Chapter 54:

Valerie Boateng: Painful Past Part 5

New Leaf!

We arrived at the front door of Valerie’s home. The house was not grand, only big enough for an average family. Bookmark here

“M-Mom, I’m home! And I brought a, um, s-someone from school!..”Bookmark here

“Please excuse me.”Bookmark here

We took off our shoes and Valerie signaled for me to put my bag down next to a counter next to the door.Bookmark here

When we took a couple of steps, a woman appeared from the side and stood in front of us. I assume this is Valerie’s mom because she looks like an older version of her — black eyes, brown skin, long brown hair, but braided. She was only slightly taller than Valerie, and she was wearing a purple hoodie as loungewear.Bookmark here

“Oh, welcome home sweetie. Um… Who’s this?”Bookmark here

She signaled at me so I stepped forward and bowed in introduction.Bookmark here

“Hello, I am Ren Morales. I am a classmate of Valerie. Nice to meet you.”Bookmark here

“Oh, how polite… Well, welcome, and make yourself at home…”Bookmark here

“Thank you.”Bookmark here

As Mrs Boateng began to walk away, Valerie raised her arm to stop her.Bookmark here

“A-Actually Mom, um… I want to talk to you about something…”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

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“So, what do you want?”Bookmark here

Valerie and I were sitting on a sofa in her living room, and Mrs Boateng was sitting in another one in front of us. I looked around and saw that there were many portraits of people all over the walls — I assume that they are Valerie’s relatives. There were also landscapes that are not common in this area.Bookmark here

I see… Mrs Boateng is attached to her birthplace...Bookmark here

I looked over at Valerie beside me. And although she seemed really confident earlier, she was slightly shaking now. Small droplets were forming on her face. Her legs and arms were marginally trembling. She was looking down and she was breathing slightly deeper than usual. She is scared… Scared? Or worried?Bookmark here

I put my hand on her leg.Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

She raised her head and looked at me. Her face was clear to me — the black spots under her red eyes and her slightly unclean face was clear to me.Bookmark here

After a few seconds, she smiled and nodded in confidence. She then turned her head towards her mother in a similar manner.Bookmark here

“M-Mom, I need to talk to you about school… Um… I… I want to change!”Bookmark here

Mrs Boateng raised her eyebrow at her.Bookmark here

“Oh? Valerie, what do you mean?”Bookmark here

Mrs Boateng’s voice was harsh and serious, and I could tell that she was growing impatient.Bookmark here

“See, it’s about the courses that I’m taking. I… I want to ch-change them…”Bookmark here

“What? Why?”Bookmark here

“B-Because… It’s because I…”Bookmark here

Valerie firmly closed her fists.Bookmark here

“It’s because I don’t want to enter the medical field… I don’t want to be a doctor!”Bookmark here

Valerie’s POVBookmark here

I did it… I told Mom my opinion. But I know she just won't accept it — I’ll have to explain my view to her. I can’t handle the workload, and I won't ever because I’m just not interested in what it’ll lead to. But how do I explain it clearly to her?Bookmark here

Mom looked at me in disbelief and question — and anger.Bookmark here

“What did you say? Valerie, what did you say?”Bookmark here

Her fury was growing.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to become a doctor...”Bookmark here

Mom was steadily getting angry, but I continued — I must continue… Ren said that he’d help anytime, but I don’t want him to trouble himself with that.Bookmark here

“There are a lot of courses that I’m taking. I’m sorry, but I just can’t handle the workload. I’m just so stressed out…”Bookmark here

Mom leaned forward, but I did not falter.Bookmark here

“Like, with all of these courses, I’m just so stressed out. All of these new concepts just blend together into one and I’m constantly confused. And, um… I feel pressured.”Bookmark here

She leaned more forward, but I continued speaking calmly.Bookmark here

“Pressured… I… I don’t want to say it’s by you, but I’m feeling pressured. Pressured because most post-secondary institutions require high marks to get into them. See, I’m so focused on these marks that I think I’m losing the true reason why I attend school — to learn.”Bookmark here

She angrily stood up straight. It was intimidating and a bit harder to keep my composure.Bookmark here

“I-”Bookmark here

“That’s enough.”Bookmark here

Mom promptly stood up — the towering figure over me made me seem small...Bookmark here

What does this mean? I think… I think she’s heard enough. But it’s the truth! What will be her reaction?.. I can tell that it will probably be one that I find unfavorable, but…Bookmark here

“Excuses, Valerie, those are just excuses!”Bookmark here

She pointed at me as I braced myself.Bookmark here

“You’re just slacking! The only reason you’re being pressured is that you aren’t doing good enough! And what’s the reason you’re not doing good enough? It’s because you’re growing lazier!”Bookmark here

Mom made a face as if a realization came to her.Bookmark here

“Oh, I see… Today is the day you’re supposed to get midterm marks, isn’t it? Are you acting up because you got poor marks!? Yeah, you’re just acting up as a sorry excuse for your laziness!”Bookmark here

“N-No, I…”Bookmark here

I am not lying… This is not an excuse… And I need to tell her that!Bookmark here

I also got up from my seat.Bookmark here

“Mom, these aren’t excuses! Really, I’m being crushed by the neverending workload — it’s too much!”Bookmark here

“You’re lazy!”Bookmark here

No…Bookmark here

“No, it’s because I hate this!”Bookmark here

...I think that just provoked Mom even more. But it’s the truth!
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