Unfinished

“Are you finished yet?”

What an awful question, and she heard it too often, about too many things. Susan had heard those exact words spoken since she was a child. Maybe it was warranted then, she was excitable as a child. On the other hand, her mother always assumed Susan was throwing some sort of tantrum and wanted her to behave. Of course, when she was six, her heart was broken when the doll she desperately wanted, pleaded to have, was sold out at the toy store. Her face flushed remembering the hysterical tantrum she threw in the middle of the store. Now that she was older, she wouldn’t have held any grudges if other parents in the store smacked her cheek in blind anger. It was just a doll. And she grew out of the phase pretty quickly.

But her “behavioral pattern” was written from that moment on. At least, that’s what her parents said.

Her pace on the running trail quickened.

Then there were the boys in junior high. The awful, hormonal boys. No, they were bullies. They would chase her through the halls of the school, so that her only refuge was the girl’s bathroom. They would shout obscenities, obscenities that would make cat-calling construction workers blush. And she would hide in a bathroom stall and cry. It made schooling difficult just as she was having a passion for science. She still remembered fondly that first time she dissected an owl pellet. Of course, that did not go over with the other girls, the pretty ones, very well. So, she got bullied again. Owl Shit Girl was her new moniker. And this time she couldn’t hide in the girl’s bathroom.

So she would cry to teachers and her parents for relief.

“Are you finished yet?” A consistent response. Just like when she was a child throwing a tantrum in a toy store.

She really needed to slow down. Her heart was racing. It was if she was running from the past.

The she became a graduate student, studying birds in the hills of Indiana. It was a good gig with fellow Owl Shit Girls. They had moved on from owl pellets to counting bird populations, but shit was still a way to track certain species. She even met a good man. He was decent support until her drive to gain a doctorate pushed her into the field, the lab, and the computer. He became bitter believing Susan had left him for a different man named Ph.D.

“Are you finished yet?”

That was the phrase spoken from her parents and the man that once said he loved her. They thought she was overworked for little reward. Susan was investing in herself, others thought she was being selfish. Perhaps that was not what anyone wanted for her. Then after her advisor placed the hood over her at graduation she heard the words again at her family’s celebration.

“Are you finished yet?”

She stopped running and shouted down the empty, wooden trail.

“No, I’m not finished, dammit!”

That felt good. She smiled. She had so much left to do. She was in high demand from her contacts in wildlife management. She was going to be a mover for environmental policy for safe bird habitats. And maybe she could find a way to broker a peace accord with wind turbine farms. She had so much left to do. She was not finished. Only death would define when she was finished. Soon students would return to the halls of the university where she taught and somewhere in that crowd would be another Owl Shit Girl, someone looking for a mentor Susan never had. Then there was the void of the unknown, the decades of a future she still had left to hone her craft, herself, and others who would follow in her footsteps or find their own path.

She was certainly unfinished.

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Unfinished

  1. Good story!! A lot of what you right hits close to home.

    Like

  2. Pingback: One-Word Prompts | The Haunting, Aching Echo of Wonder

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