It’s May 18th, 2022. I’m poised, alone, heart pounding, in front of my laptop, waiting for courage, my finger hovering over the return key, like a child hoping the timing of my keystroke will bring me luck.
I took this summer off - which drove my mom absolutely CrAzY. “You CAN’T!” she’d said last month, only to be overruled by my Grandmère. Now I’m home for summer break and tonight she’s flush with exasperation.
“You should have applied for a dean’s fellowship,” she said, her voice rising as she rubs her hands together, as if scrubbing for an operating room procedure, “and a summer research position!” She’s practically twirling with suppressed emotion.
I get why she’s upset. She only goes “deep end” when she's worried about my future. She knows what’s needed to get a medical school slot in 2025 like other moms know their favorite recipe - after all, she’s done this twice before.
Leong’s upstairs, avoiding this family scene. When I described my family expectations as “hustle culture,” to my roommates, they all understood - we’re that much alike.
Step (my stepfather) is trying to de-escalate and calm us (her) down. “Look,” he says, holding up his hands like someone talking down a gunman, “NEXT summer she’ll buckle down, get in more volunteer hours and get a dean’s research fellowship” he says, sliding his eyes to me. I nod “ok” almost imperceptibly. “It’s ok to start grinding sophomore year - that’s what I did.”
OOOO! She turned to him and if looks could ****, he would have exploded like someone in a Tarantino movie.
By some psychic grace my Grandmère chose that moment to call. Step and I fled the den like it were on fire, going our separate ways to halve the chance of being followed.
In my dark room, lit only by the light of my MacBook, a quiver runs through me, and I finally press return. My grades for Spring semester - and Freshman year come up. My eyes water and I relax back against my chair when I see “Dean's List.”
I smile to myself, and slowly, fiercely I clench my fist with a “YESS!" As I postulate my victorious reprieve.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Postulate: “assume an idea.”