By: Bruce Levine
Heather fastened the collar tighter around her neck. It was almost spring, but there was still a chill in the air. She wondered when spring would actually arrive; she was tired of winter, even if the air contained only the remnants of cold, it was still enough to bring a shudder through her body just thinking about it.
Heather hated hot weather and far preferred winter over summer, but she seemed to have a quota on both cold and hot – albeit she was really only happy with one day of the heat of summer and then she’d have liked it to get cooler again. She’d often thought that perpetual fall would probably be preferred; the air just crisp enough to invigorate and yet not too cold, the fall colors dousing the senses in luxurious rainbows of reds and golds.
Yes, she thought, year-round fall might be perfect.
Then, on second thought, she wondered if that too would get boring. Wasn’t the stagnation of seasons part of the reason she had hated living in Florida? Her parents had moved there when she was ten and she’d struggled through the perpetual hot weather for seven years – seven years of servitude. She smiled at her analogy.
At seventeen she’d moved home to New York to go to college. Living in Manhattan and having everything she’d always loved at hand, including the changing of the seasons, like the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, always made her happy.
Now it was graduation and she wondered what she really wanted next. College, it seemed, had actually prepared her for nothing tangible. She’d have a degree in teaching so she knew she could look for a job as a teacher, but then what? She loved chemistry and loved the idea of passing along everything she’d learned, but she realized that the passive life of a teacher was another thing, like the seasons remaining constant, that was probably in her boring column.
In a couple of months she would walk down the aisle and receive her diploma and shake hands with everyone on the dais and return to her seat along with all of her fellow classmates. Would they be wondering what to do next as well or was she the only one who felt this loss of place?
Chill or no chill, she decided, it was time for a brisk walk through Central Park to clear her head and think.
Two hours of walking later she felt that she had a resolution to her quandary. Why she hadn’t thought of it sooner she didn’t know, but now she felt determined to pursue her new goal.
The teaching degree made her parents happy since they felt that she’d be following the family business of teaching, both of her parents plus most of her aunts and uncles, and she’d have a teaching career to assure a steady income and, eventually, a pension. What an awful thought, she realized, thinking about a pension at age twenty-one.
Heather had made her parents happy and now she was going to make herself happy by going for what she felt was her personal brass ring – she’d stay in school and get a Masters’ and Doctorate and then look for a job – in research chemistry.
It all seemed so simple, so obvious.
Heather sat on a bench and ate the pretzel she just bought from the vendor and watched the people pass by.
There was a chill in the air and she pulled her collar tight and wrapped her scarf around her neck. Yes, there was a chill in the air, but a warm feeling inside.
Today Heather felt that she was finally fulfilling herself. Now all she had to do was to convince her parents.
She took out her cell phone and pressed the speed dial number.