The American Tragedy

December 23, 2011
Flipping through her paper work, she looked up at the heap of files tumbling over on her desk, and gave a huge deep heavy sigh. She knew tonight would be an extremely late work night, with all the files and paper work shed been given. Her eyes were droopy and sleepy, the bags under her eyes now luminescent purple and puffy from the lack of sleep; she looked over worked. The only thing holding her together was the three shots of espresso in her coffee. Her eyes were beginning to drift, the words on the paper becoming blurry, when she was awoken by a sudden ring from her phone. She picked up the phone to be greeted by a raspy old woman’s voice, “Hello is this Mrs. Jennifer Hemand?”She recognized the voice almost immediately; it was a voice she’d hear well too often. “This is Principal Dempsey, from Lexington Elementary.”
“Yes this is Jenifer Hemand, is something wrong?” she asked.
“I called to let you know that your daughter, Andria is still at the school and needs to be picked up.”
A sudden feeling of anger came over her, “My husband was supposed to pick her up, but I guess I’ll be right over then.” She informed her boss that she had a family emergency to tend to and would be right back as soon as she could.
She stormed into the room her heals thrashing into the floors surface like thunder as a enraged expression raised from her,

“I can’t believe you forgot her!” she yelled.

“I didn’t forget her. I just lost track of time” her husband, Scott stated.
She didn’t even notice her daughter tugged on her sweater making it slowly slide off her shoulder, “Mommy, can I have a juice box?” She was too busy yelling at Scott, like usual.

“You did forget her! Losing track of time and forgetting are the same thing.”

“They are totally different things. I didn’t forget her, I was fifteen minutes late to pick her up” He said taking a deep breath, trying not to get frustrated. Her daughter still standing impatient that she was wasn’t being heard, yanked even harder on her mother’s sweater,

“Mom, I want juice!” But she still went unheard.

“I don’t know why I put you in charge of things. You obviously can’t handle it” She angrily yelled, slamming things around on the counter.

“I can handle it. You’re just overreacting.”

“MOM! GIVE ME JUICE!” the little girl screamed as she violently stomped her feet to get attention.

“Honey what do you want? You need to use your words and ask nicely.” She looked down to see the disappointment come over her daughters face and then immediately dash for her room.


Yet another week has passed. I feel like everything I have worked my whole life for is crumbling. Ever since I lost my job as a publisher at the Economist, everything has been in complete shambles. Jennifer has had to pick up overtime at her firm, to pick up the slack. It is just tearing me apart that I am unable to provide for my family. I’m the man, that’s my job. I slowly watch my wife disconnect herself from me, I feel like the once firm grip I had to keep my family together is slowly slipping from my finger tips, and I’m watching it happen but can’t grab back on. I feel like a failure. I have failed. As a husband. As a father. I am the one who is supposed to support them financially and emotionally-but I can’t. If I can’t be the provider and supporter, what good am I?

I was job searching every day, but after having door after door slammed in my face; we’re not hiring, you’re too qualified, you’re under qualified. It really takes a toll. Sometimes at night when I’m laying in bed staring at the ceiling I wonder if we are going to make it. If I’m going to lose everything before I get it all together. Is that what it’s going to take?

The other day I felt so pathetic, I went to apply for a secretary job in a publishing corporation. The man looked at me and laughed. “Why would a publisher be a secretary?” I begged him to hire me because I need something, some kind of income. His words before he had me escorted were, “I’m doing you a favor. You don’t want to sell short all you’ve worked for.” It’s not like I want to, the economy is making me. If I don’t get a job soon, I will lose it. I already can’t pick up my daughter when I’m supposed to. I need to come through, be the man, the hero.


Yet another week has passed. I am drained; I haven’t been able to sleep for over two weeks. After I get out of work, it’s so late and my body is still hyped up from all the caffeine I’ve consumed to get through the day. And every time I finally fall asleep, I wake up in panic, fearing everything is gone. And that I’m in a blank spot of nothingness. I don’t know how many double shifts I can take before I burn out.

I worry about Andria, I know she feels neglected by both her father and I. I just have so much going on, and so much constantly running through my mind, that I forget her. I know she’s feeling like we don’t care but it’s not the case.

It just makes me so angry, if Dave can’t help carry this family financially, he should at least be there for Andria, but he can’t even do that. He can’t even be expected to pick up his daughter from school when he’s supposed to. So I have to take time from work to go and get her. Sometimes I resent him. I feel horrible about it, I know it’s out of his control and he’s trying really hard, but I can’t help it. Something needs to change, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to deal with this. It’s driving a hole in between us.
Looking up from the floor, his voice overflowing with despair, “Just say it,” he gasped. “I have failed you. That I’m a disappointment.”
Tears overflowed her eyes, “I don’t mean it like that, it’s just…It’s just...I’m drained. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I need some time—to think.”

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