|Rough Beginnings to Smooth Endings|
|A Few Words to Read|
|Different events in a person's life shape the way they think and act, but there are defining moments that just stay with you more than others. In my case, I had to ride through a few bumpy roads before I hit the smooth cruising highways leading to my future. The three vignettes and video on this web page are defining moments in my life. If someone were to ever walk up to me and asked "why are you, the way you are?" these three stories would be my answer.|
I stared up at my white ceiling, thinking about when he’d be home, wondering if he was okay, and hoping he was alive. I knew I couldn’t sleep until he gave me a hug goodnight. Suddenly, I heard the front door smash open, I leaped out of my bed and ran down the hall. I knew I had to get to him before my mother or else the yelling would begin. If I was there my mother would not yell for my sake. I saw him by the door, teetering back and forth, barely able to stand, his eyes droopy. I ran up to hug him, I mean what else could I do? I was daddy’s little girl.
There were countless moments in my life where this was the norm situation, it was usually followed by helping my father take his shoes off, giving him some kind of food and saying good night. Apart from all of that, my dad has and will continue to be my hero. He has always taken care of his family, puts us first, he works hard every day and I know that he loves me more than I can ever imagine. He has always strived to get my sister and me everything we have ever wanted. “Haz lo que necesitas hacer para familia, siempre son lo más importante en la vida”, do what you need to do for the family they are the most important thing in life, he’d always tell me. You would think it would be common sense right? Yet in my father’s childhood, it was never seen that way, he grew up in a very hard and cold environment. It is not an excuse for his problem but it does reveal the reasoning behind it.
I guess my favorite memory of my father is not one I specifically remember, but one I was told that happened. My mom always used to tell me the story when I was younger, while we were waiting for him to get home. See my parents were not married till I was one. Although even before I was conceived my father would continuously ask my mother to marry him, but she would always say no. Then I came into the picture, but my mother would still say no to any marriage proposal because she wanted to keep me all to herself. My father would call her day and night just asking about how I was doing. He would beg her to at least live with him if she did not want to marry him, but his words were in vain. The day after I was born my mother called him to tell him the news; she said he could come over to meet me for the first time. So the very next day, bright and early, he was at my mother's front door. My mother says the first time he held me in his arms I grabbed his thumb and would not let go. He cried and told my mother she could not deny him the chance to watch his daughter grow up. That was that, she moved in with him and they were married soon after.
Sometimes as soon as my mother finished telling me the story, my father would come home. She would tell me to stay in the room because the grown-ups were going to talk. As I would sit there alone I would hear my mother yell “You always told me you wanted to watch your daughter grow up, well at this rate you will not make it to her tenth birthday.” I would usually come out of the room with tears stinging my eyes, rushing towards my father, yelling at my mom to stop yelling at him and telling her that he’d be good. The yelling would stop but the sadness would still loom in the air till the next morning.
Alcoholism. That is the word everyone in family refuses to use, we refuse to label it. My mother often says “It is just a problem, like that time we broke the refrigerator, it can be fixed.” Yes, it can be helped and it can be fixed, but not in the same essence that a refrigerator can. Still, no matter the circumstance my father is still a great man, my hero, and no matter what happens the good memories are always the ones I hold on to.
8:05 AM, well that's five minutes late to my first-period class might as well not go and hey while I'm at it I shouldn't go to my second-period class, they don't take attendance till third anyway. All of my sophomore year entering my junior year this was my everyday mindset. I had failed my first class sophomore year, well three actually. Then entering junior year the same never ending cycle began again.
9:30 am I had just left my usual coffee spot. I was contemplating whether I should even go to third anyway when I heard someone behind me yell out "Hey, what are you doing out so late?" I had recognized the voice it was some guy I met yesterday during my lunch period but I did not turn around. Surprisingly, I felt ashamed that he had found me skipping class, I had been doing it for over a year but I had never really felt ashamed. Yet as I heard him call my name again I filled up with guilt and regret for not being in class.
