Fiction inspired by a reality I witnessed.

Dear Mom and Dad,
I know you would never approve of my plan,
So this is an explanation.
I’m not asking permission.
Now that I’m a high-school grad,
I’m going to art school in San Fran.
It’s my destiny’s destination.
I’m finally following through,
Like I heard you wishin’.
Whatever it takes to make it, I’m gonna do-
I’m finally going to listen
To my heart.
I know I can make it pursuing my art.

Dear Mom and Dad,
I hope you’re not mad.
I still haven’t heard back
Since I left in the summer.
My teachers say I’m on track
To be a promising up-and-comer.
I knew if I had the chance,
I would gain some traction.
I knew I would advance
When I decided to finally take action.
So here I am.
I didn’t sink;
I swam.
I moved into my dorm
And I’m adjusting to my new norm.
I’m working with my counselor on how to pay my debt,
But I’ve applied for so many jobs, don’t you fret.
I’m sorry I left in such a hurry,
I just knew I would be paralyzed with worry
If I didn’t act right then,
I can’t wait to hear back from you, and I’ll write soon, again.

Dear Mom and Dad,
I miss you both so much.
Are you even sad?
Why don’t you keep in touch?
I’ve been gone over a year,
And you haven’t said a word.
Art’s not your thing; you made that crystal clear,
But for you to disown me is absurd!
I don’t know how many times I’ve apologized;
At this point, I’d be really surprised
If you said anything at all.
It feels like every “I love you” was a collection of lies,
But I love you and I realize,
That I would do anything for you to call.
Although, if you were to,
I’d prefer you
Let me know;
So I could buy more minutes.
You don’t have to, though,
I’d just hate to be in the middle of talking when I hit my limits.
Please say something.
Please.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Things are getting really bad
At an accelerating speed.
My boss’ greed
Cost the company
I don’t even know how much money.
I guess apparently,
Being an employee
Makes me guilty
By association.
Every job I apply for
Has some kind of hesitation.
I ache for the days long before
My ignorance and arrogance
Got the best of me.
I would do anything for another chance
For you two to love me.
I was actually making decent money with my illustrations:
Covered food, bills, and my medications,
But now nobody is hiring
And honestly, I’m tiring
Of this city.

I used to think it was so pretty;
I used to be left in awe.
Now it just seems kinda blah.
Please let me come home.
I’ll work more than my fair share,
I’ll leave you two alone,
If that’s what you want, just please help me get there.
For now, I’m shutting off my phone;
Just in case you care
To know,
But I go
To check the mail
At the local post office twice a day
Without fail.
You were right and I was wrong.
Is that what you’re waiting to hear me say?
It has been that way all along,
Please let me come home and stay;
I don’t have to be there very long.

“Dear Mom and Dad,”
I want to write, but hesitate.
It makes me so fuckin’ sad:
Hoping and pleading for you to communicate.
I’m heartbroken to acknowledge it’s a waste
Of scarce and treasured supplies-
That were once easily replaced-
Attempting to contact you guys.
Instead, I stash
My supplies into my tattered backpack.
I suck on a chunk of uncooked ramen,
And pull off a few slices from the orange I fished out of the trash.
This is my daily snack.
I left so much behind when I was run off by law-men.
It all happened so fast;
My money didn’t stretch a fraction of how long I thought it would last.
When my debts started to stack,
The foundation of my life started to crack.
In just a few weeks,
I lost everything I couldn’t carry.
Now I wash my face with tear streaks,
Now this city- once representing hope- is beyond scary.
Now I accept
My attempt to earn my parent’s respect
Gave them an easy opportunity to neglect
And dispose of the family reject.
I don’t know what to expect.
I don’t know how to resurrect
This life of mine,
But for the moment I am surviving,
I’m fine.
Maybe someday I’ll be thriving.
I’ll keep my head down and keep diving;
Pouring myself into everything I can,
To continue striving.
That’s my new plan;
Soon I’ll be arriving.

I collected enough coins for a 15-minute shower;
An indulgent splurge,
But worth it as those sacred minutes of normalcy feels like power.
I push aside the urge
To curse the world in a million different ways.
Long gone are the days of running water for hours.
Instead, I focus on the fact that I have enough water bottled for the next few days.
I completed an illustration of flowers,
That I will sell.
The vibrant colors of my beloved oil pastels,
Contrast starkly against this drab urban hell.
Now are the days of a starving artist.
Though I am alone, I will carry myself the farthest.
I swallow the remnants of my pride-
The majority of what I’ve recently chewed-
I make a cardboard sign and hide
My face behind bold printed, “ART FOR FOOD.”

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