American Goldfinch I always thought getting out of your parent’s household was supposed to be fun and exciting, but all I am feeling is stress and regret. I had the perfect support of my mother and father always doing everything they could to make sure I was doing well in school. My mother giving me small snacks as I finished up my homework and my father with small motivational speeches that always helped me continue when I was stuck on a homework problem. If I ever did feel like I was too stressed with the pile of homework, I could easily get in the family car and just drive to ease my mind.
Small things like these were never a problem since there was always a car available to me. I could easily drive for hours without the worry of wasting gas since I always had the money, from a job as a server, to refill the gas tank after my drive. Everything seemed to be perfect back at home except for the thought of needing to leave. I suppose I had watched too many movies where teenagers left their house at the age of eighteen to start their own life, and I felt as if I needed to do this as well.
All of this changed when I decided to move down to Austin with all of my friends who were also leaving for the same reason; to start their lives. Everything at the time seemed like a great idea, I would be living in the city where the university of my dreams, University of Texas, was located all while being with the friends that I grew up with. What could go wrong? When we moved down here, everything was great. At that moment, the location was all new with a long and beautiful river just a few miles from where we live.
The smell of the river was not the most pleasant as it smelled like water mixed with dirt and algae, but occasionally it would give off a fresh breeze of air that would refresh you as you calmly sat next to it to hear the calm and passing flow of water. The view of the sun reflecting its waves from the water was a great mood-setter for any occasion, especially when doing homework. The feeling of only being around college students who were living here for the same reason was welcoming. It was as if someone placed a banner high in the sky saying “Welcome Home”.
We managed to find an apartment with a great price which was going to be paid off with my leftover financial aid money. The only worry I had at the time was to making sure I pass all of my classes, which was the deal my parents and I could agree on to let me move out. I soon realized I was left without any money since I paid for my six months of rent ahead of time. As the days went by I began to think this probably was not such a good idea. I did get rent out of the way, but I only had enough money, that I saved from being a server, to buy groceries that would only last me a week.
I was forced to call my parents and ask for money and began to stress over money issues. The more I lived in Austin the more stress I seemed to acquire. I was forced to take the bus to class every morning as transportation also became an issue. I no longer had the snacks and motivational speeches to help me continue my homework; I couldn’t take the hour drives to ease my mind; the money was now all gone and I had too much pride to call my parents for support. It all slowly began to pile up on my shoulders.
On just another usual day I woke up five minutes late and was forced to run two blocks, where the bus was located, and go to school. I arrived twenty minutes late which was an automatic absence, missed a quiz that was due at the start of class, and was too tired from running to even pay attention. This was not the first time something like this had happened due to lack of transportation. I left class feeling like I was not meant to leave my supportive family and be by myself at this age. My mind was set on going back into the arms of my supporting parents where I could find refuge.
As I waited at the bus stop, I sat in the cold, hard metal benches while mentally blocking every sound. I was in cogitative silence looking at the environment around me. The branches of trees filled with leaves being swept back and forth by the mild winds. People walking by keeping to themselves, but occasionally have small talk with someone nearby. The smell of diesel slowly burning as the large busses pass the bus stop. I was ready to head back home and begin packing until something finally broke my silence.
I remember hearing a bird chirp that quickly caught my attention. At that moment the chirp was loud and sounded as if he was two feet away from me, so I began looking and I spotted him at the peak of a nearby bush. He was a beautiful yellow bird with a small black spot at the top of his forehead cheerfully chirping to the world around him. He was giving out long, twittering “per-chic-o-ree” or “po-ta-to chip” chirps that seem to be directed to me. I stared as he continued to chirp happily, ruling the bush all by himself with his bright yellow feathers.
I continued to stay there watching as with every chirp he would repeat the same movements; a big gasp of air until you can tell his lungs were filled as his tiny chest went from the size of a penny to a quarter. A couple minutes later he scatters into a hole in the bush where I was able to look to find out he made a nest that looks like an open cup constructed of plant material. The bird, who I was assuming was a boy, was actually a golden yellow girl bird that was ruling her kingdom and protecting her kids while happily chirping at the top of her castle all by herself.
Her chirps continued as she stayed in her hole inside the bush which amplified her twittering “po-ta-to chip” and “per-chic-o-ree” and I knew she was trying to tell me something. At that moment I realized she was not merely asking for a potato chip, but telling me that I can do this. I can single-handedly handle all of my responsibilities. I began to be in a pensive mood, and soon I understood that at times I will struggle, but it’s the struggle I must overcome to find refuge, not in my parents, but in myself.