Thursday, March 13, 2008

i understand, Laura

Friday night came again. Laura and Carrie washed the dishes as usual. As usual, they brought their books to the lamplit table. Pa was in his chair, reading the paper. Ma was gently rocking and her knitting needles were clicking as they always did. As usual, Laura opened her history book.
Suddenly she could not bear it all. She thrust back her chair, slammed her book shut and thumped it down on the table. Pa and Ma started, and looked at her in surprise.
"I don't care!" she cried out. "I don't want to study! I don't want to learn! I don't want to teach school, ever!"
Ma looked as stern as it was possible for her to look. "Laura," she said, " I know you would not swear, but losing your temper and slamming things is as bad as saying the words. Let us have no more wooden swearing."
Laura did not answer.
"What is the matter, Laura?" Pa asked. "Why don't you want to learn, and to teach school?"
"Oh, I don't know!" Laura said in despair. "I am so tired of everything. I want-I want something to happen. I want to go West. I guess I want to just play, and I know I am too old," she almost sobbed, a thing she never did.
"Why, Laura!" Ma exclaimed.
"Never mind," Pa said soothingly. "You have been studying too hard, that is all."
"Yes, put away your books for this one evening," said Ma. "In the last bundle of Youth's Companions, there are still some stories that we have not read. You may read one to us, Laura, wouldn't you like that?"
"Yes, Ma," Laura answered hopelessly. Even reading a story was not what she wanted. She did not know what she wanted, but she knew she could not have it, whatever it was.

2 comments:

on to june said...

Yep. The elusive "it"...

Dodger of Sheep said...

The curious thing was, though, that Steve did not know that he knew the meaning of life. But apparently a lot of other people did. So you can understand Steve's confusion when day after day, people from all countries of the world and all walks of life would suddenly show up at his cave in the forest and ask, "Oh great and wise Steve, what is the meaning of life?"