by Vanessa Richardson
The sun’s bright rays did nothing to brighten Maya’s disposition. Head cast down and fuming under her breath she proceeded to walk onwards. Walking this path always soothed her when she was angry. “Her path.” It didn’t matter that her path was frequently used by joggers, dog owners walking their dogs, or lovers strolling holding hands. All that didn’t matter to Maya it was “Her path.” Today the park strangely was not busy, there were few joggers and no lovers strolling holding hands. The sun rays fell upon the ponds surface causing it shimmering and glint like fine jewels.
To all this Maya was oblivious. Maya kicked at the pebbles that were in her path. Wanting only to reach her secret place so she could think in peace she lengthen her strides. “Something has got to give.” Maya uttered under her breath. “Do I have a sign saying ‘hi I am Maya please walk over me stamped on my forehead.’ ”
A gust of wind caused the leaves on the ground to whirl in the air. Maya swiped at the many long braids that fell in her face angrily flinging them over her shoulder. “I should have gotten that promotion. I worked hard on that NYLA case and what did I get for it. Nothing!” Kicking at another rock she walked on. “Why didn’t I speak up for myself. No. . . I JUST smiled like a imbecile and congratulated Ms. Captain America.” Rubbing the bridge of her nose Maya stopped walking. .
It was a that moment a squirrel chose to walk into Maya’s path. Any other day Maya would have screeched and hurried out of the critter’s way, but not today, today was a bad day.
The Squirrel stood there staring, its head turning left and right. It’s coat was a dark gray the tips of its nose moist, it had to be one of the biggest squirrel Maya had ever seen. There it stood not giving an inch its nose raised upward sniffing. For what? Fear? Well it will find none today. Today was NOT a good day. “Call me the phoenix for I have been reborn. No more. I refuse to be a stepping stone.” Maya stirred back. “ I am not moving.” The squirrel returned her stare it’s mouth twitching and onyx eyes shining. “I am not afraid of you. I am not turning around, I am headed forward.”
The squirrel was stubborn, not wanting to give an inch. Maya raised her chin lowering her bag to the ground she stared back. This impasse continued for three minutes to Maya it was an eternity, this bold squirrel was trying to intimidate. The squirrel's image began to change. It was no longer a squirrel but Mr. Tate. Mr. Tate her boss. Mr. Tate who just this morning presented two more cases for her to work on each with a deadline. Meaning she would have to do over time and sacrifice some lunches. Mr. Tate who never have anything positive to say about her work.
“Mr. Tate” Maya began. “I am not backing down. You have been walking over me for to long, you little snake in the grass.” rolling up first her right then left sleeve Maya pointed her finger at the squirrel. “Let me tell you something I work hard. I am good and you know it. I don’t have to put up with the garbage that you’ve been shoveling on me.” The squirrel stared. “I will make it. if not here then somewhere else. It is my destiny.” this she uttered under her breath as if it were a vow. “It is my destiny, it is my destiny.”
The squirrel’s image began to blur Maya blinked her eyes instead of Mr. Tate it was her mother. “Ma I am not moving. I am not ready to get married and have kids just yet, I am relishing my freedom. In the fullness of time the right one will come into my life. until then, just let me breath please. My decision has been made.
The squirrel stare never wavered it’s head turning left to right. It finally turned just before running off it glanced back over its should at Maya then made off into the thick bushed. Maya felt a tingle it began with her toes making its way up her legs to her back and shoulders she was shaking uncontrollably. Gulping in air trying to control her laughter. “I just stood up to a squirrel. Rubbing her temples. “Today a squirrel tomorrow my boss and anyone else that tries to belittle me.”
Looking around praying that no one was witness to her strange encounter. Happy to see that there was no one Maya retrieved her bag, rolled down both her sleeves, with shoulder’s back and chin raised the new Maya proceeded forward towards her destiny.