I stood, dripping wet from the rain before the looming elementary school that had haunted me as a child.
“Funny, I remembered it being much bigger,” I mused to my companion.
I wiped the rain from my eyes, as my mind took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing on teachers, exams, the bully who tried to cheat on tests, and the graduation from elementary to middle school.
The precipitation slowed to a fine mist and I felt a tug on my arm. Jake looked up with imploring, impossibly brown eyes, tongue lolling out. His golden fur was speckled with raindrops, brown where the water had totally saturated to the skin.
Jake was my first pet. On my first day of high school I bought the little ball of fluff from the Labrador breeder.
“You’ll find he’ll grow into his body, but his brain won’t come in for about another two years,” she seriously told me.
I laughed, little knowing the frustration and the joys of raising a golden lab. He broke the rules, chewed on shoes, disregarding his toys. He used the carpet for his bathroom, refused to eat anything except the finest gourmet food and was inevitably drawn to the dirtiest mud puddles he could find.
Oh, but what a joy he was now! During my high school years, he’d been there when I came home in tears as I tried not to bow to peer pressure. He loved me for who I was, not who my friends were trying to make me to be.
We strolled along the familiar path, Jake straining at his lead, wanting to leave his mark on his part of the world.
“Oh Lord, where do I fit in? Where do you want me? I don’t want to look back, but look forward. I don’t want to get stuck in the past.”
Suddenly I was taken back to a conversation from the previous week.
“Mr. Harris. Got a minute?” I rapped on my counsellor’s door.
“Sure Angie. What can I do for you?”
He ushered me to a comfortable easy chair before moving back to his desk and cupping his head between his hands.
“Well…I’m almost done with my Master’s Degree, but where do I go after this? Where do I belong?”
He leaned forward, examining me closely. “Angie. If you could do anything in the world, if money were no object, what would you love to do?”
“That’s easy! Ever since I was little, all I ever wanted to do was write! But, it doesn’t make any money, not unless you’re someone like John Grisham, or Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy or some other big name!”
“Come on Ang! Is that really stopping you? You’re good at what you do here. I’ve seen your work. Now I know you’ve been offered a job, one that you will enjoy. My recommendation is that you take the job, but don’t stop dreaming, don’t stop writing. Work after hours on it. If it truly is a passion, nothing will stand in your way. You’ve got great ideas, you’ve led an interesting life up till now, you’ve been places others can only dream of, bring it to life for them. You’ve been learning for life, impart it to others.”
I smiled as the sun peeked out from the clouds. Jake jumped around me, yelping excitedly as he caught sight of an errant squirrel.
“Come on boy. Tonight’s my last hurrah before starting a real job. Steve will be here in three hours to pick me up for the Prom!”