By Patricia Hilliard
Marisa entered the door and tossed her purse into the chair. In her heart, she burned with fury. She removed her suit jacket now dampened by the rain. The nerve of them! How could they do this to her? She was a single working mom with two kids to support.
Her tears blended with the rain that dripped from her hair.
The employment agency had called Marisa yesterday. She nearly screamed “yes” into the phone when they offered her a job interview. If she had thought about it for even a minute, she might have hesitated. To do this interview, she had to drive to the other side of town, through all that traffic and through a complicated beltway with which she was not so familiar. It had given her some anxiety during the night as she slept. Unfortunately, her checking account was getting so low on funds, it was becoming the driving force in her life. The unemployment check from the government would stop coming soon.
Marisa sat down at the kitchen table in her small one bedroom apartment. She had moved herself and the children into this place just two months ago. It was scruffy, cheap and the walls were dingy, but there was one good quality about the place. As she sat at the table, she looked out the window at the top of an apple tree covered with blossoms. Just that morning over breakfast, the children had fun watching the squirrels racing through the tree. What a delight to see! Just like their little family: a mother squirrel and her two little ones dashing through the pink blossoms of spring.
As the rain fell against the window, Marisa thought about the remarks made to her at the job interview.
“This is what a business letter should look like,” said the interviewer in a stern angry voice. She then took Marisa’s work and tore it to shreds.
“Don’t think you can come to us on job interviews when you don’t even have your skills up to standard.”
How could it be? Marisa asked herself as she watched the rain drizzle down the window. She had gone through the training, took the tests at the agency, but somehow—was it her anxiety about the trip? Was it due to the last minute rush out the door because Sissy forgot her lunch? Marisa had failed the job interview. Her children were so desperately in need.
During her trip home, all she could think of was the sneer and contempt of the interviewer toward her. Over and over again, she heard the paper tearing and the harsh words. She drove through an intersection before she realized the traffic light had been red. She could have been killed. She wasn’t even a good driver.
Now, Marisa lifted her head to again look at the tree covered with blossoms. Suddenly she saw huge gray wings flapping past the window. She jumped up to have a better look. A large brown bird with a sharp bill and big yellow eyes swooped into the branches of the apple tree. The leaves shook. Marisa heard the screams of an animal and realized a terrible struggle was taking place in the treetop. The branches quivered again and the big bird flew out into the sky.
Marisa peeked through the treetop. Nothing moved. She wondered where the squirrels were. Her children would be saddened if they disappeared. Then from out of the pink blossoms and tender green leaves, limped a mother squirrel. She looked haggard and torn. Gashes streaked her fur. Blood ran down her side and off her nipples. She dragged her hind leg along as she crept over the branches.
Marisa moved closer to the window hoping the hawk had not severed the mother squirrel’s leg. Mom squirrel looked up at Marisa. Their eyes met in sad recognition of the difficulty of surviving. Then the mother squirrel tucked herself down into a hole in the crotch of the tree. The two young ones popped their heads out for a look then ducked back down. Mom squirrel had made it home again. Marisa was happy. Go mom squirrel! You survived. That’s what counts.
Copyright 2007 Patricia Hilliard