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Aug 07, 2020

General

‘University, ah! I remember my days there. You know, wild days where…’

‘Dad, you told me this story yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. Really all I want…’

‘So now, because you will be going off to university, you think you shouldn’t listen to your old man. If I have told you the story hundred times then you should be a good son and listen to it a thousand times. And don’t sigh out like that. I’m still your father.’

‘Yes sir.’

‘No girls! Don’t grin like that, I mean it. No drugs either. Your future is too important to mess up. Party responsibly though. I would have said no to that too, but even the sun goes to sleep.’

‘That doesn’t make sense at all.’

‘Ha! Just go with the flow. It means you can’t be expected to read all the time. You need a break sometimes. But remember what’s taking you to university. Have your goals. Choose…’

‘Your friends wisely, haunt the library, befriend the lecturers, call home every so often. Yes, sir. You should know we have a variation of this conversation every day. Like literally, every day, Dad.’

‘Well, you had better not forget a thing then.’


**


‘You should wash the dishes.’

‘But I did that yesterday.’

‘Yes, and after you go off to university you won’t be doing it. We might as well enjoy you while you are here. Then we’ll probably sit for a good family game night.’

‘Well I still can’t do it today. I’m going out with my friends. I told you about this. Marko’s throwing a get-together for all of us. Something small. And very legal, Mum.’

‘It seems like of late all you do is go hang out with your friends. When you are not with them you are tied to your phone texting them. We would like to spend some time with you too before you go off to university. You know that right?’’

‘And it doesn’t make sense to us as your parents because you are all gearing up to go to university where you will be together enough that you’ll regret having wasted this time looking them up rather than spending time with us.’

‘Except we won’t all be together. We are not exactly going to the same universities. And this is actually fun for us despite what you dinosaurs think.’

‘Hey!’ ‘Who are you calling dinosaurs?!’

‘Just joking. Well then, I’ll be back much later.’


**


‘No phones at the breakfast table, sweetheart.’

‘Especially when you haven’t said good morning to your family.’

‘Here. I made your eggs just the way you like them. You are going to miss my cooking when you are away from here, won’t you boy? And you shouldn’t nod like that when you can use your words. People need to know how intelligent you are. Remember to use your words. Assert yourself when we are not the…what did I just say about the nodding?’

‘I need to talk to you guys about something.’

‘Swallow your food first, honey. Honestly, it seems the more you grow the less manners you remember. Now what is on your mind?’

‘You remember T-Bo? No? Lanky? talks with a lisp? wild hair? He got an ear-piercing last year. Yes, mum, the wild boy. I can see you rolling your eyes about it. Anyway T-Bo, he told me of this small IT office I could intern at, maybe gain full time employment, work as I study and that sort of thing.’

‘What did you say?’

‘The only thing I could say with such an opportunity, Dad. That I would be glad to do it.’

‘I’m not sure that’s wise though. You are going in for medicine. From what I’ve heard…and know, it’s a heavy course, you need to concentrate. If money is your issue, then I guess we can give you a little more allowance. You need to focus. I tell you this all the time. Focus. Focus. Focus. And besides, this is a computer business. If it were a clinic or something in that field, I guess it would be OK.’

‘So a prestigious health clinic would be fine but not a small computer start-up? Don’t you find it hypocritical to bash my work ethic when it’s not in line with what you want?’

‘Where is all this animosity coming from? Use your head, boy. If it were a health clinic, you’d be constantly on the path of learning. Maybe give you an edge over your classmates. Forget this computer hobby of yours. At least just for the next years that you need to have this degree then see what happens.’

‘Hey! Don’t storm away from the table like that when your father is talking to you! Don’t do… Come back here. Let’s talk this through.’

‘And he slammed the door. Maybe university will grow him out of these childish tantrums.’


**


‘Nana! Fancy seeing you here. You are looking very fit.’

‘Don’t you know it, girlfriend. I have been on a diet and I think it has done it’s job, wouldn’t you say so? Ooh. And who is this handsome young man with you?’

‘Oh you must surely remember my boy. Say hello, honey. He is going to be a doctor. All about ready to start university in a few days. He is going to be the best doctor the world has ever seen.’

‘Listen to that, a doctor. It feels like it was just yesterday when we were throwing your baby shower.’

‘Don’t I know it! I keep thinking that to myself. It’s all happening so fast. He was just a baby, running around in his Adam suit now he gives me this face whenever he wants to communicate that I am embarrassing him.’

‘What are parents for if not to embarrass and what are children for if not to take pride in? I wish you the best on your new journey, young man. I will see you around, girlfriend. Maybe coffee? One of these days now that you are close to having an empty nest, yes?’

‘Absolutely, I’ll call you. Bye Nana. Ok, come on, we just need to pick a few more things and then we’ll be on our way.

‘Mum, I would rather you don’t tell people that I am going to be a doctor.’

