When one of the teachers stepped onto the playground and rang the copper bell, we all picked up our cases and walked to class.
“Morning, students,” Miss Moon said when we were all seated. “I have a surprise for you. Today a consultant will be visiting us to talk about your future. Have any of you given any thought as to what you want to do now that you’re in your last year of elementary school?”
An excited murmur rippled through the class and numerous hands were raised.
“Yes, Piper?” Miss Moon pointed to a girl in the front row.
“I want to be a lawyer,” Piper said.
I had no doubt that she was serious. Piper was the smartest girl in class and had been since grade one. When she was called to the front of the class to write the answers to questions on the blackboard, she always got them all right. Whether it was math or grammar, history or geography, Piper always got everything right. She could sing like an angel, she could draw really, really well, and she was the most athletic girl in gym class.
“I want to be a doctor.” Vera followed Piper’s answer.
Vera was Piper’s competition, also smart, but she always seemed to come in second best to Piper.
Our teacher nodded in approval, then continued to point at girls who had their hands raised and listen intently to their plans. Some wanted to be teachers, others nurses, one wanted to be a hairstylist, and another a veterinarian.
I had wanted to be a veterinarian, too, until Dad said that veterinarians don’t only make animals better, that they sometimes had to put animals down. I no longer wanted to be a veterinarian after learning about that. I would never be able to kill an animal, whether it was for its own good or not.
I kept my hand down, shrinking in my seat as Miss Moon moved to the back of the class.
“And you, Chloe?”
Chloe hadn’t raised her hand and was obviously surprised by the question. “I don’t know, ma’am.”
“Have you thought about modeling? You’re still very young, but in a few years’ time, who knows? You’re quite beautiful.”
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