Monday, February 8, 2010

The Man Who Wanted to Fly

We all sat in our chairs at the table. Each of us had our own designated seats. My father sat by my mother. Both of them were tired after a hard day of work. My aunt sat by my right side and continued to exchange glances with my father. My brother sat by my left side and had his right hand holding his head in place. I sat with both my legs crossed in my chair. I could read everyone’s looks by the way they were sitting.

These family meetings were common and happened almost every week. After dinner, our family would gather around a big glass table with coffee, raisins, and cookies set on paper plates. We would discuss things about the next week, our family in the Middle East, or just life in general.

“We got to talk about my future,” I looked at my father with his pepper-colored hair and mustache, his face a slight red. He gripped the arm of his chair with muscular hands. He knew I wanted to be a writer, but something about it angered him, and I didn’t know what. My mother snatched a few of his fingers with her slight, feminine touch and loosened some of my father’s grip.

“What are you going to do? Are you going to be a writer and starve on the streets?” my aunt, Clara, said. Her hair tied into a ponytail had bobbed back and forward as she shook her head. Her hands were frail, but shook with life.

“I’m not going to starve,” I turned towards Clara, “by being a writer.”

“Be a doctor,” My father added coldly.

My brother watched with his green lake-like eyes; he was waiting for an explosion or some type of eruption to happen between us, but we were all calm.

“A doctor?! I have a brain that creates stories; I could never focus on working on medicine with my type of mind. I should put it to some good use and become a writer.”

“Why not use your brain to save lives?” My aunt added as she waited for my response. She examined me like a scientist would wait for a reaction from a lab rat. I felt the hot, white spotlight on me. All their eyes penetrated my soul, adding fuel to the fire of my anger with their badgering.

“I don’t save lives, I know that, but I make people think.”

“Oh, yah,” my dad smiled with interest, “and what can you do with words?”

“I. Make. People. Think.” I repeated, but slower and with force.

“We can think just fine by ourselves,” my father took a sip of coffee from his mug.

“I want to make people think differently! Make them open their eyes to the world and to their dreams. Is that wrong?”

“He is an artist, hun,” my mother whispered into my father’s ear.

“Pfft…an artist,” my brother added.

“There isn’t any money for writing books anyway,” my aunt threw her voice and thoughts out onto the table.

“What about writing screenplays, huh? Or writing for a newspaper or a magazine? Do you,” I focused my attention and eyes on my father, “understand that this is my passion?”

My father got out of his chair, “I worked my butt off; it’s because of my hard work that I’m here today. I wanted my kids to live an easy life, no worries like me, that’s why I gave up on my dreams.” He left the table and with him, my mother and brother followed. My aunt and I still sat at the table, side by side.

“You know your father wanted to be an airplane pilot when he was younger? He always wanted to fly, escape the world, and live in the skies. Now, look at him, a dry cleaner, but he’s very successful. You should be happy you have all of this,” she gave a slight smile as she opened her arms wide. “All of this. He worked hard for whom?”

“Me,” I admitted.

“Follow your dreams, Vatche, your passion, or whatever you like to call it. He’s not mad; he’s not disappointed. He actually can never be happier for you,” she stood up to go wash the dishes as I started to clean up the table.

“But what about—”

“He’s jealous of you.”

“Jealous?” I dropped my father’s mug into the sink.

“He’s jealous that you found a dream and you’re willing to stick to it. He’s testing you really. He wants to see if you’re capable of holding onto your dream.” She turned on the water. “I’m also testing you. He let go of his dream and it flew away; it flew away like those airplanes he couldn’t stop talking about when he was younger. He doesn’t want you to end up like him.”

“Really?” I asked as I grabbed a towel to dry the dishes.

“Really,” she smiled.

All the signs, the anger, the constant questioning was now understood. Right then and there, an airplane passed over our house, loud and roaring with life; I took it as a sign. I knew one day that I would be capable of flight and that I would accomplish my dreams. One day.


Anonymous said...

*thinking thinking thinking* i dont know how to comment on this one... *thinking thinking thinking*...


Vatche said...

Don't worry, Rafi, I'm sure you'll find some comment, eventually! Thanks for notifying me though, I appreciate it!

Jim said...

Your article made me think about my passion: music. Just like being a writer, everyone seems to think that there is no future in being a musician and I'll just be another one of those artist rotting in myspace. I think least after reading your article. Keep up the great articles man! We'll be famous one day!

Vatche said...

There is always a future if you follow through on your passion, Jim. I hope one day to listen to one of your newest singles on the radio, don't stop playing the music! Thanks for your comment; it's greatly appreciated.

Paul L. Martin said...

To chase a dream is often a lonely pursuit, Vatche. The risk is that you wake up one day and wonder why you never succeeded. But what is worse is to wake up one day and realize you never tried.

I have watched your drive and determination for four years now. You do not give up on anything. If anybody can achieve, it is you.

Keep the fire.

Vatche said...

I have been working my butt off to get to where I am today, but it's not only because of me. My experiences, my teachers, my friends, my family, and everything that has happened up until this very point, has made me into the person and writer I am today. I will never give up on this career, no matter how many tests or obstacles stand in my way. I will become a published writer and I will make sure to remember all those experiences that had brought me to that point, because without a past, I am nothing. I am glad you have faith in me, Mr. Martin. Thank you.

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