I stood there in my living room unable to open the letter in my hands. One piece of paper that would determine my future. It was not unusual for me to be terrified to see the answer but afraid was not enough to describe the unsettling feeling I felt.
I stared at my hands gripping tightly onto the letter in front of me. My grandma noticed me standing in the livingroom as she stopped abruptly in her path with her arm over her chest.
" My dear, was the money enough for your project? I am sorry for the small amount I could offer knowing how expensive those pieces you need for your project are." Said my grandma with shame lingering in her voice.
Iying was the only option I had in order to not let her carry the burden that the fault lies in her. It could never be her fault nor mine for being unfortunate. I know that if the project was finished I would have been accepted in a heartbeat but i still had hope that I would be given a chance.
" The metal pieces I needed was out of stock again. I bought dinner for us instead ." I lied trough my teeth and hoped she would believe me and not ask further.
" Don't worry. You will buy those pieces some day and that University will see what goodness they have walked over." Said my grandma with a warm voice and sincerty hoping to give me strength to believe.
I watched as she walked to the kitchen grabbing the small dinner with her and walking further into the hallway leading to her room. Once she was out of reach I took out the letter I was hiding behind my back.I paced around the living room holding onto the letter with an unnecessary strength that I would feel how the cold numbness spread through my fingers and reached my palms.
I hesitate to open the letter from the university Ford Ta Facon and let my gaze wander upon the calendar hanging on the gray wall. I needed a distraction and would let anything to take away this crushing weight off my shoulders. I stared at the calendar and saw today was Friday. May was the month each upcoming student would find out if they had been accepted or rejected.
I walked to the large brown sofa and sat down reaching for the small table where a knife was laying on the edge. I hesitated once again when the memories of me stumbling onto my grandma’s madras uncovering the late fees flooded in my mind.The more I thought about what happened that day made me relive how my lungs closed in and how each breath I was taking became more heavy.
A large loan was written under my grandma’s name. I blame myself for involving my grandma in my own miserable life and failures. I should have refrained from truly opening up myself to my poor grandma. I should have seen that she would offer her name if that was all she had in order to give me a future.
The letter in my hands would either wipe off every pain and suffocation I felt or drown me so deep that it would be the only embrace I would know. When my fingers struggled to open the letter with the knife I grew mad at myself for being overpowered and struggling with the gut wrenching event of my life playing in front of me as a faint vision of that distant day.
I tried to convince myself that my grandma would not walk out on me if I drained her like I did to my own parents but the small self doubt of my own consumed my thoughts and I grew afraid that dreadful day would be repeated. Would I let fear win over me or control me like a parasite does to its prey? I wondered to myself and made a decision.
I took a deep breath until it would feel like my lungs were going to pop and ripped the letter up from the small opening. My eyes went back and forth as I read through the lines I could feel the tension lingering in the living room but I ignored it and continued reading until the lines were met with an end.
‘’ This in regard to your application to the Ford Ta Facon University to the robot program in robot operating system (ros) 2045. The admissions committee regrets to inform you that we are unable to offer you a place in our first year class.
This year's pool of applicants was the largest and most accomplished we have ever received making our decision very difficult. Although we would like to extend admission to all our applicants, we have limited space in each admitted class. You may apply again for the same course next year. We thank you once again for your interest in our university and wish you success for all your future endeavors.’’
I gripped onto the letter with more strength than I did before and mumbled the words under my breath on the letter. I couldn’t accept the words I was reading and repeated my actions several times until I gave in. How much mercy could my grandma give out until she reached her limit? This was not the third rejection letter I had been given nor the fifth. Today marks the sixth rejection letter and my self esteem was under the ground.
I wanted to scream and destroy everything I could lay my hands on but when I heard footsteps coming from the hallway to the living room I had to mask behind my emotions and not pour out my misery to my grandma.