‘People? Nana is not people! You’ve known her since you were in the womb. And she just wants the best for you. A win for you is like a win for her.’

‘Well, I still don’t feel comfortable with you mentioning it all. To anyone.’

‘Sweety, you need to own your achievements. Studying medicine is a very wonderful thing and I say it so often so that you know how proud I am of you.’

‘Proud of the medicine you mean.’

‘What’s that now?’

‘Nothing. Forget it. Let’s just get the things we need and get home. Also, if it’s okay with you, I’d rather spend this night at Marko’s.’


**


‘Just come out and tell them. I told mine and I think I’m past the fire. I think. My mum is not really talking to me right now but I know it will pass.’

‘T-Bo, to be honest, I don’t think your parents were very surprised by your change of direction.’

‘What are you trying to say? I’m not as serious as those weird kids that you hang out with all the time.’

‘What are you talking about?! My crew is down, real chill. And they have never once made you feel like an outcast. You just insist on taking that up by yourself.’

‘Tell me how inclusive their up-class academic talk is. They all carry themselves with that air of arrogance and entitlement and they haven’t sniffed their dorm rooms yet. Doctors, lawyers, engineers. They all walk about like they have conquered something.’

‘How are we even talking about this! So what if they feel like they’ve hit the jackpot? We are OK with our path and that doesn’t matter. Right T, we are OK with our path?’

‘Don’t ask me. I’m not the one who can’t face telling his parents. And your avatar is getting whooped. Come on play better, we need to keep our place on the leader-board.’

‘It’s not that I can’t tell them. They are just…really thrilled with the aspect of having a doctor. You should see how they talk about it. Woah! Look out. Come on, man, you are supposed to have my back. Not let me get fried like that.’

‘I have your back! I just didn’t see that coming. Look. I don’t know why you won’t tell them. It’s good news all around. You have made a game that people love and were offered a half-scholarship to go do what you love. If you ask me, there is nothing holding you back. I know you feel this pressure to impress your parents but you’ve eventually got to live your own life.’


**


‘Look at you, my young doctor, my little man growing to be so fearless….’

‘I haven’t even been to orientation yet.’

‘...Come help me fold these clothes.’

‘I can see you giving me the side eye mum. Just say whatever you have to say.’

‘What? Now I can’t just look and admire my little boy? It feels like I…we barely get to see you at all anymore. And then you’ll be off to university. You all grow up so fast.’

‘That doesn’t sound as exciting as it once was.’

‘What? The growing up? Oh, come on, talk to me.’

‘You wouldn’t understand.’

‘Try me. I was young once too, you know. And so many years ago, I was also faced with the mountain that is uni. I might know a thing or two.’

‘Did you always know without a doubt the course you were supposed to take?’

‘Oh honey, you don’t have to have it all figured out when you go. You should know that. Is that what you meant about not telling people about you being a doctor? Do you feel pressured?’

‘First off, you didn’t answer my question. And…it’s not like I don’t know what I want. I do. It just…doesn’t…exactly…align with what you guys may want.’

‘It’s not medicine, is it?’

‘Very perceptive of you, Mum. No, it’s not medicine. But since I got that admission it’s all you guys can talk about. And then you started making all these plans and I didn’t know the right time to show you the admission that I was really proud of.’ 

‘Another admission?’

‘Yeah. Yes. I got into Software Development. My computer hobby is not just a hobby, I guess. Say something, Mum. Shout if you want to, tell me how I’m disappointing you and all that and then we can move on. Mum?’

‘I don’t know a thing about that. Don’t think I know anyone who did that. I…’

‘I know that to you guys this roads seems uncertain but… this is what I want.’

‘Come, let’s sit and you can tell me all about this Softstuff.’


**


‘Drinks on me, guys! And I know its just soda but still. On me. Jay, get the camera rolling. OK, guys, some of us are overly excited about university and are reporting early. Yes, Tony, we are looking at you. This is our last time together before the future comes crushing in. We’ll look back on this last silliness when we are rich and successful…’

‘RICH AND SUCCESSFUL.’

‘and see how well we’ve done. The idea here, is everyone shares their big dream for where they see themselves in five years. We keep it in record and hold you all to it. Maybe one last round of “Most likely too.” Yeah? See how well our predictions pan out. Marko, you want to go first. Most likely to…’

‘Get married first?’

‘Hell man, you couldn’t even think of getting a job first. But sure let’s roll with that.’

‘Told your parents about the half-sponsorship yet?’

‘Let’s not sour our time with this talk now.’

‘Just checking. They have these illusions of how the world works but that was for their time. You can get this out of the way.’

‘Yeah, not to mention that you are also running out of time. You don’t have to tell them true, but we all know how close you guys are. You just want to start all this on the right note. Right.’

‘Right! Now, back to making one last grand memory before we have to embrace responsibility. To the future.’

‘THE FUTURE!’


