anything.  She just turned around and punched the chocolate button onto the cold machine.  She blinked back tears, turned back around, and said “That will be $2.50”

    “HUH? Speak up, GIRL!”

    “I said that would be--”

    “Here, here”, the man said as he impatiently shoved a 5 dollar bill towards her.  She grabbed the bill and made the transaction in silence.  He held out a calloused hand to receive his change, which he did while looking up and behind her at the menu.

    The cold machine beeped, so Bailey grabbed the cup and adjusted a bubbly top onto it.  She walked over to the man, smiled, and asked “Do you need a…”

    The man muttered and walked away.

    “…a spoon with that…” she finished to herself. 

    “I hate this”, Bailey mumbled under her breath, “It’s so not fair!”

    “You’ll do fine”, replied Anna.  Anna was her best friend, and apparently the only person in the world who could hear her without going “huh?” ten times.  They joked that it wasn’t because Bailey was speaking normally, but because Anna had supersonic hearing.

    “It’s not fair that part of our grade depends on how…” Bailey looked for a word to finish her sentence, “…how outspoken we are.”

    “You don’t have to be outspoken”, Anna replied, “Just go up there and read your paper and sit back down.  You can read out loud, can’t ya?”

    “Yeah, with Mrs. Nelly telling me to speak up every five seconds.”  Bailey decided she would be better off if she brought a megaphone.

    “You’ll be fine. I gotta go”, Anna replied quickly.  As she turned to hurry off to her classroom, she dropped her pink wallet.

    “Hey!,” Bailey called out, but no one heard her.  She looked down at the wallet and tried again.


    Just then another girl grabbed the wallet.  “Hey, Anna”, she called, and Anna immediately turned around.  “You dropped this.”

    “Thanks”, Anna said cheerfully as she took the wallet.

    The girl glanced back at Bailey with a scornful look.  Did she think Bailey was eyeing the wallet to keep it?  The girl rolled her eyes and walked away, leaving Bailey with an unsure feeling, like she truly had done something wrong.  

    The next day, Bailey sat on her desk, her heart beating in her throat, and self-conscious about her breath.  She hadn’t meant to puke earlier.  She was just nervous.  It was the day of the oral reports, and she was up next. 

    As Anna recited the last few paragraphs of her essay to the entire class, Bailey’s palms sweat.  She felt her ears grow hot, and her heart pounded out of control.  Stop it! she tried telling herself.  It’s not like you’re Katniss and this is the Reaping!  That didn’t help.  It’s not like you’re Harry Potter and…

    “Bailey, you’re up”, Mrs. Nelly said from her desk.  Mrs. Nelly had a weary look in her eye, and Bailey could almost see it coming. Bailey knew Mrs. Nelly was going to be like a snooze alarm going off every five minutes going “speak up! speak up! speak up!”

    Bailey grabbed her paper and made her way to the front of the class. On her way, her hip bumped against a chair which made a loud screeching cry against the floor as she pushed by.  Now her cheeks felt red-hot.  Some kids chuckled.  She could feel her hands shaking, but dared not look at them.  She didn’t want to see the spectacle she was making of herself.


    “Slow down”, Mrs. Nelly interrupted, “And speak up.”

    “The Gettysburg Address was written by Abraham Linco… Lincond…Lincan.”  She looked up briefly as she heard suppressed giggles.  “Um, he was born in 1909--”

    “No, he wasn’t”, some kid said.

    Bailey froze.  “He lived in a log--”

    “Bailey, he was born in 1809”, Mrs. Nelly corrected, not saying a word to the kid that had interrupted her, “Go on.  A little louder, please.”

    “He was born in 1909”, she caught herself.  I said it again!  “I mean, 1909.”

    “She’s stupid!” some girl whispered too loud.  

    That afternoon, Bailey stood at the bus stop, looking down at her no-brand sneakers, feeling like all eyes were on her.  When she looked up and around, no one was actually looking at her.  She just felt extremely embarrassed and dumb after the joke she had made of herself in history class. She kept stuttering, saying the wrong thing, and Mrs. Nelly kept on going like a repetitive .gif.  “Speak up, speak up, speak up”, she kept seeing Mrs. Nelly in her mind.

    A small gnat flew around her lips.  She smacked it a lot harder than she intended to. 

    Now she felt like everyone had really seen her.  She glanced up and around, her lip itching from the slap.  She noticed a brown car, not far from the bus stop, parked against the curb.  It was parked, but still running.  Inside, a man sat speaking to a boy who was on the sidewalk.  Bailey knew the boy couldn’t have been older than seven.

    “Well, that’s exactly the way I’m going.  If you hop on, I can give you a ride”, the man was saying.

    The small boy looked a little confused, but not too concerned.
    “But my mom says not to talk to strangers”, he feebly replied.

    “I’m not a stranger!” the man laughed warmly, “I’ll tell you what, to show you how friendly I am, we can stop by the ice cream shop.  Come on, let’s go.”

    The boy looked around, and took a step towards the car.

    “Hey! No! Step back!” Bailey demanded.  Everyone in the vicinity was startled out of their daily routines.  “Hey! Stranger Danger!” Bailey knew she sounded like an idiot, but she didn’t care.  She took long, determined strides towards the car.  She glanced at the young boy, “Hey, I study here, who is your teacher?” she asked in a calmer voice.  The boy immediately responded to her, alert but without fear.

    “I’m in Mrs. Toshie’s homeroom”, he said to Bailey, stepping away from the car and towards her.  The man in the car looked uneasy, and he put his car in drive.

    “You should go back to Mrs. Toshie’s classroom, sweetie”, Bailey said, and the boy did as he was told without flinching.

    By then, Bailey had spoken loud enough so that everyone had their attention on the situation, and the man in the car coughed and sped away.    

    When the police were questioning Bailey about what happened, she never mixed up her facts, never stuttered, never felt embarrassed.

    And no one ever asked “huh?”


© 2017 Yari Garcia (Older Profile)

Author's Note

Yari Garcia (Older Profile)
Honest feedback is welcomed :-) Positive? Negative? Doesn't matter~ tell me what you think ^.^

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i love how she totally changed at the end
Great writing :D

Posted 6 Years Ago

Yari Garcia (Older Profile)

6 Years Ago

Thank you :-)
Dear Yaritza Garcia (aka Moody Thursday),

I just saw this and it drew my attention. The idea was indeed very good and I loved the main character. U know, it's a lot like me. I don't talk right unless it serves a purpose either to encourage or discourage. I prefer to encourage. Ha, in the light of justice, she is speaking with truth. Awesome read!

Sincerely Livana Lowell (LL)

God bless

Posted 6 Years Ago

Yari Garcia (Older Profile)

6 Years Ago

I'm glad you liked it, thanks so much :-)
i love ittt ...amazing

Posted 6 Years Ago

Thanks, GunMetal. Yeah, I thought that part was corny too, but like you said, it's something she would say because she's so awkward :-p Thanks again for reading!

Posted 6 Years Ago

By the time I finished reading the second segment, I knew I already liked this a lot. The concept is so elegant. The way you wrote about her not being heard was almost supernatural but I know there are people who appreciate and relate to her character. I felt a deep sympathy for her from the way you presented her thoughts to me. It's fantastic that when it really mattered, she was able to be heard. Though I've always felt like the term "stranger danger" was just too cheesy to be taken seriously as a warning, I found it believable that that was what she'd actually say. Seriously good stuff here.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on June 1, 2012
Last Updated on June 12, 2017
Tags: speak, shy, speak up, introverted


Yari Garcia (Older Profile)
Yari Garcia (Older Profile)

Denver, CO

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