Second Chances

January 12, 2009
By Ariel Bachmann, West Jordan, UT

“You have until the end of the month to think of three colleges you want to go to,” my dad exclaimed.

“Fine. Here, I got three now,” I stated.

“No, I want you to think about them and maybe do some research on the schools. Ariel, I don’t want you to go to some school that won’t help you become what you want to be. I want you to be happy.” explained Daddy.

“I know you do, but I don’t want to go to college right away. I want to take a year off.” I replied.

“I’m not trying to push you, but I want three schools you have in mind.” stated my dad.

“Fine, Dad, whatever you say.” I snapped with irritation and sarcasm in my voice.

How can he say that he isn’t pushing me, yet is making me choose schools when that’s not what I want? He doesn’t understand.

As my dad left my room, I went back to my Calculus homework and texting Tyler.

A: Baby, my dad is being weird… he is making me pick 3 colleges to go to

T: I’m sorry

A: I don’t know what to do

T: I’m sorry

A: I don’t want to deal with this anymore

T: I know

A: I know, you know

T: Is there anything I can do?

A: Make time go by faster, so I don’t have to fight anymore

T: I’ll try

A: ok

T: I love you

A: I love you too

The next day, my parents let me stay home from to school to catch up on homework. I kept getting distracted by my thoughts; my parents, the fighting, their disappointment, was all rushing through my head. My thoughts consisted of how could all the trust they had for me be gone? How could I get so blinded by love and affection, that I couldn’t even see what was going on in my life? The fighting has gone on for months with my parents and I. My parents believe that I have changed since we moved to Utah; they say I have revolved my life around my boyfriend, who they think has affected my dream of being an architect. They feel my dreams have fallen apart and that I have no desire to do anything. When my parents got home from work, they came into my room to let me know they wanted to talk to me. I walked downstairs, into the living room and sat on the rocking chair stool in front of the television.

“What is wrong?” my dad asked.

“Nothing,” I replied.

“Ever since you met Tyler, you have changed Ariel. You are rude to us, short tempered with your brother and sisters, and all of a sudden you don’t want to go to college.” stated my step-mom, Jennifer.

“I haven’t changed. I’m the same daughter that I have always been.” I snapped again, but I can’t help that they ask me the same question over and over again and I always give them the same answer. I don’t think I have changed; at least not for the worst like they think.

“No you’re not. You have changed and we don’t like it.” My dad said.

“Why don’t you like it?” I asked with anger in my voice and tears pouring down my face.

“You can’t revolve your life around Tyler. As much as you want to, you can’t. You don’t know how long you will be with him for.” My dad attempted to explain.

“I’m not revolving my life around him Daddy.”

“Yes, you are sweetie. You may not see it, but Jennifer and I see things in a different perspective than you. You are dropping everything for him.” My dad went on.

“Dad what have I dropped?” I asked.

“Ariel you have dropped everything.” Jennifer stated.

“WHAT?” I basically screamed it out, but it just sounded normal because my crying is making me choke up.

“Your dreams, aspirations, and wants.” My dad answered.

There was silence. Words were floating through my mind, but none would come to my lips. I didn’t want to say anything. I didn’t want to talk anymore; I wanted to go up to my room and cry in my pillow and call Tyler. My parents don’t understand that Tyler is the only person I can talk to, I’m always open with him and open to his opinions. He would be able to calm me down right now, just by saying “Hi.”

“Ariel, we just want to know what is going on.” My dad finally said.

It took me several seconds to answer back, “Nothing.”

“Ariel, talk to me. Why don’t you talk to me?” My dad asked.

“I can’t.” I sadly said.

“Why?” he asked.

“I just can’t” I loudly exclaimed.

“How am I supposed to help you, if you don’t talk to me?” my dad asked.

“I don’t want your help.” I shouted. My anger was starting to get the best of me.

“Ariel you aren’t happy.” My dad observed.

“And you just want me to be happy, I know, I know.” I stated.

“Ariel.” my dad said.

“WHAT?” I screamed.

“Are you ever going to talk to me?” he asked so patiently, after I yelled at him.

“Dad, I can’t.” I was balling now and could barely talk.

“Why?” he asked once again.

“Because, I don’t want to let you down anymore.” I finally said.

“What are you talking about? I’m so proud of you.” he said.

As soon as he had said that my eyes filled up with more tears and I couldn’t even see. I felt so stupid for saying that, but how could he be proud of a failure and disappointment?

“Ariel, you have good grades and have achieved a better education then I did when I was in high school. You are independent and are helping us with money. Ariel, people make mistakes and have to learn from them.” He explained. I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t want to hear how proud he is of me when I feel like a failure.

We finally ended the conservation and hugged. He told me he loves me and I said it back and ran to my room. I spent the rest of the night going over our many talks. I kept going back to the same day. It happened during the summer, my dad was away in Europe, which left my step-mom, brother, and I. I had talked to my mom earlier and she got me thinking that Jennifer was treating her like my last step-mom and I didn’t like that. I went home and Jennifer was sitting on our brown couch upstairs with a blue pillow in her lap. We got into a quarrel and I said something very hurtful, not meaning to, of course, and she almost slapped me. I walked out of the room and started for my bedroom to get ready for work; thank go Tyler was there, sitting in the kitchen. He looked at me and saw that I was crying. I hurried up and got changed and Tyler and I left. He couldn’t stand to see me that way. He comforted me the best he could.

Later that night, I laid on my bed and thought. All this fighting is destroying my relationship with them and that is the last thing I want to happen.

A week went by and I hardly spoke to them. I am working a lot. I am trying to concentrate on what I feel is important. Working allows me to take my mind off things and focus on others. I end up working so much that I never even see my family. I spend ten minutes in silence with my sister on the way to school and home from school and that is it. My life is slowly consisting of Tyler, work, school and sleep. No family. I am isolating myself so much that sometimes it feels like I don’t even exist to them. Not seeing my parents means no fighting which is great, but it always means no reconciliation between us; no problem solving means no happiness.

My dad thought that counseling would help. My dad, brother, and I go every week. We talk about ways to communicate better with each other and deal with problems more productively. The funny thing is that I’m still invisible there. We mostly talk about the problems my dad and brother have with each other. I guess I would have to do something outrageous for us to talk about me. I think it’s just a waste of my time going to some random person to talk about problems my dad, brother, and I are having with each other, but never actually touching the subject of my problems. I must have to be open to the idea of telling a random stranger my life and problems.

We are trying to work things out; I guess that’s all I can really ask for. My family is everything to me and I don’t want to lose them.

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