"I don't want to live in your shadow, Mom, let me live my life."
I raise my eyebrows at Josh's outbursts, his eyes firing, his fragile frame marking the beginning of manhood- lanky, bony, squarish, but on his small face the vestiges of a little boy still linger, the facial skin still smooth, the angular nose with its nostrils flare out excitedly, two thin lips tremble lightly to betray the violent emotion that ravages him.
"I want you safe, Josh. Your education is all you have to protect your future. You're not staying inside anybody's shadow. I ... We are guiding you towards the sun, your bright future. Six more months of hard work, Josh, and your whole life will be set."
"Set, you mean ... stifled?" mumbled my son, ready to retreat from another futile confrontation.
"Liberated, I mean. Either you work now to secure the rest of your life, to be your own boss, to be free of worries, or take it easy now, and enslaving yourself for life, working for somebody with your eyes on the clock. For what, Josh, for mere subsistence, for a mortgage that never would be paid off. For ..."
"Stop, Mom. You are dramatizing again. There are other kinds of life, not everyone is doctor and lawyer, you know."
"Josh, one door at a time. We're not talking ten years away, we're talking now. Now, your job as a student is to get good grades and apply to good schools. My job is to tell you that you are not doing it."
"You just leave me alone, and I'll be just fine. Stop lecturing me."
"Well .... Don't you walk away from me. You come back here until I finish. Josh, you hear me, Josh!"
The house shook at the impact of the door against its frame. I was left with my sentence hanging, anguishing for an explanation for this failure to communicate. It has come to this, an impasse between two minds, a generation gap, a collapse of ideals. I was left to search frantically inward for the shadow of our broken dream, caught somewhere on our last glorious flight pursuing excellence, perhaps hidden in someone else's top drawer. Where do we go from here, on whose wings do we escape this pain, this doubt, this cynical view of life, this insecurity that holds us hostage in our untried world? When will we be free of our own shadows, to rise up despite repeated failures, to return facing the sun with a conviction that failure happens only to those who have the courage to try?