There's an apple rotting in our fruit bowl, set on the formal dining table. Dust has gradually settled itself on the table and on that fruit bowl. No one has touched that bowl in weeks. When my mother was home, it would be perfectly clean—not a speck of dust could be seen when she was here. Now there's an apple rotting from the inside out. A big brown hole has formed in the middle of a crisp, green apple. It doesn't smell yet. Maybe that's why no one has noticed. I avert my gaze away from the apple and continue walking through the hallway.

The house became eerily silent over the past few weeks. Nothing could be heard except for the small gun fights coming from the television screen. My brother has chosen to immerse himself in Xbox games instead of talking about what's really on his mind, which happens to be everything on my own. His cell phone rings every now and then—a gruff 'hello', an abrupt 'later', and a quick snap of flip phone. I sat on the couch for a few seconds and stared at the TV. Blazing lights, pixelated gore, gun fights—no wonder they have a warning for seizures at the beginning of every game. My brother looks at me for a moment, and I smile at him. He doesn't smile and goes back to his game. There's nothing to say. Not really, anyway. What could be said?

It's always the same problem that plagues my family—money. We don't have enough for this. We don't have enough for that. Stop wasting money! Turn off the lights! Have you seen last month's electricity bill? Please, stop going to the movies. Your father is barely making enough. There's nothing you can do about it; all you can do is do well in school and hopefully have a better career and life than us.

I get up and quietly make my way upstairs into my room. I shut the door, and I sit on the ground, facing a collage I had recently made on my wall. A collection of ripped out pages from fashion magazines, mainly Vogue—a collection of beautiful people, of people I wish to be. It has got nothing to do with self-esteem because I know have my fair share of self-esteem. I don't care how skinny they are—I just want their job. They have no worries in the world, all they need to do is look beautiful. They live in a perfect world with perfect clothes and just the right pair of shoes to go with it. All the gallant knights in shining armor smile their dashing smiles at them, while they only need to flutter their pretty eyelashes. While I'm stuck in a sweater every morning because I can't find anything else in my closet. Or I'm not even awake to find something I'd like to wear. But…whatever. It's whatever.

Then I look up at the world map I placed on my wall. There are only two pins outside of the United States. My dream—my lifelong dream is to just travel the world. I want to see every continent, every country, every inch before I die. Perhaps I'm too much of a dreamer, but I don't want to miss out on anything as long as I'm alive. I don't want any regrets in my life, and I don't want to be held back.

The other night, I told my brother I would like to be a doctor, but not a hospital doctor.

"Doctors Without Borders," I said as-a-matter-of-factly. I smiled, pleased with the idea, pleased that I had finally found something practical yet adventurous, "You know, they go to third world countries and help out there."

"Is there money involved?" he asked his mouth full of food and not looking up from his bowl.

"Well…I don't really know. I'm sure it's government funded or whatever." I said, feeling slightly disappointed. "Well, I mean…I'd still have to work at a hospital for a few years…but after that, I could go out to the world…"

"Huh." He said, still not looking up.


"I still think you should stay in the hospital." He finally said, looking at me. "You know, you have some security there, and you'd make money. You can't make shit in Darfur or wherever you want to go…"

I was furious. I wanted to scream. I closed my eyes in frustration and only managed to say, "I want to do something worthwhile in my life. I don't want to stay in a hospital all my life! I'd rather shoot myself in the face. At least I'm doing something with that…at least I'm helping people. You think I like it in the hospital? I can't even stand being a candy striper!"

He only shrugged and went on eating. I wondered what my parents would think of it. Probably the same.

I sighed and looked back at my collage. I just want a fun, glamorous life. Something out of the norm—something that would make up for the dull, monotonous life I have right now.