**


‘Dad! Dad. DAD.’

‘What is it? My goodness, boy, it’s just 3am.’

‘I can’t sleep.’

‘Ah! The pressures of the future are laying heavily on your shoulders. Let’s go to the kitchen. I think now that I’m up I should drink some water. Out with it then boy. What is keeping your awake?’

‘I’m not sure I want to study medicine.’

‘That’s the restlessness talking. I know you keep hearing all these stories about how hard it probably is but you were built for this. Just sleep on it and you’ll be thinking clearer in the morning.’

‘No, Dad. I meant to say, I am not going to study medicine.’

‘I must be dreaming boy because I’m hearing something about you not going to study medicine.’

‘You’re not dreaming. I’ve had these last few days to really think about it, about what I want and it’s not medicine. And I have wanted to tell you for so long. Being a doctor is not my dream. It is mostly yours. But I have this great opportunity to do what I want and I don’t want to regret not taking it because I am so concerned about impressing you. I am going to study Software Development. I have a half-sponsorship to do it. And I am going to work part time at that start-up company. This is truly what I want. It would mean the world if you have your support on it. But if not. If not…well, I’ll still do it and hope you come around to it.’

‘My gosh. And you think it wise to throw this on me at 3am? It probably is, you are wide awake and I can barely think on my feet. Let’s sit. Since I’m awake now, we might as well get all of it all of the way. Let’s discuss this like men.’


**


‘Last day home before you get to campus. Excited?’

‘Something like that.’

‘You said you are all set up, right? Nothing more to pack. We can still get those gadgets that you wanted if you really need them.’

‘Yeah. The things I didn’t get, T-Bo is bringing since we’ll be rooming together. There is nothing left for you to fuss over, Mum. Let’s just sit together and enjoy this meal. I think I’ll miss this.’

‘Oh don’t start getting emotional on us. You can always come to visit. You should come home as often as you like.’

‘I know. But it won’t have any permanence to it anymore. We all know that. You guys are still dropping me off and seeing me settle in, right?’

‘Of course.’ ‘Wouldn’t miss it for the world.’

‘And I know you have heard this a thousand times but I can’t stress this enough. Have your goals. Choose…’

‘Your friends wisely, haunt the library, befriend the lecturers, call home every so often. Yes, sir. I know, sir.'




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15 comments

Pragya Rathore
12:25 Aug 24, 2020

Whoa, whoa, whoa! You managed to write a story entirely using dialogue! That's pretty cool, Peace. Great job! Very interesting and meaningful. I loved it! :D Please check out my stories too :)

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Peace Nakiyemba
02:05 Aug 27, 2020

Thank you, Pragya. It was a first for me but I like how it turned out and I'm glad you enjoyed it too. I'll definitely check out your writing too.

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Evan Rocker
23:48 Aug 23, 2020

As I read, I found myself hoping there would be one less doctor. Thank you for writing this great story!

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Peace Nakiyemba
02:07 Aug 27, 2020

😅 Yeah people should do what they are most passionate about. Especially if they have the opportunity. Thank you for reading and commenting, Evan.

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Chrissy Lemon
01:38 Aug 20, 2020

I could really connect with this story, I really enjoyed this keep up the great work!

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Peace Nakiyemba
13:38 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you so much Sarah. I'm glad it struck a chord. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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18:30 Aug 13, 2020

This is a beautiful story, no cap. I especially love our MCs dad. The characterization is on point too. And I love the way you ended the story by coming back to the beginning. Lovely.

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Peace Nakiyemba
13:39 Aug 22, 2020

I appreciate your feedback Anastasia :). I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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19:05 Sep 25, 2020

You're welcome.

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Aditya Pillai
15:59 Aug 08, 2020

A lovely story. So relatable and nicely conveyed. I love the dialogue, so natural and fun! A wonderful read. Would really appreciate it if you checked out my latest :)

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Peace Nakiyemba
13:41 Aug 22, 2020

I'm glad you liked the dialogue. I was a little hesitant about it since I had never written a story fully in dialogue. Thank you for the feedback and for taking the time to read this. I'll definitely check out your writing too.

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Deborah Angevin
11:32 Aug 08, 2020

I loved the way the ending loops back to the beginning of the story! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Peace; well-written one! Would you mind checking my recent story out, "(Pink)y Promise"? Thank you :D

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Peace Nakiyemba
13:42 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you for your feedback Deborah. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Now off to check out yours ;).

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Gopika Ashokan
14:13 Aug 07, 2020

This story is about something lots of people relate to. And you really displayed through your writing that how frightening and confusing this whole career process could be, both for parents and children. Thanks for writing!

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Peace Nakiyemba
15:36 Aug 07, 2020

Thank you for reading and commenting Gopika. I appreciate it greatly. It's definitely a story close to my own experience so it was nice to get to examine it from a number of perspectives. And am glad you could get the emotion in it.

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