When Someone’s Wish Comes True

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I remember the day we moved into our new apartment. After we put our clothes away and arranged what little furniture we had, my dad left for work as a cart-pusher. An hour later, my mother left for work at a paper factory nearby. I remained at home with my little brother, who farted in my face and laughed as I chewed his butt.

Whenever my parents came home from work, I would run down to the next apartment complex and knocked on the right door. You see, there were two Ecuadorian kids living next to us, one a year older than I, one a year younger. Their dad worked two jobs, so they are usually alone at home. I would find them in their room and ask them to play. When it’s sunny, we would play soccer. When it’s rainy, we would play Yu-Gi-Oh or watch Telemundo. When it’s windy, we would fly kites. When it’s snowy, we would throw snowballs at each other.

I lived there for four years. Back then, life was simple. Back then, I was happy. I knew, yet I was happy. Happiness was all I had, all I needed.

I became exposed to the “rich” life in middle school. During recess, I would pretend to do math problems while listening to the other kids brag about their new videogames or their new cell phone. When they asked me what presents I got, I would reply back saying my parents didn’t believe in them. Of course, they mocked me and excluded me from their social lives.

I glared back coldly.

I wanted to be accepted. I wanted them to stop treating me like ****. I wanted to be like them, carefree without having to work so hard to get what I want.

**** that! I wanted to shove it in their faces. I’ll become a lawyer and make millions. I’ll own a mansion with a pool the size of a football stadium. Who’ll be laughing then?

I can’t change how I felt. I’m not sure if I want to. Without hateful ambitions, I wouldn’t be attending a top college today. Actually, I don’t think I would’ve gone to college at all. I would’ve probably ended up as one of those high school dropouts I see across the street.

I shudder. I try not to think about whatifs.

Today, people who know us believe that we’re successful immigrants. By most standards, we are. We now own a house. My parents now have professional jobs and bachelor’s degrees. My brother can now sleep comfortably, knowing that tomorrow’s going to be alright.

Yet, I still cry.

A few days after we bought our house, I visited my Ecuadorian friends. We sat and talked about the usual: school, family, life. The more we talked, however, the more awkward it became. I didn’t belong anymore. I owned a cell phone; they didn’t. They hung out with the ghetto crowd; I hung out with the middle class. They swore and spoke slang; I spoke proper English. After our conversation, I knew. I left with a sad smile.

It took one year.

Today, I cry. I cry because my wish came true. I cry because I am no longer poor. Wealth brought me comfort and respect. It brought me pain. It made me ashamed of my past. It made me fearful of losing what I have.

I lost my best friends.





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have_a_heart This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm
Awww. *gives virtual hug* that was an amazing display of emotions and a great story.
 
severeannoyance said...
Jan. 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm
It's a wonderful story, with a very strong arc, and the rhythm of the language is great. However, in the second paragraph, the tenses are a bit off. Otherwise, it's a beautifully written and realized piece.
 
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