Story and illustrations by Ia Uaro.
Humour. Socio fiction. Coming-of-age. Love story.
2013 Finalist in Humor
“How will you cope with a disabled person who’ll forever be dependent on you for pretty much everything? How are you going to finance your life? That is, if you can even do that. How will you get him to marry you when he can’t even recognise you, let alone talk and go through a marriage ceremony?
“Yes Sydney, we’re talking marriage here. Big-eyed, are you? You can’t possibly stay in the US. What work can you do there to support yourself? Flipping burgers or waiting tables? You have to bring him down here. And how do you think you can do this if you aren’t married to him? You don’t even have a decent income to support his expenses. You think our Immigration will grant a burdensome foreigner entry and get free hospital and medical support like the rest of us Aussies?
“Do you understand that? A disabled person will need looking after all day. It’s a gruelling task. How will you do that by yourself? You can’t afford to be a dropout because your study is something to fall back on. Your future kids will require expenses. They won’t appreciate parents who are Centrelink parasites—one on disability pension, the other an underpaid worker. Where will your self-esteem be when you depend on tax payers’ handout? So you need a good job for your family’s survival. For your own dignity. For your sanity. Do you see all that?
“And what about fun? You’re only 18. 18! You want to throw away your youth just like that? For an injured man? How long can you cope? How long before you cave in under the burden? And what about sex? Yes, Sydney. You won’t be young and innocent for always. One day you’ll grow up and you will need sex. Suppose he remains a vegetable. There wouldn’t be any sex. There wouldn’t be kids either. What then? You'd be chained to him. Would you grow to hate him? Would you cheat on him?
“And your parents love you so much! Neither of them will allow you to throw your life away just because you can’t get over this enormous feeling of love. Yes he was great, before the accident. But are you prepared to accept him if it turned out to be the worst?
“So think this through. Evaluate all possible consequences. Think calmly. Take your time. If you think you could cope with all that, if you think you could come up with the solution to every single question that I’ve just mentioned, bring your proposal to us tomorrow. Or whenever you’re ready. Explain why your parents should allow you to go to the US. Why it is the only sensible thing to do. Rationally like an adult, not emotionally. And don’t give me smart-assed juvenile answers. I want you to use your brain.
“Think long term. If we lend you money to finance this trip, and give you connections to gain the necessary visa, outline how you’ll pay us back. For your mother, the greatest payback will be your safety and happiness. But don't take advantage of her. An adult acts like an adult—meaning they pay their own way. They make money to support their decisions and their lifestyle. They have the dignity not to whine and beg!”
on Sydney's Song
Sydney's Song—love story, Australian adventure, humorous socio fiction, coming-of-age YA novel for both young adult and adult readers.