He walked up to me still, "Hey, it's almost third period you should probably start going in, come on I'll walk you." I remember asking myself, why do you care? Who are you to make me feel ashamed of what I am doing? Suddenly the shame turned to bitterness in my mouth. I hated the feeling of regret and for some reason the regret I had hidden for the past year started to bubble up to the surface. I really did not want to go to class, somehow I was able to convince him to cut class with me in the lunch room. We sat down, he was worried we would get caught by a dean but I knew the lunch room was the safest place to skip class in. I felt even more terrible because I knew that. We sat there in silence at first, then he asked me what maybe to him seemed like a simple question, but to me I had been contemplating the answer to for months, "so, why are you skipping class?"
I sat there just staring at him blankly. I went to open my mouth to say something but nothing came out. I tried again and this time, it was as if I had verbal diarrhea. I could not stop it, I told him everything. He just sat there silently listening, on occasion nodding but with the most understanding and sincere eyes, I had ever seen.
In those 45 minutes, I don't think I have ever spoken more honestly to a person in my life. Something about him made me feel as if it was okay to admit that I was not okay. At the same time in my head I kept telling myself, he is just some random person why on earth am I telling him all of this. The bell rang, he left but not before telling me "I'll wait for you by the train tomorrow before first period, you are going to class."
Months had passed, my teachers had finally learned my name, and my grades had shot up. I began to have dreams of going to college, maybe going back to my goal of becoming a lawyer. That one day in the lunch room had changed so much in my life. That random guy who I barely knew came to be my best friend. Although my first years of high school were a hot mess, that last were not. I had found someone who I could talk to. We backed each other up when we needed support, something we both did not have beforehand. We have never left each other's side since then. I can even say he's one of the few people I know that I can completely trust.
Who knows where I'd be right now if I would have decided that morning to stay in the coffee place just a few minutes longer. What I do know for sure is that the spring day where I had been able to open my acceptance to John Jay, would have never happened. I know I would have never gotten to know my best friend.
“You, have not taken math in two years, technically more if you want to count the days you would skip math class, how in the hell do you expect to pass this math test?” I murmured to myself as I walked into the new building at John Jay College. The security guard gave me a weird and frightened look; I could almost hear his inner thoughts saying how creepy I was for talking to myself. I signed the visitor's log and continued to walk in, a sense of excitement and fear swept over me as I walked further. I had actually made it to college I told myself and I couldn't believe it. So many ideas started running through my head and just as many questions. I walked into my math placement room, I was asked to sign in so I used the pen in my hand...wait a minute, I stopped mid signature and stared at the pen. Only to realize I had accidentally stolen the security guards pen. I laughed to myself, a very awkward half scared to laugh, and very loudly said “Great start to your criminal justice career Magdalena.” I am sure the proctor thought I was weird too.
Looking back at it now, I think I over-reacted just a tad bit about the whole pen situation, my mother still makes fun of me for it. Since then I feel like I have actually made a pretty smooth transition into college life. I started out knowing full well that this would be nothing like high school, that there is no time to fool around, and everything from this point on will either hurt or help me in the future. With that mentality, I am almost sure I will not do that bad in college. I made some clear cut goals from the beginning, and number one on my list is to finish college by 2018 no matter what, then after that I am hoping law school.
So far in college, the number one thing that has surprised me is the reading. They tell you in high school that college is all about reading. I just never expected it to be this much, every class requires a good maybe two hours a night of reading, I am just glad I spread out my schedule so I would only have two classes a day. At the beginning, I thought hey going to school and working will be just as simple as when I was in high school, boy was I wrong. I absolutely despised the days I had to work, because I know very well that when I get home I have a pile of papers of work waiting for me.
So the final question of the day, what now? There is no real answer to it, I do not know what my future will hold, and all I know is what is happening now and what I want to happen in the future. I know that as of now, I am the first person in my family to go to college, I know I have a lot of people counting on me, and I know that I have yet to fail a class. Now, what I want is to be the first person in my family to graduate college, to not let down any of the people counting on me, and to not fail a single class in the next four years. With all that said and done, cheers to many more late nights ahead.