A List of Wishes

1.) I wish I was taller. Really, it’s a world of hurt to be short. Reaching things on top of the refrigerator suddenly becomes a huge struggle. And walking through the hallways. When you’re short, you can’t force your way through people – you’re constantly forced to walk behind these ridiculously slow guys with their swag or ditzy girls gossiping. It’s infuriating, and you could worm through them, granted. But wouldn’t it be so much easier for people to move out of your way? And tall people – their jeans look good on them. Whenever I go shopping for jeans, they’re all too long. The stores have some jeans actually labeled ‘short,’ but, let me tell you, designers do not have us in mind, because they’re still too long. I’m forced to cuff every pair of jeans I own. All I’m asking for is two inches. What would go so wrong if I were 5’3’’ instead of 5’1’’? Two inches. That’s it.

2.) I wish I didn’t have to take exams. That sounds stupid, but really, they stress me out more than anything in the world. Before my Euro exam in tenth grade, I thought crazy stuff. I remember thinking that if I broke both my legs and fractured my wrist, they couldn’t possibly make me take that exam. It’s not that I don’t enjoy learning things, because I do, I just don’t like the enormous pressure that’s put on you in three hours. And in the past, I’ve performed well under pressure, but there’s always that voice inside of me saying ‘this could be the time you really screw it up.’ I wish I could just take the class and be done with it. What did the college board ever mean to me, anyway?

3.) I wish to know things. I remember when Anne first went off to college, and she learned all this cool stuff about Descartes and Tennyson and I was really, really jealous. I constantly thirst for knowledge. I want to be able to speak intelligently with my Grandpa about Napoleon’s conquest of Russia and the Egyptian empire. I want to read Plato and Aristotle and understand the basis of the Western Heritage. I want to travel, to see the Mona Lisa, the Fertile Crescent, St. Petersburg and the pyramids. One of the reasons I’ve never desired to experiment with alcohol or drugs is because, even if only temporarily, they blind you from the world. I want always to have my eyes open. I’m not ready to die. There is too much in this world that I am aching to know and dying to see: I’m not ready to leave it behind. I think the more you know about the world, the more you can participate in it, and the more you can participate, the better your chances for true happiness become.

4.) I wish for a place in the lives of the people I love. Not necessarily a big place, but a place big enough that I can see them flourish. As my friendships grow, I’m constantly floored at how truly good and admirable other people are. I don’t want to miss out landmarks of their lives. Take our little sister, Fiona. She is the most beautiful and talented girl to ever walk the face of the planet, and I cannot wait to see her blossom as she grows. I want to be there when she gets a lead in a play, or becomes a great scientist. I want to be there when Anne gets married and becomes the happiest girl on earth. I want to see our little brother write a philosophy book and see our mom receive her master’s degree. I want to see Priscilla get swept off her feet and Noah get his ego taken down three notches by some girl no one’s ever heard of, or when Brandon finds his cure for cancer. I want to be there when these things happen because I love these people, and, frankly, I can’t bear the thought of forgetting them. And I selfishly wish that they don’t forget about me. All reason tells me in fifteen years I won’t even remember their names, but I wish whole heartedly I won’t forget them because I firmly believe they’re too good to be forgotten.

5.) I wish for a guarantee in myself. One of my high school English teachers once told me about ‘The Geek,’ and how he would kill a chicken with his bare hands just for a beer. And how this, in some sickening way, entertained people, appealing to the worst in human nature. My dad told me a similar anecdote from this movie called ‘The Elephant Man.’ To paraphrase, this guy is walking through the circus with a girl on each arm, and you can tell, sooner or later that night, that he’s going to be “getting some”. As they walk through the circus, they see this stark naked, tragically deformed man. He has some disease that cause his bones to stick out of his face in all sorts of different directions; he’s the freak show of the circus. And as the guy and the two girls stand there and laugh at him, you can tell they’re somehow getting some kind of warped sexual pleasure from the situation, like looking at this man is a twisted kind of foreplay for them all. And I think inside every one of us, there’s the potential to get the same kind of pleasure from the same kind of source. I think we all have a dark, crooked desire inside ourselves. I wish to conquer that desire; I wish to never be that man; I wish to never be The Geek. I wish for a guarantee that I won’t ever slip into that part of myself, that I won’t ever succumb to the dark desires with which we are all doomed to struggle. I wish for that guarantee.

Love always,
Sheila

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