‘’ My sweet dear, how many times do I tell you not to tire yourself out with worry and just let the letter come to you. Once you receive that letter I will tell you a little of my secret of my own. Leave all that burden you care for me, I am your grandmother and your guardian.’’ Said my grandma with a gentle warm voice and enough trust in me that made me struggle even more.
I strained myself to not meet her eyes with empty ones. The letter in my hand was long hidden before she stepped her foot into the living room. It seemed to be the only thing I could succeed in. A conflict between myself began when I could not return her words, afraid I would slip up and lose control of the tears I was holding back. Lying was not an option when it would only cause harm and mistrust between us.
‘’ I am sorry grandma, I did not notice how I was falling into my old habits and worrying myself to this length. I will be more careful in the future and see through what I could not see. Don’t overwork yourself. I will become a student of the University Ford Ta Facon with your gut feeling nothing can stand in the way.’’ I said with a calm voice lingered with guilt and determination to make this right.
All she returned was a small nod and avoided looking into my eyes. Her motion caught my eye as she turned away from my direction and laid her foot to the outer side of the small line leading to the hallway. All I could feel was guilt when she walked away on her own knowing this was not one of her sudden mood swings or simple distraction she usually gets. This was a rejection in another form, the one I despise the most.
I stood in the same spot until the sound of her footsteps became more faint and I could not hear her anymore. I released the grip I had onto my emotions that clawed to the surface soon I was consumed by a numb feeling, the only thing pulling me back to the waves was the warm tears on my cheeks.
My failure was like a weed that withered out the people close to me and dried out every drop of their love for me. I held that thought close to me and used it as evidence for myself why my parents thought it was a mistake to have belief in me and my attempts to create artificial intelligence.
I knew deep down in my stomach that there would not be a walking person on this earth that would have the same belief in me like my grandma did. I could not speak for her faith in me anymore when it was written all across her face that the hope she had in me was withering out.
Sometimes in a blue moon I would feel anger and resentment at my parents for abandoning me but it withered out when it led back to me that I was the cause of the mistrust that conflicted between us.
Holding onto my anger felt like drinking out of a poison; it only weakened me from the inside. Out of nowhere I felt how stiff and tense my body became. I ran my hands on my body searching for anything when my hand collided with my phone in my pocket.
I waited for a moment before I could settle with my phone being the cause of the unsettling feeling I felt. A small vibration followed by a loud notification came from my phone and I was quick to take it out and then turn away from the bright screen. I refused to believe what I was looking at and reloaded until it said the same thing.
‘’ Ford Ta Facon’s list of students in the class of 2045 click on the link down below to get more information.’’
My hands were shaking from the sudden adrenaline I got by simply reading the small text.
How could I ignore the identities of my competitors and whom I could have surpassed?I tried to convince myself when I knew what the outcome would be, struggling to meet my ends and accept the decision of the university.
In a blink of an eye my gaze was already stuck on a name before even the site was fully reloaded. If that name was presented to me in braille I would have been familiar with it the moment my finger touches the first dot. John Henry Williams was written on the below in alphabetical order but my eyes raced through the letter J unknowingly it was like a flight or fight response with all the hardship I had to endure with him through that private high school.
John was not capable of fixing his own computer when it collapsed from all the games he used to play. He used to call me his bird tutor. The bird was a metaphor for locking me in a cage where I was prisoned for doing his bindings.
The more it dawned upon me that he marked his claws in my seat at the university made me cry out from frustration and anger that I could not fight back or make a difference. Throughout my life I have been told that money is no match for a brilliant mind but here I was standing on a pile of unpaid fees with no opportunities to take my rightful place from the greedy.
Discrimination still runs deep in our society and injustice but the painful realization that if it weren’t for him and his father’s wealth I would have been accepted and my grandma would not suffer at the cost of me.All the time I convinced myself that all I had to do was win burned through the ground when I was never given the chance to even compete.
I took a moment to think but felt more suffocated when all I was met was a silence that made me struggle to think about the emotions I was feeling, it all became too overwhelming and unsettling for me to handle the shifts in my emotions.
