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You can’t change the predictions. You can’t change the future. But you can choose your path. You either live with the unknown, or know your near future. The newspaper predicts what happens to you. You can choose to look at it, or not.
I wake up and go to the kitchen, sit down on the chair and sip my coffee. The newspaper sits in front of me, open to the first article. I take a deep breath and sigh. It’s hard to figure out what path to take. Both my parents choose to look at the newspaper and know how their day will go. But my older brother chooses to live with the unknown. He goes about his day with surprise when something unexpected happens. My brother has a risk though. He does not know if something bad will happen. My parents do. It is a big decision you have to face. And now is the moment I have to make this long awaited decision that will change my life forever.
What will happen if I choose to look? What will happen if I don't? My family sits down in silence around the wooden kitchen table. One by one they pick up the newspaper, looking at their article. A clear description of how their day will go. Then my mom picks up the paper. She looks disappointed. It makes me want to know what her day has in store for her. My brother and I don’t pick it up. We just glance at each other. He gives me a look of support. But I still don’t know what to do. I want to know, but at the same time I don’t. So I stay strong with my older brother’s decision. I decide to not look.
I get on the bus, anxious of what is going to happen to me that day. All of the green seats are filled with people talking. All looking tired and not ready for this Monday morning. I sit down beside my best friend who I have known since my first days, and instantly feel a rush of relief. She looks at me with a reassuring smile on her face. She knows my decision time was today. For my past years my parents told me everything that would happen. They knew what I would go through that day. Now they don’t.
“So, did you read your article?” she asked with a tone of hope. I gulped and looked her right in the eye, hoping she would see my thoughts.
“Well not exactly,” I said. “I am choosing to take my brother’s path. He seems pretty happy with it. And plus I like surprises!” A fake smile spread across my pale face. I wanted everything to be ok. But for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“Oh I am so proud of you, I could never do such a thing. You won’t regret it. My whole family lives with the unknown and so far nothing has been bad. Knock on wood,” She laughed and it made me feel better to know someone was by my side.
The bus pulled up to the drop off and we slowly made our way to the entrance and we went our separate ways. She has gym and I have Algebra. The hardest class out of all. I wish I knew what I would get on the test and what homework we would get. And what the teacher will teach us.
I wish I knew, but I don’t. My decision is final and I have to stick with it. That is my little pep talk. It helps me realize that people go through the same thing. Everyone turns 14 at some point.
I walk into algebra and I see our tests face down on the desks. Flipping it over, I hope I get a good enough grade to go to honors math next year. And I see an A- on the front. A 93%, just enough to get me through the class.
Yess! What a nice surprise. My whole day was better because I know that I passed Algebra and have a high chance of getting into honors. It is a good thing I hadn’t seen this in the morning.
I see my friend in the hallway, and I sprint towards her, the excitement rushing through my head.
And with a squeak in my voice I say, “ I passed, I passed, I passed. My grade is above a B+ and that means I will be in honors math in high school,”
“That is amazing, that means we will finally be in a class together!” She looks genuinely excited.
The rest of my day goes along pretty smoothly. I get off my bus waving to the driver. As I step through the doors and see my mom on the couch with a rather sad look in her eyes. A tear rolls out of her eye.
“What happened mom, are you ok?” She looks emotionally destroyed.
“Oh its nothing sweetie. It's just about dad. It's nothing to worry about. How was your day?” She is trying to hide her sadness by pretending everything is ok.
But I knew it wasn’t, and I think I know what's up. My dad was getting his results from the hospital. And it seems like the tests weren’t so good after all. My eyes water up and tears start dripping out. I just imagine what my dad was going through.
In my head I remembered what happened this morning. I saw my mom at the kitchen table having the look of disappointment. Now I knew what she saw. If I had only known I would have helped my mom out. Even though I couldn’t change what would happen, I could make her feel better.
This was a conflicting thought. I had two major things happen to me. One good and one bad. Both of them made me go a different way. One made me think that living with the unknown is risky but it has it’s advantages. Since I did not know about doing good on my test, it lightened up my mood. And since I didn’t know about my dad getting bad results back from the doctors, I have been happy until this moment. It makes everything confusing. Everyone has to make a decision. Some people think that knowing everything that will happen benefits them, and will help them have no surprises, and others go with that living with the unknown is more risky but also more interesting. And there is really no clear answer of what path is better. But something else is on my mind. What my whole family was going through was so much worse than my decisions.
The door clicks and I flip my head around to see my brother. He has a happy skip to his step but when he sees my mom and I, the happiness goes away. He asks the same things that I asked, then having the same heartbreaking reaction. My brother angles his head down towards the floor and stomps up the stairs. I hear the door slam and him breaking into tears.
Screaming something along the lines of, “How did I not know this terrible news was coming. I wish I read the paper. I wish I hadn’t made this mistake!” My heart sank. I had just witnessed my brother being upset about not knowing. And I relate to him so much. But, he was older and he understood what surprises meant. So far, it had only been one day so I still had no idea what any of this meant.
About an hour later my father came home from the doctors. He was trying to look happy like this was all going to turn out ok. But I saw his eyes drooping and his face pale with anxiousness. You could see the worry in his head.
“Guys, it's all going to turn out ok. I will get the medicine I need and get better, and everything will be back to normal,” He put on that same fake smile my mom had put on, assuring us that everything would be perfectly fine. And I wish I could believe him this easily. But I knew what he was going through, and we all need to stay strong. The newspaper will tell him what will happen. There will be no surprises for my dad, which in his case is a pretty good outcome. But in mine, I still don’t know.
That night I couldn’t get to sleep. My head is wandering in various directions, thinking about everything that comes to my mind. My dad is probably doing the same. I look at the glowing clock and it reads 2:48 am. I am going to be so tired tomorrow, I don’t even know how I will get through one class without falling back asleep. But my mind won’t stop. From thinking about my math test and being happy, to my dad and being scared and sad. Finally, I fall asleep, but only for a few hours. My alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed. My head dizzy, I knew this is from the lack of sleep I got.
I see the newspaper, in the same position as yesterday. I feel like it is judging me, silently telling me I was wrong to not look. But I stay strong. A choice is a choice.
My dad walked in and said, “Hey sweetie, what’s up?”
“Dad are you going to be ok?”
“The doctors don’t know yet, but I will get better. Don’t worry I won’t leave you,” My eyes tear up. To know my dad cares so much, and doesn’t want to leave me is mind blowing. He ties our family together. He looks at the paper and an instant smile shows up on his face. This time I have no doubt. The smile wasn’t fake, he was definitely reading good news.
So my day started off good. Even though I totally fell asleep in science, I knew that everything would be ok. I didn’t know what would happen. But I had a gut feeling that it would be good. Thank goodness that I chose not to look.