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The Everlasting Feeling
“My mother lied to you, that’s the truth,” Jason stared at me, unmoving.
I didn’t know what else to say, so I just stood there, attempting to conceal the anger that was beginning to dwell within me at the simple fact that he didn’t believe me. Jason looked down at his boots as I stood there, frozen, trying to understand how my mother could commit such duplicity.
“Aria, when will you just stop lying to me?”
My mouth dropped open, performing a perfectly shaped O,“What’re you talking about? I wasn’t the one who lied to you, my mother did!” I snapped, unable to hold back my rage any longer.
I was the type to be belligerent when enticed. Thus, I didn’t know how else to let my anger run free without hurting anyone other than simply storming away, so that’s exactly what I did. Questions began to flutter within my mind. How could my mother do this? Does she just live to ruin my life? Jason is—was—my best friend. We’ve been there for each other since we were little. How could my mother ruin that friendship? I would be lying if I said I was impervious, because I really was hurt by this betrayal. I felt my face burning, from the tips of my ears to my cheekbones.
My hands changed from fists back to being open-handed. I felt the tears streaking my chubby flushed cheeks, hoping that this anger will simply blow away in the next gentle breeze. Living in a small town of Barryton, Michigan, it’s not uncommon to catch scents of herbs in the town center. The unmistakable smell of fresh mint hit my nostrils, reminding me of when I was little and would run through the fields just for the aroma. Instantly, my anger was locked safely back within the confines of my heart and was no longer threatening to unleash its fury onto those I love—or didn’t.
All my life, I’ve always wanted to go to the Art University of Michigan, close to my friends but far enough from my mom, where I can get special training in art. I’ve been waiting for when I graduate from high school, which is in just a few weeks, and have the ability to apply to the university. My mother has me pay for some of the bills at home which takes up the majority of my check from work, so I’ve been saving up the little I keep every two weeks to get $50 for the application fee. I always knew my mother despised creativity because of her past, because she wasn’t good enough to get into this very same university.
She and I are a lot alike. She loved to sketch, paint and sculpt—all the things I love to do. We both are highly adroit; being able to do art the way we created with our hands gracefully is magnificent. I understand that she may just be doing this to me because she thinks its best. She doesn’t want me to get hurt if I’m not accepted, like she was. She wanted to go to the university when she was graduating from high school; however, she wasn’t accepted. As a result, she never extols me or my work as to not get my hopes up for something that may never happen.
Nevertheless, my mother told me that if I saved up the money for the application fee, she would drive to the school and complete the application for me. Jason and I planned to go to the Art University of Michigan together, but now, we can’t. I told him I had the money and I was just waiting for my mom to go there and fill the application forms for me with the money I gave to her.
Mother just had to go and spread lies, telling him I never had the money in the first place. I found out eventually because Jason texted me, saying he didn’t have to go without me. I did have the money, but my mother spreading lies, not wanting me to get my hopes up for this university and getting news that I wasn’t accepted. I understand her worries, but I can’t live knowing I didn’t even try.
I scolded her for lying to him and asked her why she never went there. She told me that she forgot and that she’s been busy herself and that she’s sorry. I couldn’t believe how big of a lie that was as she’s only just a waitress at the local diner. She didn’t “forget,” she purposely didn’t go there. I didn’t understand how she could just lie straight to my face like that. I couldn’t help but grimace as I had looked at her then. It was difficult for me to even be around my mother at that point, I felt so averse towards her.
I continued walking down the road full of old memories. There must be something that I could do to be able to go, I needed to. I didn’t realize it until that very moment that I had walked to the bus stop and took the bus to the Art University of Michigan an hour away from my hometown. I was standing in front of the huge double doors. I nodded my head only once, and made a vow to myself that I would only leave this building having filled out the application forms and paid the fee.
I pushed past the doors and walked up to the secretary desk filled with confidence. The woman sat there in her office chair the color of charcoal and typed ferociously on the computer terminal that sat on the bronze desk in front of her.
She looked up while still typing and said, “May I help you?”
I nodded and replied, “Yes, I’m here to fill out the application forms and pay the application fee as well.” The lady stopped typing, then, all of her awareness set solely on me. She began to scrutinize me, making me anxious.
“What’s your name?” She asked simply.
“Aria Rafferty,” I answered.
She typed it in, or so I thought she did anyway, and then said, “You are aware that there is deadline to apply for the school, correct?”
“Yes, ma’am, I’m aware. My mother was supposed to come here to do it for me since I’ve been busy with school and work but never did. Is it possible the school can make an exception?”
