You Don’t Have To Work So Hard (Part 1)
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Originally Posted on: May 24, 2022
Part 1 (1/3)
Cover Picture: "You Don't Have to Work so Hard"
Cover Picture by: Meiliyl
After bringing up the idea of dropping out of school in order to help financially support the two of them, Oleander is severely scolded by Fuchsia. Still, he doesn’t let go of the idea of finding a job and gets one behind Fuchsia’s back anyway. Since he was young, Oleander was one-sidedly taken care of by Fuchsia. Fuchsia, being his singular guardian, learnt the tough lesson of dealing with issues independently, so Oleander is desperate to find any way to ease Fuchsia’s burden.
“YOU WANT TO WHAT?!”
I flinched. When was the last time I ever heard Fuchsia yell? I can’t remember. For as far back as I can recall, he never seemed to tire from smiling. No matter what mess I got myself into, whether I broke something, fought with someone, or failed a test, I only ever met his soft smile and gentle coaxing.
Truthfully, I now wish he weren’t so patient with me.
“I- I said I want to put school aside for now and find a job for myself,” I repeated. “Having a job will give me working experience, and I can earn money as well-”
“Let me get this straight. You want to drop out of school to get a job.” He cooly cut me off in such a matter-of-fact way I could hear the impatience oozing out.
“Yeah, because I want to be able to earn some money myself. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job, if that’s what you’re worried about. I can find a good part-time and still come back in the evenings to help you out here,” I explained to him, only to be met with a slow shake of the head.
“Is this because you can’t go on that field trip? I’m sorry, but it’s really too expensive. There are always plenty of other opportunities in the future.” Fuchsia’s tone eased considerably, like he was once again persuading a young child.
This irked me.
“What the heck are you talking about? What does a school trip have to do with my desire to earn some money, huh? This isn’t about me or my pocket money, I’m doing this for yo-”
“YOU don’t even think about dropping out of school! I don’t want to hear about you giving up your education for me, okay? I’m not someone who needs to be supported by their younger brother who’s still attending high school! I don’t have high standards, but my bottom line is that you graduate high school. Understand?” His finger jabbed me in the chest. Though I say jabbed, it was closer to a forceful tap; yet again with his leniency towards me.
“If you continue with this half-hearted effort towards studying, then all my efforts really will go to waste. Find an apprenticeship or a college or a university; whatever you choose, I’ll support you. Just don’t be in a hurry to make money right now.”
I figured he would say something like this, what else was I expecting? I get that studying is important, especially in this day and age, but I can’t help feeling like baggage dragging at his legs. Studying just doesn’t seem like enough.
“What’s the point,” I mumbled, “if I get a well-paying job only after a whole decade? Isn’t that practically useless in the present?”
“OLEANDER!” Fuchsia snapped. I winced, unaware that my barely audible complaint would bring out such a fire. His eyes widened a hint before he closed them and massaged his temples, sighing deeply. “I’m sorry, Oleander, I didn’t mean to shout at you. I suppose I’m a bit tired from today.” Fuchsia apologised politely, his voice once again laced with tenderness. “I’m going up now. Remember to put the dishes into the sink when you’re done eating and turn off the lights, I’ll wash them in the morning. Please don’t cast aside school so easily. It is important, even if you don’t get immediate results. And again, I’m sorry, Oleander.”
I simply stood there as Fuchsia walked out and closed the door. My hands, which I only just realised were clenched tight, loosened as I heard his footsteps fade away. My sight dropped downwards, examining the tile floor as my hand traced the brim of the bowl in front of me. The rice had long gone cold, and my appetite had disappeared with it.
I wanted to lessen the burden on him, but it seems I just added a heap more. If only I could actually be of help; he already does so much for me. After our parents decided to ‘come together and cast off their old lives’, Fuchsia chose to raise me, a child from a past marriage, over his education. I suppose that’s why he’s so adamant that I continue mine. That just makes me feel a lot worse.
I wiped the table, cleaned up and tidied the place so that he wouldn’t have to do it first thing in the morning. Closing the lights, I slowly trudged upstairs, bathing in the silence that invaded the house since Fuchsia left. My head felt heavy, as if an enormous weight tied it down; maybe, hopefully, it’s just because I’m tired.
Hopefully, It’ll be gone in the morning.
(To be continued)
[Publisher's Note: The entire story was originally published on this website on May 24, 2022. It was further split into three parts with the latter two published as new posts on August 15, 2022. ]