Sitting beside me was my father, gently holding my hand; pressing it tighter to secretly signal me, “Kid, it’s going to be alright. Find the humour in it”.
The disciplinary report was filled with red-flags, so was my report-card; as though they’d slit my wrist and used the blood as ink.
Wiped the floor clean of any evidence of any wrongdoing.
As they read their statements, one by one, slowly butchering every ounce of hope I’d had left.
“There isn’t any hope for him. He has a complete disregard for authority and I don’t see how his behaviour could possibly lead him to a successful future.”, said the Supervisor.
The Principal promptly followed, “But there’s always an option”, there always is, isn’t it? — I recall thinking.
“Unless YOU, as a Parent, make the right decision here today. We can assure you that his future would be much different. A successful one. That’s what we aim for here.”
It felt like an advertisement, and everybody in the room felt like programmed robots.
“What decision?”, asked my father as he clenched my hand tighter he’d done earlier.
“A decision to outline a path for him through the appropriate methods. We can make sure he succeeds.”, a wonderful sales pitch by the Principal.
I guess my dad wasn’t in the mood for shopping.
“You’re telling me, there’s no hope for him here. Yet you’re telling me there’s an option”, the principal attempted to interrupt but my dad continued to speak anyways, “That doesn’t sit well with me. You’re telling me my kid can’t do well here. Let’s just give up on him all-together. He doesn’t belong here, right?”
“That’s not how I meant it, Sir.”, suddenly a touch of respect had appeared in the Principal’s authoritative voice.
I continued looking at my shoes, how my left one was shinier than the one on my right.
My dad let the principal continue, curious as to where this conversation was being steered towards.
“You have two wonderful elder children, our most brightest students here, a clear example of how discipline and hard-work pays off. Both have set the standard for exemplary students. Their names are featured every year in our School-Book…”, He paused to check if my father was paying attention — he was — so the Principal continued, “We know how hard it must be for you, to have to sit here. An esteemed individual such as yourself, can understand the value of that. Sir, you need to look at your son and see him for what he is — he needs discipline, he’s not worthy of attention if he can’t bring himself to focus in school. Instead he runs around ridiculing teachers. Doesn’t that sort-of behaviour embarrass your reputation, doesn’t it make you wonder if he’s even your Son?”
He might as well have signed a death-sentence because nobody could’ve imagined what was to follow.
My dad, gently letting go of my hand, whispered to me — “Hey, go play outside for a bit. I’ll be right out…”.
So I did, running towards my favourite person in the school — the receptionist.
Whilst I chatted to my dear receptionist, telling her of how I think I was about to get kicked out of school and probably catch hell from my dad; we could hear the brisk tone of my father seeping through the closed door, echoing through the hallway.
I thought this would be the day my father would finally slap me right in the face, because there’s only so many times parents can hold off from kicking the shit out of a young failure of a kid.
Instead, a jolly looking fella exited from the office — with a yellow file in his hand.
Smiling at me, thanking the receptionist for looking out for me.
As he approached, I remember thinking “Fuck, that file is going to meet my face real soon.”
Instead my dad asked me to read it out-loud, share it with my dear friend — the receptionist.
“Dear Principal -,
I’d like to inform you that I no longer deem this school worthy of MY SON.
I find that not only is he an EXEMPLARY example of what his elder siblings represent, I find his approach quite creative.
It is with absolutely no disappointment that I wish to inform you, he won’t be following the path you’ve chosen for him.
I trust he’s able of pave his own.
“You might be a little shit, but you’re still my son. And your elder siblings, are still your family; even if they get featured in the school book more often than you do.”
After the years that followed, my elder siblings graduated whilst helping me along at home — making sure I was getting enough attention, to not feel rejected.
My dad would check up on me and take me for a drive every once in a while, to test my practical knowledge.
Finally, I’d register myself privately and graduate earlier than I would’ve had I stayed in school.
After taking a break for 6-months, I’d go on to enrol at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Australia. After my sophomore year, I’d go on to join the school’s research department as an intern. Two years later I’d become a Research Assistant. Three Years Later I’d graduate. In my fourth year, I’d go on to endeavour on an accelerated Master’s Program. Amidst the fourth year, I’d receive Two offers of employment. In my Fifth Year, I’d graduate with a Doctorate. In my Sixth Year, I’d turn down both job offers; and continue to work with the university. In my Seventh Year, I’d started saving up and investing. In my Eight Year, after quitting my first corporate job; I’d start my own company. In my Ninth Year, I’d fulfil the company’s goal to be established as a competent research firm. And in the Tenth Year, I’d give it all up — to pursue writing.
And in my Eleventh year since the day that my destiny was decided by my High-School, I continue on my journey.
…and I wonder if this is the plan my Principal and his colleagues had outlined for how the rest of my life would play out; I’d like for them to know, if it was — it worked out just fine.