Word of the Day: Sedulous

[ˈsɛdjʊləs] ADJECTIVE (of a person or action) showing dedication and diligence

Monique drummed her fingers on the desk in her room. Re-reading the letter her teacher handed her at the end of class, she knew the best thing to do was to be straightforward with her mother about it. Mr. Black had insisted she apply for the scholarship, saying there was no way anyone else would top her application and essay, and he was right. Even though it wasn’t full-ride, it was significant and made it possible for her to pursue her dreams to become a cancer researcher someday.

The problem was that Monique’s mother didn’t believe she could achieve what she wanted, no matter how sedulous she was in her studying. She knew all the things her mother would say. People from the wrong part of town just didn’t become doctors. The American Dream was a pipe dream. It’s better to have low expectations because they will always be met. The diner could always use more help, and as the head-waitress’ daughter, Monique was a shoe-in to get hired. But Monique wanted more.

After three knocks, and without consent, the door to her room opened.

“Monique, what are you doing in here? I have to leave for my shift in a half hour and I want to spend time with you before I go. You know that.”

Monique took a deep breath and wordlessly handed her mom the letter. She watched as she opened it and read, her hand slowly coming up to her mouth as she came to the part about the amount Monique had won.

“This… This is…” her mom stuttered.

“A scholarship award.”

They met eyes. “This is a lot of money.”

“Not everything I need, but a good amount. Yes.”

“I thought you had given up on college,” she breathed. “I thought we agreed you wouldn’t pursue it.”

Monique shrugged. “I applied anyway. My science teacher insisted that I at least try for this scholarship because he believed in me.”

Something like pain scrunched her mother’s face. “I always knew you were smart. I just… I didn’t want you to put yourself out there and get rejected.” She pressed her lips firmly together, and whispered, “I’m so unbelievably proud of you.”

“What?” Monique asked in shock.

“I’m proud of you,” she said louder.

“I thought you’d be mad, and–“

“No! Not mad. Proud. And this school isn’t far from here. If you want, I’m sure I can get you a flexible job at the restaurant to help pay for your tuition, and you can live at home so you don’t have to pay for a dorm or apartment, and–“

Monique threw herself into her mom’s arms and sobbed. She cried out of sadness for thinking the worst of her mom and out of happiness that she was wrong. This was the best possible outcome. The best end of an era of hopelessness. The best beginning of the rest of her life.

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