“I am not sure, but I think I need a car in order to get to my clinical sites,” I announced, rinsing off my dish in the kitchen sink and casually glancing behind me. I finished the last sip of my milk and filled the cup with water. We were finishing our dinner and only after requesting, “May I be excused?” did I leave the table with my plate.
It was difficult to determine if my comment had reached my mother over the camaraderie that was transpiring behind me. For some reason, I did not want another serving of baked chicken and mashed potatoes tonight. I was always one of the first to finish, the runt of the litter gobbling up what was in front of me before anyone else could snatch it.
My mind was preoccupied with the increased expectations of the approaching school year. I would be entering my second year in a competitive nursing program and my main desire was to be successful.
My siblings held court at the kitchen table, laughing and teasing both each other and my parents…innocently of course. This, to me, had become the soothing soundtrack of my life. I could often anticipate the provocations of my siblings and it amused me to be the innocent party laughing dismissively to myself. The quiet one, yet difficult to miss in the hullabaloo. I settled contently into this role.
In my journaling, my voice was discovered and nurtured. It ushered me here, to you. I am grateful for it all.
As I reached to turn off the water, Sean came and stood beside me. I thought he was going to hand me his plate which was odd because he always had seconds. He had one hand in the pocket of his cargo pants, the other he brushed through the roque strands of hair on his forehead. It parted perfectly. Amazing.
“You know BZ,” he said quietly, revealing his disarming sideways grin. He paused and secured both hands in his pockets. “I can buy you a car if you need one. I have money saved under my mattress. I don’t need it.”
I felt this overwhelming desire to hung him tight around his slouched shoulders, but I knew it might startle him. Instead, my wits melted into a puddle on the floor, my hands still wet from rinsing halted in midair.
Of course, I could never. He did need that money. He was living a fairly independent life now. He had a roommate. He bought his own groceries, his own clothes. He relished in purchasing and assembling models of World War II. He had a room in his modest apartment dedicated to displaying his work. He had a gym membership.
Mental illness had ransacked his potential for earning an income. There was no way I was going to take one dollar from him.
“Oh, Sean, that is so thoughtful of you,” was all I could muster. The love I felt for him in that moment chased all the darkness, the lingering shadows even, far away.
I have yet to meet an individual as selfless and as kind as him.