J and Y converse from a bench perched on a mountaintop. In front of them lies the city of Saratoga: rows and rows of houses framed by trees and disjoint by roads, all of which is encompassed by fathering mountains. Their speech may sound indistinct and mundane to the casual listener, but it encompasses every highlight of their lives, and every fantasy they have of their future.
Y indulges himself in boasting about the successes and rapid growth of his startup, also estimating the amount he is set to reap from his stocks. J rambles about her plans to renovate her and Y’s new bought house, while also reminding her partner to start packing for their vacation. After both eventually exhausted themselves of chatter, they finished their day trip with two glasses of lavish wine.
This was the life J and Y, my parents, could have had. Smart, honest, dignified, and hardworking, they could never fall short of success, given it was what they strived to achieve. A life of abundance, one filled with carefree outings and extravagant vacations was within arm’s reach. But they ignored this opportunity to reach for something even higher.
This “something” is the success of their children, of me and my brother. The commitment and time afforded by their abandonment of the strive for their own success was transferred to their children.