The sharp buzz of the alarm clock woke me up. It was 7am but the rays of sunlight weren’t as bright as yesterday. I looked out the window and saw the snow falling slowly. The first snow of the winter and it had fallen all through the night apparently. I washed my face and went down for breakfast. My dad was already seated, eating his toast with one hand while holding the newspaper with the other.
“Any interviews today?” he asked from behind the newspaper.
I’m Kevin McKey. I just graduated in the IT field with not so high marks and a couple of failures to my name, but still I keep trying for getting a job. I’ve not given up hope and I’ve realized patience is a key in the future efforts. Yet, in my family, I’m the only one who has hope on me. My dad’s tone suggested impatience. It was like a sin not to have a job. I hated that tone.
“I had one yesterday. It went well. I’ve not got any today though”, I replied back, “I’m free, so I might go visit Granny today.”
He put the newspaper down and stared at me like I said something irrelevant. “You’re not trying hard. It’s not easy out there in the real world. Every minute you’ve to try, and then only you will get somewhere. You see the snow falling outside? That’s like your obstacles. You’ve to go out and try before they block your doors of opportunity. With good marks also, its tough. You don’t have even that. Don’t let the past repeat itself. You were a failure before, don’t fail again son.”
I didn’t bother replying to him. Everyday I try my best to get in somewhere, send out applications, forward my resume, and attend interviews. I did my best always, but to him it was never enough. I could never do enough to please his expectations. I wondered if I ever would.
Taking care to dress warmly, I left home walking in the snow to my grandma’s home which was three streets away. I stopped at the newspaper stand to get the weekly employment newspaper. I reached my granny’s home and found her baking cookies. She saw the paper in my hand and enquired if I had got a job as yet.
“No. I’ve not got one as yet. Dad is getting on my nerve again Gran. It’s not that I’m not trying, but it’s difficult to find one so fast. He’s impatient and he thinks I’m a failure. Maybe I am. I wish I’d done better. I wish I could change what has happened. I dream of becoming successful, making Dad proud of me. Maybe I shouldn’t dream at all. All it has got me are expectations I am not able to live up to. Every day, I hear voices from the shadows telling me I have wasted my life. All those dreams, they’re falling apart Gran.”
My granny turned and saw me looking at the ground, dejected. She’s someone who has understood me, supported me all these days. She touched my shoulder and when she looked at me kindly, I felt a single tear sliding down my cheek. “Kev, that’s the saddest story I’ve ever heard. You are not a failure. Every decision you have made has got you here. You cannot change what has happened. No one can retrace their footsteps. Life has its own way of covering them, much like the way the snow has covered your footsteps on the way here. Dream more, Kev, in your dreams you can be whoever you want to be. There are no expectations there, only wishes for being that person in your dreams. If you want to become big in life, you have to start out small. There are voices that tell you how good you are. Listen to them, and keep trying. Your dad is just anxious for your well being, hence the impatience. He loves you so much you know. I love you too Kev, and I believe in you. Go conquer the world dear one. Don’t be dejected like this.”
I smiled. They say love is expressed even in silence. But sometimes, saying it out loud helps even more. Hearing my granny say those words restored some faith in my heart, a spark of hope. I spent the day with her and went home late in the evening. I spoke with Dad, made him see light. As we spoke, the telephone rang. It was the firm where I had attended the interview yesterday. They’d been impressed with my skill and even though my marks were a bit less, they wanted me to work for them. I thanked them and disconnected the call. My dad had heard me talk. He knew I’d got in too. I found him in the prayer room. I knelt beside him, and saw the single tear sliding down his cheek. He told those six words I’d yearned to hear from him so long. “Kev, I am so proud of you.”
The snow continued to fall silently outside… but they couldn’t block the road ahead for me now.
Image: Snow by Ginsui-rin