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Charles Dickens Knows Nothing Of Great Expectations
I was born into a white, upper-middle class family consisting of nine college graduates, four retired war veterans, and countless unfulfilled housewives.
I was born into a white, upper-middle class family consisting of nothing but great expectations.
Their expectations are not mine, and mine are not yours.
But they are all the same.
Planned lives and ruined aspirations, enacted by bitter folk regretful of their own failed past.
Their plan was never my plan.
But when you are six years young and dream of becoming an actress, your hostile grandmother will rip your hopes to tiny, degradable, pieces, and teach you German, in the hopes that you will utilize your skill and never depend upon a man.
You will mature as would an ancient cheese, molding while veiled by a plastic shield.
When you are nine and simply dream, your mother will waste summers pounding fractions and grammar into your skull.
She will pound the imagination right out of you.
On your twelfth birthday, when you wish for nothing at all, that is what you will receive.
Because that is what you wanted.
When you are fifteen and your clothes grow baggy, your father will poke your thigh and call you soft. You will sleep through dinner.
When you are sixteen and fall in infatuation, your father will nod and smile, because he is not listening. After the object of his love falls into slumber, he will berate you for a B in precalculus.
When you are seventeen and pay out-of-state tuition, your father will smile and nod, because he is glad that you are gone.
When you are six years young and dream of becoming an actress, you will sneak to the bathroom and sing to yourself in the mirror as your grandmother dozes upon the leather sofa.
When you are nine and simply dream, you will close your eyes and envision the future while your mother meets and sleeps with men you do not know.
On your twelfth birthday, when you wish for nothing at all, the neighbor boy will hand you a self-wrapped chess set, your first, and a pastry. Because that is what you wanted from him, when you were nine and dreamt.
When you are fifteen and your clothes grow baggy, there will be no one to save you except yourself. But it will be enough.
When you are sixteen and fall in infatuation, you won’t mind that your father doesn’t care. Because you have someone who does.
When you are seventeen and pay out-of-state tuition, you will smile and nod, because you’re finally moving on.