Making the Right Choices

I never make the right choices,

Never living up to what's expected

But there's a rush of panic, a fear of failure

I don't want to be the only one rejected

So I get home late again that night,

But something inside of me has changed

I pull open a textbook, I do a problem set

I expend energy like never before in this domain

I study for an upcoming test, eyes so heavy

From nights of sleep deprivation

Bent over books, the light on my desk always on

Now the pencil is in my hand, and I'm thinking

My friends laugh at my face the next week

When our teacher congratulates me on my mark

I stand up in front of the class, my eyes lowered

I hear Joey call out "Freak!", and I feel a little alarmed

All of my friends go out to celebrate that Friday night

Even though none of them except me passed the exam

They call me up at ten at night, happy voices against my ear

Inviting me to party it up in Stacy's dad's old Trans Am

I lower the phone from my ear, and rest my gaze

Upon the pile of assignments sitting before me

Through the static of yesterday, I hear "Don't be a loser!"

But deep down I know what I need to do, so a loser I will be

I hang up the line, just as my mom enters my room

She looks shocked to see that I'm staying in on a Friday night

Then she sees what I'm actually doing and her eyes sort of bug out

I'm afraid she'll have a stroke, but then her face softens at the sight

She sits down on the edge of my bed, reaching for my head

And gives a maternal ruffle of my hair, her smile reaching to her eyes

She doesn't say anything, just sits there quietly as I work

And grabs a book from my pile, sits back, kicks her feet up and sighs

That night something changed within me, I know

My mother's presence steering me toward a different future

Angling me to make something of myself, to grow and learn

And after receiving a diploma, I don't feel like such a loser

I lost almost all of my friends, but I made some new ones, too

And now I'm off to college with them, thick as thieves

Darren swings 'round to pick me up, we're headed to the city

My mother is standing in the driveway holding my father, watching us leave

From here on out, I know what I've got to do

Study hard like it's no one's business, and turn down the weed

Classes start Monday, and I'm ready to tackle it all head on

My mother has planted in me a tiny, hopeful seed

Darren laughs when I show up at his party

Our dorms are on opposite sides of the campus

He hands me a red cup, ushers me inside

And then heads over to a girl sitting on one of his couches

I'm genuinely happy to be here, in this scene

But I can see the line between being smashed and a good time

Some chick is already puking into Darren's toilet out back

What a shame; the party only started at nine

I filter through the bodies, making introductions

Getting to know my classmates and peers

A few of them are really cool guys, some awesome chicks

And then there's the select few I feel like I should fear

The next morning I wake up, yawning in my own bed

That's when I get the call, Darren asking me to come over

When I get to his place, there's a girl passed out on his couch

He nods at her, asks me to bring her back and says her name is Clover

He shoves a piece of paper into my hand, her address on it

With a sigh I lift her up onto my back, groaning

She's light, sure, but I was in bed all of five minutes ago

And my mind is still foggy because it's so early in the morning

When I get Clover back to her roommates, they're so relieved

A girl with blue eyes thanks me and invites me in

I tell her thanks, but I've got class in ten

The girl walks out, says she'd like to go for a little spin

Her name is Crystal, and at first she seems pretty cool

But then we come across one of the older trees on campus

And she lets out a feral yell as she runs to it, hugging it

I stop and stare, wondering what the hell she's thinking

We laugh it off later that day, when she meets me for lunch

She says the school was planning on cutting down that tree yesterday

But she persuaded them not to, it seems

I grab her 'round the shoulders and give a light squeeze to congratulate

School flashes in between my time with Crystal and Darren's buddies

I don't lose focus, though, I'm so determined to succeed

And then one night Crystal shows up, and baggie in her hand

She's getting ready to roll some fresh weed

I politely decline her offer, and she looks at me, confused

"I thought you were cool," she says, leaning on my door frame

I don't feel angry with her, just tired and a little old

And invite her into my place so I can sit her down and explain

I tell her my entire back story, and my rising from the deep

But my first three years of high school are a bit hard to recall

It was one hazy ride, between the drinking and the drugs

She listens to it all patiently, long into nightfall

About three quarters of the way through my life story

She excuses herself to go to the washroom

I notice when she comes back her baggie is gone

My story is getting through to her, I assume

I hope she hasn't clogged my toilet, I think as she sits down

But then there's a gurgling in the back room, oh boy

We both run to see what's going on with the plumbing

I watch in horror as the water spills onto the floor, but she looks coy

And then it happens, something so unexpected

With the upchuck of water comes something gross and brown

A piece of poop flops onto my bathroom floor, at my feet

I've got to admit, Crystal is one funny girl to be around

We laugh for the better part of the night

We're still laughing as I walk her back to her dorm, the night almost over

And as we open the door, we see another crazy sight

Darren with his pants around his ankles, hanging over Clover

I slam the door shut, trying to stifle another laugh

But it breaks free when Crystal doubles over and snorts

I'd never expected college could get so freaky

I'm laughing so hard that I must look like I'm in pain as my face contorts

College came and went, and many more epic events ensued

Now we're all at university, trying to make a difference

I talk with Crystal every night on the phone, my love for her outstanding

My world has been bathed in some kind of brilliance

Years down the road, I can't help but wonder

Was it my mother's influence that brought me to this great place?

Sitting with my son in my lap, watching Crystal blow on his homemade soup

I recall the night in my life when everything changed

Sometimes I think about my life in high school,

And wonder what would have happened to me had I not tried

Would I be here with Crystal, our son, in this house?

I'm happy that I'll never know; I'm so content with this life

After hours of making love, my beautiful distraction ends

I tell Crystal I really need to grade those papers at the edge of the bed

She snuggles closer, and pulls out a book to read

I smile down at her and kiss her lightly on the head

My life has been a mixture of surprises, that's for sure

And as my son grows I wonder if he'll ever know how much I love him

I drop him off for his first day of school, and I can't hold back my smile

It's time for a new story to begin