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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Questions like these never took much thought. With not a second of hesitance in my busy fingers, I reply, “vet.” Scribble, scribble---- the brown color pencil slowly hazes over the outline of a dog behind its opaque layers. What a shame, it was a very adorable dog. I could completely imagine myself caring for one just like it at an animal clinic.
Mother laughs as she always does whenever I respond as such. I know what she wants to hear. Then again, anything I ever said to Mother ever seemed right. She says to me, “No, no Catherine, you want to be a lawyer, right? That’s what you’re supposed to say.” She reaches to the ground to ruffle my head playfully from her lazy sprawl on the living room couch.
I don’t reply to this. I never do; besides, I have a coloring book to finish. Scribble, scribble. Now, she is getting annoyed with me, her fingers not so passively lay atop my head, she claws her nails into my skull and twists my head a 90 degree until I face directly at her. “You want to be a lawyer.” She leers at me with no intention of emitting any motherly love around her. I never felt much anyway. But I don’t like her fingers digging indents into my cranium so I nod my head in truce. Again, we are silent, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I re- outline the dog and fill with pride from how wonderfully neat I had colored this picture. This was the best coloring I have yet to accomplish!
“Catherine, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Mother interrupts my glorified state.
“Artist,” I reply. I already see the future me selling my beautifully colored coloring books. This was indeed my new forte.
“No, Catherine,” mother pokes the tip of my ear and pinches it hard. “You want to be a veterinarian. That’s what you’re supposed to say.”
I don’t reply. I never want to say more than I must when I’m concentrated. Mockingly angry she pulls my ear to her lips. “Catherine, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Everything and anything that can get me rich.” Her laughs reach my ears as rusty and awkward yelps. One could tell it wasn’t put in use much. Yet, in a strange way, I find this the most beautifully peaceful sound in the world. Deciding not to ruin this rare moment I laugh boisterously in suit.
“You can dream, honey. You can dream,” she wipes a hand over her eyes. “Just remember to stick with those dreams!”
“I know that! That’s why I wanna be an artistic lawyer vet!” I can almost audibly hear the rolling of her eyes.
“I hope you’re not as indecisive as you are now when you get into your adolescent years.”
I have no idea what words like “indecisive” or “adolescent” mean so I decide to let the last comment hang as is. Scribble, scribble---- the drawing is almost ready to be hung on the wall. The elation in my fingers hit full speed and I color the 2-D grass pinker than any lawn I’d ever seen. SCRIBBLESCRIBBLESCRIBBLE---------- schrrrrrickkkk. Life took on a dream state for many a minute before it registers within my mind that my indescribably precious picture has broken a large hole just below center. The horror of this knowledge brought in my dramatic wail of misery and the drilling of my head into my mother’s lap. The water works follow shortly after.
“There, there,” Mother’s soft voice soothes my sobs to mere whimpers. “Who needs an artistic lawyer vet?” she pokes the center of my forehead and says “With this big brain of yours all you need to be is a Lawyerly vet! Even then, you’ll still be rich, right?” I nod. She hugs me for the first time since my adoption papers were signed.