A loud notification once again left a vibration in my hand and with glazed eyes I read carefully through the words of the university’s new post and struggled to contain myself.
‘’ This friday a meteor is heading to Earth and the students are welcome to capture the rare event and improve their knowledge about outer space and if we are really alone in this universe.’’
This could be a chance for me to redeem myself, maybe I could learn from that experience or answer the question of the university’s on outer space.
To whom was it worth if I dried my eyes out from all the tears? If I continue this path it would only end up me starting from the beginning and destroying all the trust my grandma has for me. I could not deprive myself of the information I had right to or fall behind from the students who became accepted.
What separated me from the students was the knowledge they were given. The page was for the public to see and how could I simply look the other way when there were events and knowledge I had to learn from.
This meteor event could be the last opportunity for me to make a difference and show the university that a brilliant mind still has more value than simple money. Hope was the only thing that made me push forward and grab my camping equipment as I headed for the hill near my house.
Stuffing all the important items into my bag I look over to the stove and carefully watch there is no red light flicker. Once I was sure there were signs of the stove being on I headed over to my door and put on my shoes and locked the door behind me.
I couldn’t help but to picture John’s face over and over how he could be chosen when I know he is not capable of anything. Thinking about him made adrenaline flow through my veins, sending me into a firm decision that I would continue to prove everybody wrong no matter what.
I shielded my eyes from the scorching sun and immediately regretted my choice of clothes in this hot weather. It was mainly because of the stupid eager decision I made two weeks ago to not step out of the house until my letter would arrive.
I didn’t have the strength to go back inside and change out from this poor choice of clothes. Instead I picked my pace up and walked towards the forest.One thing I liked about myself was my admiration for the beauty of nature, no matter how upset I was I always lifted my head high up and stared at the ocean colored sky where the sunlight falls on the verdurous canopy and onto the leaves.
Ever since that day I made the mistake to wear sandals after a rainy night I have worn rubber boots like my life depended on it. I was right to be cautious when I noticed how damp the ground was and puddles of mudd reaching every corner. The feeling of dried mud on my toes after wearing sandals was indescribable and difficult to forget.
The path to the hill was more difficult than I remembered and I was deep inside the forest. All I could see were large trees both behind and in front of me. I grew frustrated when I noticed how the path never ran out and I could not see a way out of the forest.
I took out the small map and looked at it once again to make sure I was on the right path. A narrow straight line was on the map, nothing complicated or confusing to understand but it was more complex when one was standing in the middle of the forest.
I stood there and was tempted to take the curving path on the right side of me. It looked like it would be easier to make my way out but I was more than aware that time was not on my side and nor did I have the energy to try out new things.
I walked until my legs felt like they were giving out on me but when the hill came in my view I felt a boost of energy and ran towards it. When I reached the top of the hill I felt a cold gentle breeze making me forget the scorching heat from the sun.
I sat down and took out my equipment and started to build my tent. I was quick with building my tent and managed to score a new record for myself.
I stretched my legs and sat on the cushion pad, the view in front of me was full of life and I could see the tall buildings that gave this city New York the unforgettable name and reputation.
This moment was the only time I truly felt peace as I sat there and waited for the night to come. I was unsure if I would use this time to sink deep in my thoughts or refrain myself from thinking too much.
I took out my phone and reloaded the page a few times. Nothing new or interesting was posted. It made me think how everything was timed perfectly for the moment I read my rejection letter and all the notifications that followed after. Seemed like all my efforts on keeping track blessed me to enjoy this event that will follow by. All that lingered in the air was the gentle breeze and not suffocating heat coming from the sun.
I could feel how the temperature shifted and knew that the sun was going down. I stared at the colorful sunset and within time the colors changed from orange to dark blue. Five hours passed and I could see a single star followed by a small one. An hour and a half was wasted roaming in the forest and the remaining hours was followed on the top of the hill.
