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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Meyer

Prodigal Daughter

A post shared by Michelle Meyer (@bookofshepoems) on Aug 29, 2020 at 6:07am PDT

Interpretation by Susan Draves

Most people have a rebellion story. Mine is that I went to college.

When I was 19 I was living at home and attending a tech school, but I wanted to expand my horizons, get out of the house, claim some autonomy, go to college bars with my college peers, experience college hangovers, and pursue four years of higher education versus two. My parents (mom + evil step-father) forbid it.

They argued that I should finish out my two-year degree and get a job. I argued that the tech school didn’t offer the classes or the degree level that I needed to pursue work that I would like, or hopefully, love. My evil step-father said, Nobody likes their job anyway so it doesn’t matter! Then he threatened me by saying, If you do this, you won’t get a cent from us.

My mom pursed her lips and didn’t know what to do. She wanted me to thrive, but she did NOT want me to leave the nest, to be out of her sight, to live in some faraway dorm room where she could not protect me, could not possibly monitor the safety of her only child.

So she stayed silent.

And I applied to college. Secretly. I sent copies of my transcripts. Secretly. I filled out paperwork for a loan. Secretly. I got accepted. Publicly. Via postcard correspondence. Even then I thought, Really? A postcard?

My mom got the mail on The Day of the Postcard and boy, oh, boy was she pis…ahem…peaved. There was yelling and crying followed by packing and leaving and hugging and calling and encouraging and partying and hoping and praying. There was me, waitressing and working work-study jobs on campus to pay rent and tuition. There was my mom asking if I had enough food, sending me extra cash. Secretly.

There was graduation. There was my mom, beaming, asking if I had a job lined up (For the 134th time—NO, I do not), worrying about what I’d DO, where I’d GO next. There was the evil step-father telling me to go marry myself a rich guy. 

There was my mom pulling me aside—secretly. Whispering—secretly, maybe even hopefully, to her prodigal, college-educated, jobless daughter—You know honey, you can always come home.

There was me, already gone.

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