"SaY" it with a story: Vitiligo
"I'll think about it, Mr Lesner."
"What's up with you, Will? I mean, you've fought cases for serial killers, won them, and not batted an eyelid. How come you decided to become a good Samaritan now? I mean, i just emotionally and mentally tortured someone with vitiligo into commiting suicide. Okay, I heard what I said, it sounds bad, but it's no biggie. And you'll get $3billion for this."
"I said I'll think about it- that's the most your getting from me now."
"Okay, Will, see you tomorrow." "Bye."
"Anymore meetings today?" I asked my very efficient p.a., Charlotte.
"No, sir." "In that case, request the chauffeur to drop me off home, would you, and then he can take the rest of the day off."
I got off the elevator and fumbled for the keys to my penthouse apartment on 432 Park Avenue, NYC. I walked into a house smelling of rotten pizza. I must've forgotten to throw the pizza box away. I walked into my bedroom to change out of my stuffy suit into something more comfortable.
I opened my cupboard to pull out a t-shirt when a fading Polaroid fell on the floor. I bent down to pick it up when I saw that it was a photo of my little sister, Elizabeth, taken the day before she died. I hugged the photo close and flopped down on my bed. Elizabeth was the reason I was reluctant to take this case.
She was born with vitiligo and was bullied because of this her whole life. Once, when she was in the third grade the teacher asked them to tell everyone what they wanted to be when they grew up. When Elizabeth's turn came she said that she wanted to be a doctor. One child in her class said to her, "You'll never become a doctor because the patients will see your face and run away."
Lizzie, not one to cry in public ignored him and sat down. But when she came home that day she burst into tears and asked me whether she was ugly. I said definitely not, she was beautiful.
Then she told me what happened in school. I offered to talk to the principal about this but she said no. This bullying and taunting went on all the way till she was in medical school. She was bullied even there.
Once when we were home for Christmas, Lizzie had to attend a Christmas party. She requested me to go with her because some of the people who bullied her the most were at that party too.
I told her that I had my interview for Goodwin Procter that day and that I wouldn't be able to reschedule it.
I said that she'd be fine. Then I slipped into my brand new suit, said bye to her and left for my interview.
She wished me luck. I hugged her. Little did I know that it would be the last time I ever saw her.
My interview was great- I got the job and got 50 grand as a signing bonus. I rushed home to tell my family the news, guessing that Lizzie would be home by then and would rush out to greet me and I was partially correct. But there was a little difference I had wanted a living Lizzie to greet me but instead I was greeted by her dead body. I flopped down on my bed and was too shocked to even cry.
Now I'm the international head of GoodwinProcter and have made a couple of billion dollars, but I'd give all of this up if I got Elizabeth back.
I reached for my phone and dialled Ryder Learner's number. "Hello, Mr Lesner. I'm sorry but I won't be able to fight this case for you."
Neerja Desai is a 12 year old student. She studies at Dhirubhai Ambani International School. Neerja is an avid reader with an interest in classical English literature, history and law. She is deeply passionate about equal rights, fairness and justice and hence aspires to pursue a career in law with the hope of positively impacting the world.