She had huge brown eyes and a swinging ponytail. Her backpack bunched up her shoulders. She wore a black coat, black pants. Her friend was the one dressed in rainbow. Long spidery eyelashes. Earrings that brushed her shoulders.
I think when I’m finished with school, when I’m a nurse, I’ll be a nurse for twenty or thirty years and then I’ll be done with it. I’ll be something else.
You’ll go back to school? The friend asked. When you’re fifty?
I don’t want one career. I want two careers. I’ll be a nurse and then I’ll be something else. And when I’m fifty, I’ll appreciate school more. When you’re young you don’t appreciate school.
What will you be when you’re fifty?
Maybe. A dentist.
She looked through the glass of the subway doors as we slowed to a stop. Her eyes did that frantic zig-zag scan, the kind of flash panic that comes when you’ve passed where you thought you might be, but you’re really ahead of it.
I totally thought we missed our stop. This is it.
I loved her way of thinking. The certainty that she wouldn’t be one thing but many. The idea that she may not appreciate now what she might then or that becoming doesn’t end with youth.
I started to think if I could be one thing now and something else in twenty years, what would that be?
What would it be for you?