An Effort To Question This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was the half hour right before dinner, when the kitchen was warm and close with the heat of the oven and the inviting smells of wild rice and sweet ham, and only one fourth of my homework had been completed. I had come downstairs with a grumbling stomach in the hope that dinner would be ready, and now I sat in a large kitchen chair, ravenous, waiting.

My mother, who had changed from her office dress of tailored skirt and champagne blouse, now moved expertly about the small room in comfortable gray sweat pants and sweater. She had only been home for a half hour.

"How was your day?" She leaned against the sink's white edge.

As always, I shrugged at the question. "Like any other."

"What about math?" my mother dutifully inquired. For years she had lived with my endless complaints about mathematics - from long division to the quadratic formula.

I fiddled with my hair. "I don't see how we're ever going to use geometry in our lives."

"You'll thank Mr. Lindy when you want to renovate your kitchen," was her reply. "Is English class still boring?"

I rolled my eyes in despair. "Only when Eric Mullen takes the whole forty minutes to go on and on about all his fabulous ideas, all of which the teacher loves."

"Well, what's wrong with that?"

"He's the perfect intellect," I informed her, my voice growing slightly edgy, something that happened as physical exhaustion inched its way over my body and sleepiness taunted my eyelids. "And he knows it. He's got a gigantic ego."

My mother was wearing this understanding expression. "Maybe he doesn't have many friends."

Her excuse for everyone. I felt no pity. "Oh...did you get me those notebooks I needed?"

She threw me a knowing look. "What do you think? Of course I did." A large yawn escaped her lips. "I looked in four drugstores before finding the exact ones you wanted.... Have you started your homework?"

"Yeah, yeah. When's dinner?" I clutched my stomach in mounting hunger.

She walked over to the stove, where the mixed vegetable concoction had begun to boil. "Not for another twenty minutes."

"How come it's so late tonight?"

She opened the oven door a crack, peered in at the roasting ham, and closed it gently. "I just got home, remember? I was running around, looking for those notebooks you so desperately needed." Stirring the steaming rice, she added, "Why don't you go work and I'll call you when it's ready? You need every minute of studying you can get."

I hated to be pestered. "Thanks a lot." I despised it.

"You're welcome," my mother called cheerfully at my back as I left.

I was on the stairs, in the process of retreating to my bedroom where a stacked pile of books and assignments awaited me, dreading the next few hours of academic misery, when I realized that I had neglected to ask my mother how her day had been. n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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fallen_dreams said...
Nov. 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm

this is very good. and very true. we often don't ask our parents how their day went, since we are wrapped up in our own life.

we really do need to ask that question more often though. keep writing, i enjoyed this :)

 
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