I return from school to dusky windows. Silence sits in the vacant air it’s not the usual fans humming their monotonous hymns in praise of another day in the family business. I walk through the gloomy restaurant to the stairwell leading up to our four-room suite. As I approach echoes down the double flight of splintered stairs break the news before I get the chance to ascend.
“We’re going to have to shut down,” said my mother’s hushed whisper down the reflecting wooden walls. By her apprehensive tone, I could tell this was terminal. The news hit like a unexpected rainstorm, so piercing, I couldn’t see a way through.
All the times worrying about the next payment more than grades were for nothing. All the struggles were sent away like well-thought letters to a wretched cause. All the hours of work put in just to watch it disappear into the city’s abyss of shutdown businesses.
I can’t believe it, was the only thought racing through my mind. But yet, I could believe it. In fact, it was expected from the on off nature of the restaurant. And like any overused lightswitch, eventually the illumination fades, leaving everyone in the shadows of what’s left behind.
My guilt ridden thoughts pecked at the edges of my brain, begging to be noticed. I’m not content being stuck, but I can’t abandon my family…can I? Even if they didn’t need me in the kitchen anymore, they still needed my emotional support. Plus, it’s only the start of a new school year. It’s too late to withdraw.
But leaving was something I had to do for myself. I couldn’t let my culpable thoughts hold me back from my perceivable accomplishments. This event instituted the most strenuous decision I’ve had to make: Do I pick my family, or myself?
Despite the onerous goodbyes, I made it out a year later. I made that phone call to my grandparents to insure my well-being. Leaving behind my parents and three siblings wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the appropriate one to make. I wouldn’t be progressing today if I hadn’t made my own exit.
I will admit that I’m sad about that day today…I will be sad about it tomorrow…and I will be sad about it the next day. But, I won’t ever regret the choice I made. One day, I’ll rescue my family, but until then, they’ll understand I can’t risk my future for a dead-end fate.