La Motivación

Madeline Kovanda

The night was cool and empty. I sat in the parking lot, sitting with my CD player blaring music. The stale air that stayed locked in the car was freed into the cool air of the night. I watched the gas store sign flicker and decided it was time to leave. I pulled into reverse and drove onto the highway. Tears streaming down my face, I knew I wasn’t going to sleep that night.

What’s the point? The point of working until the day I die, the point of having to do everything right? If that’s the way it is, then I’ve already messed it all up.

I pulled into the driveway, the headlights lighting up the house. Again, I sat in the car, listening to my music. I had thought that if I turned it up so loud, I wouldn’t be able to hear my worried thoughts. I got out of the car, and unlocked the front door.

It was the summer before senior year, and I knew that it was going to be the worst year yet. All of the teachers were going to pressure the students to go to college or decide their career now. I hated to think about that even though I knew it was necessary. I still had no idea where I wanted to go. If someone were to ask me what I wanted at the beginning of the summer, I would have jumped with excitement explaining my plans of being some sort of interpreter. After working all summer and seeing how no amount of money I saved would ever seem to be enough, I gave up on that idea; on all of the ideas. However, part of me still wanted to get that ambition back. Being ambitious felt amazing, like nobody could stop me, or get in my way. After I lost my motivation, everything seemed to be clear. I couldn’t stop overthinking everything I had ever done.

In the morning, I slept in until noon. I had no work that day and planned on doing absolutely nothing. My sister, Natalie came into the room, looking disappointedly at me.

“So… are you just going to sleep all day?” She asked me in the doorway.

“What does it look like?” I rolled over in bed.

“Okay, well I’m going to store.” Natalie left the room.

I sat up in bed. She had seemed disappointed in me, that after working all week, I had wanted to sleep. I realized that my parents would act this way, after all, they’ve always been working. For my sister to be acting like that was rather strange; she had short shifts all week. My first reaction was to shrug and go back to bed, but instead I thought about my behavior. There wasn’t much to think about, I was either at work or asleep it seemed. I got on my phone and received a notification from an old app I used to use for Spanish class. I swiped it away, and thought about those classes. They were always so fun, and I loved to surprise people who didn’t know I spoke it. I had started an ASL class the last semester of junior year as well, and loved it.

In my closet, I grabbed my old binders out and read through them. I wrote down every word the Spanish teacher said in freshman year. My notes had calmed down in junior year, and were mostly review notes. I looked at the grammar we used to do in ASL class and got out a new paper. All afternoon, I just looked at my notes and rewrote every single major topic for my Spanish and ASL classes. It felt so good to be good and useful at something.

“Woah, you miss school or something?” My sister asked holding a bag of groceries,

“Hah.” I said with a straight face. “No, I just thought I would practice some Spanish and ASL.”

“Remember two summers ago?” She asked. “You used to read grammar books all day.” She looked at me like I was crazy.

During those summers, I had myself convinced that I was going to be fluent. In the following year, I even helped out students who only spoke Spanish in their classes.

“Yeah, that was crazy. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Well, to start off, you were thinking that you were going to become fluent. I still think you will be, I mean, you’re taking AP Spanish, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

That next day at work, I was taking an order and the lady who was standing in lines gave me a blank expression. I noticed her hands were slightly moving after she got her phone from her handbag. I signed the word for “sign language” and looked at her. Her eyes lit up and she started signing to me. After taking her order, we stood and we signed to each other a little more.

“How did you learn sign language?” She signed to me.

“In school and by reading, I am not completely fluent though.” I signed back to her.

When I got off of work, I thought about her for a moment. She was one of the many customers, who didn’t speak English. I remembered how her eyes lit up and she seemed so hopeful. That was the best feeling, the feeling of being able to help someone, even if it was a simple order.

When I arrived home, I took out my ASL notes once again and started taking new notes while following the books I had bought. I knew I still had a long way to go before becoming even close to being fluent, but I was prepared to go through a long learning process to be able to understand more people and to be able to meet more people through a new language. Even though I seemed to have lost my hope for the future, now I was sure that I was going to learn these languages and even more, have my career choice be one to help people in other languages.