I was reading articles about student loan forgiveness yesterday. One of the provisions of the new relief bill that passed is it alleviates the tax burden on student loans that are forgiven. Meaning forgiven loans (under existing and new plans) aren’t going to be treated as taxable income, and people who’ve had their loans forgiven won’t owe the IRS a check, which is great. There are also some new proposals on the table about forgiving federal students loans… $10,000 each… $50,000 each….
As a person who is still trying to pay off student loans (which has been quite difficult for various reasons), I’m all for forgiving student loans. There are so many people who are delaying… life… because of student loan debt. So let’s daydream about what would happen for me if I woke up tomorrow to an email stating my student loans have been completely forgiven.
It’s 6:30 in the morning. I know that because the sound of bells ringing is coming from the phone on my nightstand. I was about to step into a steamy, fragrant, relaxing bath until that stupid tune started playing and woke me up out of my dream. Deep breath. It’s alright; I’m grateful to be alive. I reach over and turn on my lamp. A week ago the sun would’ve been up, but somebody decided it was a good idea to set the clocks back, so now my usually bright morning is cloaked in darkness.
I get out of bed, stretch, throw on my robe, and head to the bathroom. After taking care of business and cleaning up, it’s time to make my bed and have some devotional time. This is my morning routine. My phone will automatically end my scheduled Do Not Disturb at 7:00am and alert me to any missed notifications from the last 11 hours. I enjoy the quite time.
At 7:00 I look at my phone. There’s a red “M”, a blue ghost, and a purple envelope. Most likely junk, I’ll look at it later. I drag myself into the kitchen, fill my electric kettle with the least amount of water it’ll tolerate, and grab two bags of loose leaf tea from the pantry. Gunpowder and ginger… one of my favorite mixes. I guess I’ll clear these notifications while I sit on the patio waiting for my tea to cool to a drinkable temperature.
I get rid of the ghost first… a friend responding to something I sent them yesterday afternoon. The “M” is next… Redbox informing me of their new releases. I open the purple envelope to a message from my federal loan company telling me there’s a message in my account. Let’s see what they want now.
My hands begin to tremble as tears well up in my eyes. I open and close my mouth several times, but no words will come out. My brother walks outside with his usual morning “Hello sister”. I look up at him and a tear spills down my face. He asks me what’s wrong… I hand him the phone… “they’re gone,” I croak, and burst into tears.
It takes me a minute to catch my breath. I inhale deeply and exhale in full laughter. “They’re freakin’ gone! Oh… my… God… they’re gone!” I yell. My brother gives me a high five and hands me back my phone. I text my mom… hers are gone too. I text my friends… theirs are gone too. The air is different. We have to celebrate!
I’m on a high the entire day. Annoying calls at work can’t touch the joy I feel. I feel lighter. I keep logging into my student loan account to check that there’s no new email telling me it was all a mistake, a new grin spreading across my face when I see no such message. I burst into laughter every time I think about the fact that my student loans don’t exist anymore. They’ve been forgiven. Like all my sins.
My mom picks up takeout from our new favorite restaurant on her way home from work. We sit around the table and talk about what we’re going to do now that our student loans are all gone. “We’re going to buy that house we loved,” my mom says. “I can use some of the money I’ve been saving to finally finish publishing this book!” I laugh.
I’ve been out of practice, so the writing is a little rough, but just the thought of this happening for real gives me joy. I don’t know about you, but I could use some extra joy right about now. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
In the meantime, I hope to get more writing practice in. I should definitely do another writing challenge like I did a couple years ago when I wrote “The Black Room“. It wasn’t so much a challenge as it was a list of writing prompts on a Pinterest post. Either way, it got me thinking outside the box. I have since expanded that story and it has become one of my favorite short stories. I’ve actually included the extended version in the collection of essays and short stories I’m working on.
I think another writing challenge could pull more good stories out of me. I could also revisit and expand a couple of the stories I wrote during that initial challenge back in 2019. We’ll see what comes of it.
In the meantime…