The lady shook her head, “That’s not possible; however, we did extend the deadline, so today’s actually the last day you can apply for acceptance.”
My day turned around entirely. The light of hope shined within my heart so bright I thought it might blind the woman.
She went through her papers in the folder beside her keyboard and handed me a packet entitled “Application.”
“Here you go, fill this out, give it to me along with the application fee and you’re all set,” she said with a smile.
I went over to the side where I found the lounge. Two cushioned seats, a couch, two end tables and a coffee table with a bowl of plastic fruits as decoration on top. I sat down and began filling out the papers, one after another. Finally, I answered all the questions and went up to the lady once again and handed her the forms.
“Thank you; do you have the $50?”
Nodding, I began digging through my purse for the money.
I dug and dug, unable to find it.
I looked up and smiled, “Sorry, this purse is like a black hole!”
My heart thrummed within my chest, fear overwhelmed my soul. I couldn’t find it anywhere in my purse, my mother must’ve taken it.
I laughed nervously, “I’m sorry, I must’ve left the money at home by accident. Is it possible that I come back before you guys close to give you the money?”
She nodded, a smile barely visible on her lips. I got the feeling she wasn’t very amicable after I told her this. I headed out quickly, enraged. I eventually got back home; my anger built up over the time spent replaying everything in my mind. My face became quite flushed.
I saw my mother there on the porch, smoking a cigarette.
“What did you do with my money?” I exclaimed as I marched up the steps to stand in front of her.
“What are you talking about now, Aria?” She said snappily, puffing out smoke in my face as she spoke, no hint of benevolence in her tone.
“You took the money I’ve been saving up for so that I couldn’t even apply for the college, didn’t you?” I retorted, resentment slick on my tongue.
“Give it back!” I shouted.
She reached into her pocket, pulled out the money, and threw the money to my feet.
“Here. Don’t come crying to me if you don’t get accepted.”
I picked up the money and answered, “I won’t cry. I’ll be glad to know that I at least tried and did my best. I’ll be proud.”
At that moment, I could tell something happened within my mother, something changed. She nodded her head in understanding; I turned around and took another journey to the university.
I walked up to the now familiar doors and slammed the cash on the counter. The woman was typing, as usual, and suddenly stopped, eyeing me.
“Found it,” I announced cheerfully.
She took the money and counted it meticulously, making sure every dollar was there. Once she finished, she nodded and started typing once more.
“Your application has been sent in and you should get a call in a few weeks to be notified of your acceptance or not.”
She printed out the receipt and handed it to me. I nodded my thanks and left giddily.
I made my way to Jason’s house and knocked three firm times. He opened the door, shocked to see me standing there, but looked as if he was trying to look tepid at my appearance.
I pulled the receipt out of my purse and waved it in front of him, “I filled out the application and paid.”
He grabbed the receipt from my hand and looked at it judiciously.
A smile grew on his lips, “Took you long enough.”
We both laughed, relieved that our friendship was repaired.
My entire life, I waited for this very moment. I finally was given the opportunity to discover the true artistic images that were always traveling within the confines of my mind and heart. I soon got a call from the university telling me that I got accepted, as did Jason. I could, at last, see my creativity run free, and see a person look at it and smile or ponder. I could finally just feel it, that feeling you get when you look at your work, proud, and someone else looks at it and they feel the same as you. It’s the best feeling you can ever feel.
During my freshman year, I made fantastic progress and even had a few of my pieces accepted into their gallery. I survived through and through, doing what I loved, until I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. Once I got that, I still continued on but then began teaching at the high I went to. I was able to pass on the strong desire of art and creativity that I wielded onto my students and each canvas I touched. My mother and I still talk and every day, she tells me how ashamed she is that she tried to hold me back. I’ve forgiven her because I understand that she really thought she was doing what was best for me.
I’ve finally discovered my true talent, and I can’t even begin to describe how joyous I feel, being able to do what I love every moment that I get, it’s special. I hope to one day work at the University of Michigan once I get my doctorate's degree. As a teacher now for high school students who are just now figuring out themselves, it’s something unique. Seeing those students light up when they finally finish a project that they’ve long since had the idea for brings me happiness.
Many times, you have the idea in your mind and you never really get to see it come alive. As an art teacher, it’s my job to let these students finally get to see their creativity roll out of their hands, onto the pencil, brush, or whatever it may be, and actually come alive on their paper. Once you feel the heart that’s put in it, you’ll never want to stop feeling it.