One day I will make you proud. I promise.
You will wake up one day and see me successful and happy – just how you wanted me to be. I may not be a nurse by profession. I know you’ve always dreamed of seeing me in my scrubs, dapper and professional, attending to the sick. I remember the look in your eyes when I got in my first nursing gig – a lot was going on inside your head but the relief overpowered everything else. That sense of reprieve meant so much to you because after almost two years of getting lost, your eldest daughter found her way back to where she’s supposed to be.
It was tough; I don’t even know how I got out of it alive. A year passed but it felt like two. Two years passed but felt like a decade. You witnessed how I was enslaved by my job: my joints hurt, my bank account almost did not exist, and my precious time spent in bed, catching up on sleep. I have missed family gatherings one after the other. I tried my hardest not to self pity but you saw it anyway. Every working day was treated like the bane of my existence. I hated mornings and afternoons. I hated long train rides. I hated the people riding with me on the train. I hated my job. I hated my life.
The longer I stayed, the more lost I got. I began to question myself. Why did I have to leave my former job? It was hasty, one day I decided to not show up and they never heard from me ever again. I was unhappy, yes. I didn’t have weekends off, the working hours burnt me out, the job made me want to hang myself. But, my compensation was enough to buy me all the books I wanted, to see all the movies I wanted to see, to eat the food I could never afford today.
Yet, I quit. I fulfilled a dream I never dreamed. I put my maturity dress on and faced each day with longing for my shift to end. You were all glad. I made the right choice, you said. Inside I shrugged and submitted because what do I know? Twenty years old and I still did not know what to do with my life. An adult with no direction. An adult pretending to know what she was doing.
But you see, life is full of potential. I once read somewhere that I could be anything I want to be. I didn’t know this before but I am sure of it now, I want to study literature. You know how much I fancy reading. I could read all day and still feel like reading some more. I finish one book and in a while you see me getting another from the stack of books I hoarded. It’s ridiculous but I can see myself as I librarian albeit not being organized at all. Perhaps I can leave that task to the volunteers. But this is what I foresee myself – in granny dresses, with thick-rimmed glasses, buried under dusty books from all over the world. Had I known this when I was in high school, I wouldn’t be much of a burden now.
Would you even let me?
As much as I’d like to study now, I couldn’t. I fear that it’s too late to go back to school and study what I want. But most importantly, I am poor as a rat and there’s no way in seven hells that I can afford all the time in the world to work while studying.
Maybe someday money will eventually grow on trees. We’d plant it in tiny pots and put the pots in our rooftop where they can grow as tall as they please. We’d take care of them like we do with our oregano and kalachuchi; cover them when it rains, water them every day, and harvest the fruit they bear.
Yes, someday I will make you proud, I promise. With or without money growing on trees. I may not be Gatsby-rich but I will have enough to travel the world and have a house with a beautiful porch where we can drink tea and read short story collections. Someday, I will make you proud. I promise.