I cannot tell the difference between when my eyes are open and when they are closed. I blink a few times to be sure, but mom’s already knocking on my door fussing about why I’m not out of bed yet. I drag my legs out of the covers and place them on the cool wooden floor boards. I swing the rest of my body into a sitting position. and slowly test to see whether my legs will hold my weight when just my eyelids on their own feel like they weigh a million pounds. Mom walks in and glares at me, arms folded across her chest, impatient, so I tell her about how heavy I feel. She looks me up and down once, then tuts angrily.
“Only a building would weigh a million pounds. Get up. You’re going to be late!”
The sun is just starting to rise by the time I make my way outside. Mom was right. She always is. I’m not going to make it to class on time. I walk slowly along the sidewalk and consider my options. If I run, I’ll get there 15 minutes after class has started, and will either be forced to wait outside the room until it’s over, or might be allowed to stand at the back, practicing the skill of holding my hands above my head for 45 minutes straight. But if I don’t go…
I look around me at the string of cars slowly navigating the streets. Even at this ridiculous time of the day, people have places they need to be. I could take a right and make my way to the park. It should be quiet with all the children packed into their respective classrooms. But… I shake the thought from my head and keep walking. They’d call mom if I didn’t arrive. They might call her anyway if I get there late, but at least she’ll be expecting that. I’ll be in for a long talking to, but nowhere near as bad as it would be if she got told I’d never bothered to go at all. I can practically hear her voice screeching in my head.
“You’re going to get nowhere in life! Don’t you understand what we’ve sacrificed to get you into this school! And this is how you repay us?”
Of course, it wouldn’t even occur to her that something might have happened to me. I could get run over in the street and all mom would care about is how far I’d be falling behind. It isn’t worth the half an hour of fun for the lecture I’d be given, so I let my tired feet carry me forward until they lead me all the way to the school gates. I look up at the towering building, surrounded by others just like it, only the neon sign distinguishing it from the other skyscrapers with neon signs all their own. I take a deep breath and walk inside, to be greeted by the receptionist.
“You’re late. We don’t accept tardiness at this institution. Your mother has been called.”
It’s going to be a long day.
Kyoikumama (Japanese) – A mother who relentlessly pushes her children towards academic achievement.
Write at least 500 words inspired by the meaning of the word: a situation, a memory, an emotional encounter. Try, if possible, to not actually use the word itself – rather, create a moment to which the word applies, and explore it.