The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Growing up, my father knew that working hard in school was how to become successful and live a better life, and so he reminisced about his last day of high school, taking an exam that decided whether or not he will go straight to the only medical school in the country.

After countless hours of sitting in a dusty, wooden desk that squeaked after every little move Mohammad made, an alarm blared. Rather, the proctor slapped his meter stick on the desk in the front of the classroom to signify the end of the exam period. Mohammad shot up and put his pencil down, wiped the sweat off his forehead, and let out a sigh of relief that pleasantly sang in unison with the rest of his classmates. They had all just completed the biggest exam of their career, and Mohammad was more than ready to run out of the classroom he has spent all of his days in since he was six.

As he began to gather his things, he made eye contact with his best friend Jamal whose eyes were as droopy as the neighborhood stray dog's they walked by every day on the way to school. Ever since they were kids, they would talk about how excited they were for this day to come, sometimes wishing a bad score on each other as they bantered on the dusty streets playing soccer with their friends during lunchtime.

The proctor began to collect the exams, dragging the meter stick along the creaky wooden floors of the classroom as he walked desk to desk. His class was dismissed and hand in hand, Mohammad and Jamal pushed through the crimson front doors of the school stained with dirty fingerprints and began their walk home.

They walked silently for a while, as the exam left them exhausted and their brains overtaxed. Mohammad felt the gravel on the street dance below his sandals as he surveyed the cement-block homes and sparse grass lawns of his neighborhood. As he walked, he imagined how life would be if he earned a high score on the exam. Mohammad knew that working hard in school was how to become successful and live a better life in America, outside of this village his family has only ever lived in. Being the only one in his family to strive for an acceptance into medical school, Mohammad was hopeful that he would become a doctor and eventually be able to give back to his family what they have always given him, which is unconditional love, care, and support. 

Despite how pleasant Mohammad’s daydreams were, feelings of sadness began to surface as he realized he would need to separate from his family. Mohammad quickly snapped out of his trance and within seconds, spotted a stray soccer ball on the side of the street. He challenged Jamal to a pass, to which he accepted for “old times sake” and with each kick, Mohammad was ignited by the optimism for a good future ahead of him. 

Life “Goals”

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