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The Promised Land

You cannot possess your Promised Land without a battle.― Sunday Adelaja

I felt the plane finally lift up, roughly ascending to the skies – higher than any bird could fly.  I would be in paradise in about twelve hours.  My dreams were soon to become a reality.  I was on my way to being a resident of America.  Years before this, I had asked my parents what America was all about.  I got the same answer.  They kept telling me that if I were patient, I would find out soon enough.  I was hotheaded; because I wanted to know firsthand about the land I was born in.

The plane trip seemed so long.  I decided to sleep and hoped that by the end of this nap, I would have reached the Promised Land, America.  Soon, I fell into a deep sleep, envisioning that I had arrived.  I saw myself slowly descending the stairs of the plane.  Right in front of me, were streets glittering with the richest color of gold.  The trees were made of money.  The people I encountered all had genuine smiles of gold teeth on their faces.  I found myself in a hotel made of real gold.  The towels in the hotel had the inscriptions: “America is where the GOLD is at.”

Then my dream changed to the land that I had come from.  I saw poor people staring at me with hatred.  They sat on the sidewalks, screaming scornful words at me.  All my friends had forsaken me.  They called me a double-crosser for going to the land of riches and gold, leaving them to suffer here.  I went to talk to a supposed friend, and her response deeply saddened me.

“You fool,” she said, “You didn’t even tell me that you were going away to America.  How can I call you a friend, when you couldn’t even tell me you were leaving?  Now you want to talk to me?  You can bring some of that gold that I have heard is over there.”

I turned around and there lay the ocean behind me, and in the background, a huge castle of gold stood.  I went towards it and went for the gold up ahead.  I heard my friend calling out: “Wait for me!  Wait for me!”  I looked back, and I saw my friend running towards the ocean and then she vanished.  I hoped never to return to such cruelty.

I felt a gentle tap on my shoulders.  I woke up expecting to see my friend.  Instead, I saw my father.  He looked at me and asked if I was alright.  He told me that I was having a nightmare.  I stared out the window, and all I saw was white.  I couldn’t help imagining that below those clouds was a city with streets covered with gold and trees filled with money.

Staring at those clouds of white made me sleepy once more, and I began to doze.  I dreamed that the plane crashed, stopping me from reaching the city of gold.  I saw a giant figure of the president of the United States protrude out of the sky reaching out with his giant fingers to pull me out of the ocean.  Yet he was too late.  I tried to hang on to his ring of gold.  I slipped.  He plunged his humongous golden cane into the depths of the ocean.  It was no use.  I was going to die and never see the Promised Land. 

Suddenly out of the president’s large pocket, a giant hundred dollar bill fell.  It gently landed on the water.  I climbed onto it.  With the help of the waves, I was drifted to shore, where I lay on the hundred dollar bill, unconscious.  Then I felt myself being shaken.  I slowly regained consciousness.  I saw my father’s face.  He kept saying ten more minutes, ten more minutes.  I realized that I was not dreaming anymore.  Ten more minutes and I would be in paradise.

I sat up.  I saw that the “FASTEN SEATBELT” and “NO SMOKING” signs were on.  The pilot’s voice bellowed over the intercom.  He introduced himself and told us that in five minutes, the plane will be landing at the John F. Kennedy Airport.  In my excitement, I forgot to look out the window to get a glimpse of New York.

When the plane landed, the stewards and stewardesses ushered us out.  We went through customs in what seemed like hours.  We then went to look for our luggage.  We were able to retrieve four out of five of our suitcases.  When all this was done, I ran out of the customs area.  I closed my eyes as I walked out the door.  I stepped out on something that felt very mushy.  I unlocked my eyes, and I looked at what I had stepped in.  Yucky!!!  My shoe was covered with mud.

What a slap in the face, when I looked out and did not see gold. With my dreams shattered and my hopes unfulfilled, I came to realize that I had to do my part to partake of what the real riches of this land are.  Although America is not a land of gold, it is a land of opportunity.  After some time living in this country, I have come to realize that anyone who thinks that money can grow on trees has a warped sense of reality.  To cut a slice of the American pie, a person has to work hard for it.  Hard work does not only create riches but also produces a better person as a result of experience and a sense of accomplishment.

Published inShort Stories

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