I don’t recall when I developed this ridiculously hopeful attitude toward life – that everything will get better eventually, that something is better than nothing, glass is half-full kind of person.
It was probably during the fever of ’98. Now that I’ve thought about it, what shaped who I am today mostly revolved around my mom leaving me when I was seven. Those 3 years were life changing.
Back to the fever of ’98.
It was one of the few times I’ve been extremely sick and it happened about a month after my mom left. I had become sick after my grandfather made me spend the night in a hot and suffocating room with windows and doors shut, sandwiched between my grandparents sweating.
The next morning I woke up and right away, I knew something was wrong. There was a pounding in my head, my head felt heavy, and I felt cold despite the temperature outside. “I don’t feel good,” I groaned.
My grandmother placed her warm hand (after rinsing under hot water) against my forehead. “You’re fine.” She said.
That morning at school, I struggled to keep my head upright and eyes open. I kept thinking, I just got to get through this. It will get better. I will be fine.
Strangely (I still don’t know why to this day), my aunt (mom’s sister) showed up at lunch. Immediately, she checked me out of school, took me to her home and placed me beneath a couple layers of blankets and slapped a bag of ice on my forehead. I remember being stuck in this limbo for days or maybe weeks, not sure, time stops when you’re feverish.
Eventually, my fever became intermittent and I became conscious again. “Has my mom called?” was the first thing I asked. My aunt shook her head. Mom had called once since she left for the U.S. She should’ve come back by now. Why wasn’t she back?
Inside, I was disappointed and angry. Why do adults always break promises? My dad promised he’d come back and never did and now my mom is the same thing. Why?
Mom eventually called and told her sister about applying for a student visa and staying in the U.S. She’s leaving my aunt to be in charge of me. When it was my turn to talk to her, she told me about visiting a Christian church and told me how people prayed for hope. I started praying that night even though I didn’t yet know about God or Jesus or religion and ever since turned to prayers as a form of hope.
I guess that’s when I started to develop this hopeful approach to life even though it’s not easy sometimes. For example, when my uncle buys my cousin fries and soda and got me nothing, I’d have to think, I’ll try it when I’m grown-up and have money.
I feel thankful to have this mentality carry me through all those difficult situations. I think a lot of the times, hope, more than anything, keeps me afloat.
Theme: Of all the things I am
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