I just overcame a huge hurdle this morning in my writing sample for grad school. I was getting really anxious about the lack of productivity I was putting into the story and started considering throwing out the idea entirely. I only have about six pages so far and I hate how the story is coming along so far. Instead of starting something new, I printed out what I have and I’m working on it right now. Turns out that what I have isn’t so bad and it’s not too far off from what I intend to write about. I’m starting to feel a lot better and my confidence is slowly coming back. I knew writing was a very serious thing to do and it requires just as much mental strength as any other job, but I never expected be so disheartened about it. I thought I was going at a slow pace before, but now I’m going even slower and it is definitely helping.
The story I’ll write for you guys will be about overcoming an obstacle. Hope you guys enjoy.
A Cry For Help
“I’ve tried a thousand times already.”
“The same way?”
“The way I taught you how to do it?”
“Yes,” I say, losing confidence. I know he sensed it. He’s giving me that fucking look again.
“Well there’s you’re problem.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve done the same thing over and over again, you think. I believe you, but that’s the problem. If you keep doing it the same way every time and every time it doesn’t work, why wouldn’t you just do it another way?”
“If I did it another way, you’d be pissed.”
“No, I’d be pissed if you didn’t do what I asked, which was to get the job done. Now go off and do it before I get someone else to,” he says, walking away, turning his back to me. If I did that to him, he’d kill me, I think.
I get back to what I was doing, wondering why he’d tell me to do something a certain way if he knew it wouldn’t work that way. I know he likes to fuck with me, but why like this? I wish I knew what he’s hinting at, if anything.
“Now, this goes in here and that goes there,” I say out loud, while carefully twisting the screws into place, the way he told me. “Fuck!”
The screw popped out. I think to myself about how I’m getting nowhere with this and what he’s thinking about in there. He has to hear me cursing. Why won’t he just come and help? We’d be done five times by now if he’d just show me how to put this screw into place without destroying the wall any further.
“Why am I doing this?” I ask, yelling across the house. “Why can’t you do it?” I plead.
“Just get it done,” I hear him say faintly.
It’s just one screw, I think to myself. Why is it being so difficult? Why must I do this? Why can’t he do it? These thoughts keep popping up in my head and I know I won’t get an answer until the job’s done. You know what? Even when the job is done, I probably won’t get an answer.
I want to use the electric screw driver, because it’s easier on my hands, but he won’t let me. Why? Is this just a sick way to get me to overcome something that can’t be treated in the macho way he’s devoted his life to emulating, I think out loud. He’s a big puss. He acts like he’s done something with his life, but he just gets other people to do whatever he wants. Now I’m wondering why and how I fell victim.
The wall is solid concrete, and he wants me to get this special screw into the wall with nothing but a small screwdriver. I can drive to the store less than five minutes away and buy the equipment to get the job done correctly, but he wants me to do it his way, even though his way doesn’t work. And, he knows it doesn’t work and still wants me to do it that way. WHY?
I try to think outside the box. The wall is perfectly flat. No cracks, no anything. Plus, he wants it dead in the middle. I go to the garage and look in his toolbox. On the back of the lid, there’s a taped picture of me when I was little, with him, my father, holding me. I wonder when it was taken. Probably when we were still in Astoria. I catch myself getting sidetracked and find a hammer. I take the screw and try to hammer it into the wall to get it started, but to no avail. The wall wins this round.
I go back to the tool box. I find a bigger screw driver, to get a better grip, but that doesn’t work either. I’m screaming and pacing the room at this point, and my father comes in, attempting to calm me down. I’m basically in tears and I just finally ask for help.
“Dad, just fucking help me, please!” I beg.
“What was that?”
“Help. Me,” I say slowly, “please, just help.”
“You finally learned, son.”
“What do you mean?”
“How to ask for help. I’ve been watching you go crazy. You let your ego get the best of you.”
“What are you talking about?” I start yelling angrily.
“Calm down! I noticed–well, your mother noticed you’ve been spending a lot of time by yourself and your grades in school have been total shit, to say the least.”
“I’m not done,” he says.” There are people all around you, willing to help you if you just ask, but you never ask. Why?”
“I don’t know.”
“You do know. You think you’re better than everyone.”
“That’s not true!”
“Well, what made you think you could screw a fucking screw in a concrete wall? You’d have to be totally oblivious to think you could do something like that. Now the wall’s fucked because of you. Now, go to the wall with the wood paneling and put the screw in there. When you’re done, grab the picture in the toolbox and put a frame around it. Hang it up on the wall and remember that I’m here for you, whether you want me to be or not.”
“Go do it now. Don’t apologize; it’s not necessary. Do you feel more comfortable about asking for help now?”
“Not really,” I say, leading to a smack in the back of the head. My father always had a unique way of putting me in my place. I still don’t really get why he didn’t just ask me if I was okay. Maybe he’s hiding something from me.