For four hours I had been sitting and walking across the hill to make time go faster. Once the sky turned dark and I could see a star I immediately sat down on the sitting pad and did not want to miss the meteor. It was odd that I could not hear any animals except a few owls. I was expecting at least a howl coming from a wolf or a bear walking past me to make this more interesting but all I did was dust off small sticks that fell on my lap and a few leaves.
I sat up once again when the sky turned pitch black and stretched my sore muscles. I gave one last stretch before I stood up straight and it was at that moment I saw through the corner of my eye a flashing light soar through the pitch black sky. I stood completely still and felt an uneasy feeling in my stomach when the ground beneath me started to shake for a few moments.
A small earthquake after a meteor felt unusual. Did the meteor already hit the ground? I wondered. I looked far as the eye could see and grew confused when nothing followed by. Defeated, I stood there with a great disappointment that I wasted five hours on this small event that had no significant value. A tiny earthquake was not enough for me to report and document in order to prove the university wrong.
I had to be honest with myself and maybe accept my defeat. If all I could do was cling on to false hope that only harmed me in the end then I should not strive on this manners. What more could I do than putting myself out there and compete behind closed doors even worse for how long do I have to continue in this path where there was no way out for me.
I didn’t bother to bring my camping equipment with me. I never wanted to see them again for all it would remind me was this dreadful day that would haunt me. I walked over to my tent and picked my phone up and turned my back to the hill. The forest was in my view and what I saw made me feel how all the colors drained from my face.
I hesitated to even take a further step but when I noticed it was a faint dark orange light coming from the forest my body moved on its own and sent me running in that direction.What if someone was also close by watching the meteor and they saw this orange light coming from the forest.
Would they also beat me to it and be offered a place in the university? My mind flooded with those thoughts making me more nervous than before. I slowed my pace down when I realized how fast I was running into the unknown. How would I even react if I were to find anything?
The horizon made me believe the dark faint orange light was far away but as I watched the time on my phone I managed to make it in seven minutes. I could see the scene and a large pit in the ground.
The closer I came I noticed how it reminded me of a large unfinished grave. That is why I avoided standing close to the edge of the pit and stood from a distance. But I couldn’t see what was inside the pit and conflict between myself rose when I began to question my own safety just to feed the curiosity that was consuming my mind.
A small peak was a reasonable answer to all the questions I had. I only needed to take four steps to close that small distance and take a quick look down at the pit. What returned back to my eyes gave me a sensation I have never felt throughout my life. Adrenaline rushed through my veins making me feel vulnerable and yet reborn when I laid my eyes upon it.
It was as if staring at a gold mine filled with large diamonds waiting for me to claim it. I was terrified and all I could do was stare back at the pit unable to speak or even scream. I was paralyzed to the ground and all I could hear was my pulse. Running away did not cross my mind because in what world would one leave behind three androids for another person to claim?
I was filled with a dopamin that my brain used to be deprived of each time I tried to create artificial intelligence. Standing in front of the androids made my brain work overload with overwhelming feelings.I was more than aware that I was sick for being more thrilled than terrified for the wellbeing of each living creature on this planet.
But if I were to walk away from this opportunity the military or disturbed scientist would take my place and slaughter a large portion of humanity. I was the safest option and my intentions would not cause the same harm as the government's I convinced myself.
My thoughts were erupted by the sudden swift movement coming from down the pit. I was not given time to fully react as I stared at the three androids standing now in front of me suddenly one of the androids emerged from the pit where his two companions were quick to stand on each of his side. He stood in the middle and they all had the same metal, the finest metal I have laid my eyes upon.
I stood there and did not know what to say. Would I pretend to have authority or would that be a death sentence in hindsight? I figured it would be safest to simply stare back at them and not take a few steps back that would reveal how terrified I truly was. But when the android standing in the middle pointed his right arm at me I realized how vulnerable I was. I stood there without flinching or moving out of his way trapped behind my own body and could only stare back waiting for an energy blast through me.