Sunday, September 23, 2018
writing prompt, A sliver of hope
my fiction of the week, prompted by Sunday Whirl
A sliver of hope
A sliver of light flashed in her eyes as she waited for the red line to take her home. When her train came to a stop, she waited for that group of people to take her place on the platform before squeezing into the car. She tucked her shiny gold chain into the collar of her dress to hide it from would-be thieves.
Her parents had warned her not to go into the city by herself, and were appalled that she was interviewing for a job there. "The crime rate is so high" her mom wailed.
"But Mom, it's the only interview I've gotten in weeks and it's to design the new office buildings going up to revitalize the area" she answered, looking away, "it's a great opportunity for me to get started"
She'd been out of school for nine months now, and being a part time waitress was depressing. She had to feign interest in the owner's stories about his cats every day, plant a smile on her face to hide the worry that her life was not turning out like she planned. She kept a sliver of hope in her back pocket but wondered if she should change direction.
She had always wanted to be a designer, to make homes and businesses look better, function better, so that beauty and function could live together. She went to school despite her Dad's disdain of her chosen career. He thought she should become a lawyer and did his best to encourage that. He took her to his College for interviews, he clipped out wall street journal articles about the future for corporate law, he introduced her to recent graduates at the firm. The root of the problem in her choice of occupation, was money and status.
Her Dad always thought he knew best, what she needed.
He was often right but this time she stood up and expressed herself, she chose design school when she knew he would not be happy with that choice. Each visit home made clear his disdain for the lack of prestige she would have. "Our family has always gone into law" he said, like a decree, like a mandate.
With disappointment in his voice.
That was the worst, his disappointment in her, she felt.
"If I didn't become a lawyer, I could still marry one. Being the wife of a lawyer might be enough!" she mused. Ha, as if.
Hope is a fragile thing.
Each day she pulled on hope along with her clothes because the alternative was not good.
Each day she fed hundreds of strangers plates of food, and felt invisible as if she was not capable of running a business herself. Each day she poured over the employment listings, and spoke to her headhunter, selling herself before interviews where she could sell her as yet, untried abilities to another stranger.
Hope was wearing thin.
Was her father right? Just last night at dinner he said, "honey you can still take the LSAT and get into law school you know" adding, " maybe not getting work is a sign..." As if he believed in signs. He believed in the bottom line, and the bottom line for him was her lack of success at the moment.
She wondered how her mother handled the situation at cocktail parties. The polite questions about her daughter after graduation, "so what is Julie doing these days?" Then the "oh, well I'm sure she'll find a position somewhere soon" when her mom answers. Quick change of subject to the DAR event coming up.
As Julie entered the train car, and sat pulling her purse onto her lap, "at least I'm not a meth addict" she thought, wondering if the young man across from her was. I'll find my place, I'll thrive and design famous buildings and show everyone that there is life outside the field of law.
But she worried a little.
Life it like that. It goes on and on, and a person has no idea what is around the next corner. They just see what is there in front of them, and if the road is empty they feel it will always be so.
Until something changes, something just around the next corner.
Her phone begins to buzz!
"Hello, this is Julie" and a smile blooms on her face as she realizes she just turned a corner.