The American Dream | Teen Ink

The American Dream

March 15, 2022
By Savannahomer, West Jordan, Utah
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Savannahomer, West Jordan, Utah
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Author's note:

This piece includes a symbol that is used throughout to represent the problems that are going on throughout the story.

Sara walked into the room filled with a warm breeze blowing in from the window. She dashed over and plopped down on the couch located against the center of the back wall. She snatched the remote and clicked on the TV. As she surfed the chanels, she let her mind wander. She had a good life, stable income from her parents, and got everything she needed to live a normal happy life. Except she wasn’t happy. To her, happiness was a big house with lots of rooms and a giant backyard. The backyard would have a pool with a tall slide and chairs and umbrellas on the side. There would be a grand dining room with a long table full or more food than you could eat. Everyday you would have a new outfit and shoes to match. It wasn’t that her life was terrible, its just that there was so much more out there for her. She had the opportunity to live any life she wanted, it all depended on her education. So how far was she willing to go to get the life she wanted?

“What are you up to today?” said Saras best friend, Jessica, over the phone. “Wanna hang out?”

Sara looked down at all the homework on her desk and decided to take a break. “Sure.” she said back. She said bye to her mom and walked over to Jessica’s apartment two doors down. They sat inside chatting and laughing and just enjoying being together. When they saw the rain outside, Jessica said, “Remember when we used to play in the rain when we were little? Those were the good days, when we didn’t have to worry about anything.”

“Yeah we were so carefree. Sometimes I wish I could go back.”

“You know what? Who says we have to be little to play in the rain?” They laughed, grabbed their jackets and ran out the door. They went out onto the sidewalk and just danced around, laughing and pushing each other. Sara saw her little self dancing around with Jessica in the rain, jumping into puddles and trying to catch the drops on their tongues. Both their curly heads bouncing around, Saras dark brown hair and Jessica's bright red hair. They were so happy and didn’t have to worry about the future. They didn’t have to worry about any school decisions or any big life choices. As she danced in the rain now, she pretended she was still little and carefree and let herself forget all her problems just for a little while.

A couple days later, they found themselves shopping together. As they walked around they saw these cute little flower pots holding all different kinds of flowers. They decided it would be fun to get one to put in each of their rooms. One pot was smooth and white with four gray stripes running along the top. There were three little blue flowers inside with green leaves coming out of it. As she admired the little flower pot, Jessica was eying a completely different flower pot. It was dark gray and rough. It had a little chip along the rim and the flowers were orange, pink, and purple. Instead of neat little leaves, there were messy vines tangled around each other and spilling over the edges. “I like this one.” Jessica said, “It has a good personality.” Sara shrugged, it was cute, just in a different way. 

One day after school Jessica wanted Sara to come over and just hang out, but Sara had to cancel. School was getting the best of her. She had to cancel on Jessica multiple times in the past couple weeks and she could tell Jessica was getting a little annoyed but was still trying to understand. She came home and her mom told her how she seems so busy now and asked if maybe she’d want to take a break and go to the movies with her. Sara turned her down saying she just has too much to do. With all the concurrent classes and extra credit assignments she is taking on, she just won’t have enough time if she’s still planning on graduating with her associates.

The next day Jessica suggested they do homework together over at her house, so Sara agreed since at least they could still get work done while hanging out. As they were talking Sara mentions, “You know what I want in the future? I want to live in a small little house surrounded by a giant backyard with lots of trees to climb and a tire swing or maybe even a treehouse. I want a little family that I can play card games with and go on bike rides with. If I get all that, I’ll be happy.” Sara glanced over and saw Jessica’s flower pot sitting on the window sill. She thought about how it was so different from the one she bought, but it made Jessica just as happy as Sara’s flower pot made Sara happy.

“My birthday’s coming up.” says Jessica. “I’m turning 18 so I want to throw a huge party. It’s a pretty big age so I thought it would only make sense. It’ll only be the best if you’re there though.”

“Don’t worry I’d never miss it.” Sara said back. 

As days got closer to the party, Sara was found busier than ever studying hard in each class. Jessica was found ditching classes every once and a while saying, “It’s no big deal I can make it up later.” She would go out to lunch, inviting Sara who couldn’t go of course, and push off her homework for later. Sara thought that was really irresponsible of her but it was her choice. 

Jessica’s birthday party was on Friday night. Sara was trying to get all her work done so she could just show up and enjoy her time there. One day she stayed after school to get some extra help from her teacher. Her teacher was talking earlier about a couple of colleges that were coming in to talk to students and tell them what to expect and give them more information on their futures. Sara thought this was a perfect opportunity for her so she grabbed one of the pamphlets on her way out. 

She prepared questions to ask about the colleges as the time got closer. She looked at the pamphlet. It will be held after school on Friday at the main gym. Jessica’s party was on Friday but she could just leave early and it would all work out. 

Friday came around and after school she went to the gym. They had some professors there that actually taught at some of the colleges so this was a perfect opportunity to see what it was like. They had set up chairs and there was a little platform for the speakers to stand on with a microphone. One after the other, the speakers gave out the information and speeches they had prepared. Sara wrote down everything she could in her notebook. Afterwards, there was an opportunity to ask questions and then even after that you could walk around and talk to the professors and ask anything you wanted. She took advantage of both those opportunities and asked everything she had on her mind. 

After a while she glanced down at her watch. It was 7:00! Already two hours into Jessica's party and she was still here! She noticed all the missed calls from Jessica and a text saying, ‘Where are you?’ She dashed out of there, got in her car, and sped over there as fast as she could. It was 30 minutes away and she realized she was out of gas. She decided to quickly drive over to the nearest gas station to fill up. What would Jessica say? She said she would be there! 

By the time she arrived she ran in and immediately saw Jessica standing among about a hundred other teenagers, dancing to music and jumping around. When she saw Sara, her face fell and immediately she walked off in the other direction. Sara ran after her and grabbed her arm, “Wait! Jessica! I'm so sorry!”

She turned around and made a disapproving face, “Where were you?”

“I’m so sorry I got caught up asking questions about the collages…”

“Oh really? It seems like that's all you care about lately. Do you even care that I was depending on you to be here? Did you stop to think about how I felt? Seems like all you worry about is what is best for you. In fact, maybe it’s best for you to just leave.”

“No wait!” But Jessica had already walked off wiping away some tears. Sara felt awful. She left and on her ride home she thought about how what had been so important to her before, was no longer so important. She came home and told her mom everything. She also told her mom how she was frustrated that Jessica had not taken school seriously and that’s all Sara wanted to do. Saras mom looked at her and said, “Not everyone wants the same thing. I know you want to have the best life for yourself and you intend to get a good education in order to do so. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Jessica’s version of happiness is different. She wants to get the best out of her high school experience and see where life takes her, and there is nothing wrong with that either. But, even though school is important to you, you should never let it get in the way of your relationships with other people if you can help it. Your friends and experiences are just as important.”

That night she went over to Jessica's house. Jessica's mom let her in and Sara knocked on her bedroom door. At first Jessica was unresponsive but then she let her come in. She was sitting on the bed and Sara came to sit next to her. Sara apologized for what she did and they both talked it out. 

After their conversation, Sara agreed that she would still make time for Jessica even with all her school work and Jessica agreed that she would understand if Sara had to focus on her school work. Sara thought back to flower pots they had both bought. She thought of how just like their flower pots, they both wanted different things. Neither thing was better than the other. There was no right or wrong choice. Both of their ideas of an ideal future made them happy even though they were so different. Even though they wanted two separate things, it was okay and both of them would get to live the life they wanted.

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