Hello, and welcome to this year’s August round of Writers Reveal! First off, I’d like to welcome a new member who’s joining us this month: Lee-Anne Walker of “Is it just me?“. Welcome to the circle, Lee-Anne! Glad to have you with us!
Today’s topic was sent to us by Emily Hawker, who suggested the prompt: “when I grow up”. Since I’ve already written a nonfiction post about this topic for Writers Reveal in the past, I decided to use this second opportunity to write a short story based on that idea. I hope you enjoy what I’ve written. Thanks for the prompt, Emily!
You have to choose one.
That was all Sophie had been hearing for the past two weeks. To say it was starting to get on her nerves was an understatement.
Everyone else already knows. You should too.
But how could she? There were so many options that it was impossible to pick just one! It was too much pressure from her teacher, from her parents, from society in general. Fourteen was too young to know what she wanted to be when she grew up, and anyone else her age who said they already knew was almost definitely lying.
“Sophie…” Ms. Miller took a seat at her desk after all the other students had left. “I understand this is difficult, but I really do need you to make a choice by Friday. This paper is part of your grade. I don’t want to have to fail you because of something so trivial. It doesn’t have to be your final decision for life; I’m only asking for three to five pages on a career that interests you now.”
The teenage girl looked down at the pencil she was nervously tapping on her own desk. It was hard enough to produce an essay about any topic, but having a separate deadline for the subject matter only made it all the more stressful.
“I need more time”, she muttered awkwardly for the third time since last Monday. “Can’t I just surprise you at the end of the month?”
The English teacher shook her head. “The reason I ask for the topics two weeks in advance is so you’ll all have plenty of time to write the actual essays. I don’t want you scrambling for something to write about at the last minute, otherwise your work will suffer. Please think about it, Sophie. I expect you to have an answer by Friday.”
On that cue, Sophie grabbed her backpack and headed out the door, leaving Ms. Miller to sigh in exasperation at an empty classroom. It was going to be a long week.
From that Monday afternoon to Thursday morning, Sophie questioned everyone she knew about their chosen career paths, and each of them seemed to have a different insight on the subject. Her father claimed to enjoy his job as a business executive, while her mother encouraged her to consider a career in the sciences. Her older brother, who had been working toward a football scholarship for the last year, said he might want to become a professional athlete. Her friends had already expressed interest in every profession from doctors and lawyers to astronauts and world-touring singers. Even her parents’ friends and her friends’ parents had some interesting input, as several of them had switched majors in the middle of college and others still had yet to figure out what they really wanted to do with their lives!
So many ideas had been contributed in the last few days that by the time Sophie sat down at her room’s computer desk on Thursday afternoon, her head was still spinning with all the possibilities. The problem was not that she didn’t want to try any of them; it was that she wanted to try all of them. How could she hope to choose only one career when they all sounded so appealing?
Frustrated, the teenager glanced over at her bookshelf. She couldn’t remember ambition ever being this overwhelming. She used to spend hours getting lost in her books, reading about people who sailed across the ocean or had adventures in the sky, who solved mysteries and saved lives and fought for justice, and she’d always wonder if real life could be just as exciting as the stories on her shelf.
And that was when it hit her. Perhaps there was a solution to her dilemma after all, a way she could give her teacher an answer while still staying true to herself. Suddenly inspired, Sophie turned back to her desk and began to type. She typed all through the afternoon and well into the night, pausing only once for dinner and stopping only when the final period had been placed on the very last sentence at a quarter to midnight. Breathing an immense sigh of relief, the 14-year-old printed out her work and shut her computer off to prepare for her first good night’s sleep in weeks.
The following afternoon, after the bell rang at the end of English class and all her peers had filed out, Sophie approached Ms. Miller at her desk.
“So, Sophie”, the teacher began, “have you finally come up with–?”
Her question was cut short when the teenager dropped a stapled stack of papers on the desk. The adult glanced at it in surprise before looking up at her student with a puzzled expression.
“What is this?”
“My essay”, said Sophie with a smile. “All five pages of it. I had to edit some stuff out to make it fit, but it’s all there.”
Ms. Miller was amazed. “How did you manage this?”
“I thought a lot about what you said, that I had to make a choice, and I realized – no offense – that you were wrong. I figured out a way that I can choose everything and still do something completely different from all of it. And now I finally know what I want to do with my life.”
The teacher picked up the paper to study it closely. After reading the title, Ms. Miller looked up at her student with a smile that suggested she had never been prouder of her. Sophie could hardly contain her excitement as she announced her dream with a broad grin.
“I’m going to be a writer.”
This has been a special topic post for Writers Reveal, a monthly blog swap among several talented writers. Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in the event. Thanks for reading!
Other bloggers in Writers Reveal
Melissa Khalinsky: Melissa Writes
Becky Fyfe: Imagine! Create! Write!
Ashley Howland: Ghostnapped
Emily Hawker: You Learn Something New Every Day
Lee-Anne Walker: Is it just me?
We’re looking for more bloggers to join our circle! If you’re interested in participating in this monthly roundup, be sure to contact Emily Hawker so she can include you in our email list. Thank you!