I did the dusting with the same moron disinterested movements that had marked my activities since yesterday night. Ever since I had seen my only son's report. All the money spent on tuitions gone down the drain. And it was money I could ill-afford. Being a single mother isn't the best job in the world. Last night when I saw my son's report card I had seen all my dreams going down the drain. The words scrawled by the teacher in bright red ran across my eyes 'Slow learner. Needs to improve', 'Much behind the other students in Maths', 'Fails to interact with other students'. I could see all my plans for a bright career for my son as a doctor or an engineer vanishing into thin air. After all the effort I took for him ,the least he could do was get me some good grades in return. I had thrown all my hopes and life's ambition into him turning into a success and he couldn't even make it through sixth grade. I lost my temper and yelled and my son stared sullenly back at me. What exasperated me the most was he never uttered a single word, never gave me any reasons ...
Running the duster viciously across the desk, I relived the previous evening in my mind. My eyes suddenly fell on a piece of crumpled paper on the desk.
It looked as if someone had torn it in a fury and crumpled it. I could recognize my son's handwriting on it. Curiosity pushed me to piece together the letter and read it.
I wonder if you will ever really understand me. I understand your anger at my grades today but Mama I try, I really do, I think there must be something wrong with me, however much I try I never manage to get it right. I wanna make you happy Mama I want you to be proud of me as John's Mom is when he tops the class or Sherry's Ma is when she bags the first prize in singing. I wish I were the kind of son you could be proud of.
But sadly I am not.
But Mama when you say I will never be a 'good' person I don't know what you mean. Is it only good grades that make a person good or bad? Miss Robinson says that I have beauty of heart but I wonder why you never notice it? I wonder how many times you noticed me helping an old neighbor cross the street or slip my week's pocket money to the old beggar down the street who had no clothes for winter? I walked to school for a week because of that as the money included my bus fare too. I thought I was doing something to be proud of but when I came running home to tell you about it, you just curtly nodded your head and told me to go do my homework. I guess what I did wasn't something very great. And the other day I dropped Cherry home in my bike cause she had hurt her legs and no one else was ready to take her home because she is poor and not one of the 'set'. her mother drinks and Miss Robinson told us to be sweet to her because she comes from a dys .. dys ..dysfunctional family (I don't know what she meant). But when I got back home you never gave me a chance to explain. Just yelled at me because I was late for the church. But Mama I honesty thought dropping Cherry home was more important than going to Church. after all doesn't Father instill in us the urge to help others? Doesn't Christianity promote love for all? But then I guess I am wrong as I usually am.
Mama I love you and wish you could be proud of me. Proud of what I am. Proud of the little things I achieve, I have no one other than you and want to make you happy. But I guess I am not good enough for that. Watering grandpa's garden every week and buying groceries for grandma isn't as important as doing Maths. But Mama I wish you could understand, they are so old and frail, I couldn't resist offering to help them a bit.
I just wish you would understand and be proud of me... I wonder how often you noticed me giving up my seat in the train to an elderly lady?
I couldn't read the last lines of the note as my eyes had filled with unshed tears. It wasn't my son who was a failure, it was me who was one. I had failed to see the true beauty of my son's character and reduced his life to a series of grades. I wish I could do something to make him understand.
I took out the costliest bit of stationery I possessed and wrote.
'I am sorry about yesterday. I AM proud of you. Anyone will be. you have a heart two sizes larger than anyone else I know. I just hope you understand I love you more than anything. But then Moms make mistakes too. I just hope you understand...