20. Graduating From Penn State University
Rice and chicken dipped in soy sauce,
The same meal daily until graduation.
Tomorrow was the day I had to move out,
No gown, no ring, no diploma in hand, and penniless.
The landlady stopped by to show students the apartments,
Several future tenants were with her.
While they were checking out the bathroom,
The stinky odor was too much for them to ignore.
Because of the toilet’s sickening smell,
The landlady quickly said, “I’ll take care of it.”
Overhearing the landlady’s excuses,
“Give me sixty dollars, I’ll clean it for you,” I pleaded.
She turned around not believing what she heard.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I am serious,” I said.
I needed money for gas to drive back to Philly.
She handed me sixty dollars,
A cleaning bucket, bleach, and a mop.
I was on my knees cleaning the bathroom for hours,
Both the toilet and bathroom’s odor were gone forever.
Filling my gas tank, I hurried my way back to Philadelphia.
That night the Turnpike was dark and deserted.
Snow was hard, chilly winds fogged the windshield.
I crouched to see the road while keeping my foot on the gas.
I still owed money to Penn State when I graduated,
So they put a lien on my diploma.
I explained my situation to the registrar’s office earnestly,
They firmly said, “Come back with the money you owe.”