Sitting there, alone, in my completely unfurnished Oakland apartment I couldn’t help but think: is this really where I want to be right now? Is this apartment, this city, this unbearable loneliness all really going to be worth it? Always the idealist in my family it isn’t any wonder that I would end up trying to change the world one underprivileged kid at a time. But is college really a viable future for these inner city kids? I guess I have about two weeks to become a little bit more sure of my goals before starting this Teach for America gig. Sometimes I just wish I were back at school or living at home with the parents. At least then I’d be occupied by all those trivial problems that seem to inundate normal everyday life.
I decided to call my mom, she always seems to put me back on track. So, exchanging one empty room for another, I walked into my bedroom. Utterly depressing, not really a bedroom at all. Matrress on the floor, the desk lamp, also on the floor, is the only light, and my phone is plugged into the wall next to my pillow. As I grabbed my cell to call my mom and receive her always accurate, painstakingly appropriate, wise advice, I noticed five missed calls. All from home. She must’ve known I’ve been directionless, gotta love her intuition, she always knows when I need her. Calling her immediately and anticipating the peace of mind I would have at the end of the phone call, I was completely unprepared for what she had in store for me.
“Hey momma, what’s happening? I was just thinking about you!”
“O Maddie! Finally! Where the hell have you been? Why don’t you ever pickup your goddam cell phone?--”
“I’ve been here, contemplating life’s meaning. What do you think? What’s life all about? Think I have a chance at helping these kids…think they have a chance at all?”
“Listen, your father’s gone, he never came home last night. He was at one of those stupid little rugby practices and he never came home. I assumed he went out for beers after, ya know? With Tony and Rich”
“Wait a minute, dad? Dad’s gone? What do you mean? Dad doesn’t just disappear.”
“Maddie, a lot’s been going on here since you moved to Oakland, we didn’t want to worry you so we just left you out of it. You need to fly home immediately”