“See Becca! I knew no one could do what you could
do down there!” Jeff said to her earlier as she was
checking out of the hotel. “That office has never been
more organized, and I know the new manager learned a
great deal. That strategy plan you threw in for the
management team was very clever too. HR is clapping up
here! Rebecca Campbell is our star!”
Rolling her eyes at Jeff’s cheesy compliment, she
wished him a Merry Christmas and hung up the phone.
She didn’t want to hear from him or anyone else in the
company for the entire week she was going to be off. An
hour later Rebecca turned the key into her apartment and
pulled her suitcase inside. She could not be happier to be
home. It was chilly inside, as she had turned the heat
down very low. After turning it back up, she went into her
bedroom and turned on the extra electric heater she had
for her bathroom.
Boston might be known for its charm, but the old
apartments are anything but warm and cozy. The heat
seemed to slip right back out her windows that needed
updating and Rebecca was convinced no one knew how to
insulate walls in the entire city. She spent a fortune every
winter to keep herself warm and investing in extra electric
heaters while costly, was a necessity during the harsh,
snowy winters – where weeks of a deep freeze sent her
electric bill skyrocketing.
Turning on the bath and adding in some bubbles and
essential oils, she went into the kitchen for a glass of
water, set the coffee for the next morning and grabbed the
book she left by her living room couch. She couldn’t wait
to soak in the hot water and go to bed. Before she got into
the tub, she turned off her phone and plugged it in – she
refused to answer anyone’s calls or texts for at least 24
hours. Even though she was back home from a trip and on
vacation, it was Christmas after all. She still needed to
shop for gifts and knew it would be a hectic few
days. Slipping into the warm lavender aroma, Rebecca
closed her eyes and took some deep breaths before she
opened them to read. The water soothed her aching bones
and the oils helped take her headache down.
An hour later the water was cooled down and she
finally got out. Glancing at the clock, it was only 8:30 pm,
but she decided to skip Netflix and head to bed. She
melted into the soft warm sheets and before she could
think about what gifts to buy the next day, she fell into a
much needed, undisturbed deep sleep.
Her windows rattling against the howling wind the
next morning woke her up. Turning over, she saw that it
was nearly 10 am. She hadn’t slept that long in years! She
sat up and stretched, her chest felt lighter and her aches
were gone. Much better! Getting up, the smell of coffee
filled her nostrils, and she threw on a sweatshirt while
looking out the window. Snow was falling and it was a
cold, windy day. Shopping would be a challenge in that
After scrambling eggs and making toast, she poured
herself some coffee and sat down to eat as she watched
the snow pile up against her window. Realizing she still
hadn’t turned her phone on, she decided best to check it –
especially since she knew her mother, Cindy, was most
likely trying to call her. Once her phone lit up, a list of
text messages came in. One from Brandon telling her
again what a great job she did in Atlanta. One from her
friend Jess asking if she could tag along on her Christmas
shopping today. A weather alert. And one from her mom
asking if she felt better and if she landed okay. She also
asked if she could handle making the pies for Christmas
She shot back a text to her mom first, knowing she
was probably worried by now.
I’m better. Landed safely yesterday afternoon. Took a
hot bath… bed early.
Slept very well…10 hours for the first time in a week!
What kind of pies do you want me to make?
Followed by a quick thank you and Merry Christmas
to Brandon and finally Jess.
Hey Mom! I’d love some company. I am leaving in
about an hour. Still haven’t showered yet.
Vacation life! Meet me at our favorite Starbucks in
Copley Place? How about we grab some lunch too?
Rebecca loved Boston, especially during the
holidays. Downtown would be lit up with holiday
shoppers everywhere and the smells of Christmas delight
would be pouring from the restaurants and bakeries. After
growing up in a small town in New Hampshire and
attending a small college nearby, Boston was the perfect
size for her to live in. Not too big and not too small,
however, the streets made no sense. Four years in the city
and she still got lost often. The streets had many
unmarked signs and no matter how many mental notes
she took, she always ended up on the highway after one
wrong turn. Jess, a Boston native, joked that a handful of
drunk Irishmen must have built the city!
Before she went back into the kitchen to put her empty
plate and mug in the sink, she saw some of her oil paints
on the dining room table. A new set of colors that she
bought at the end of the summer, sat on the table
unopened. She remembered putting them on the table to
bring into her guest room where her canvases were, but as
always – her job and life were too busy to paint – and
they remained forgotten on the table. Walking over to the
table, Rebecca chuckled a bit to herself because it shows
how often she uses that table! Followed by a big sigh as
she ran her fingers over the colors. It had been nearly two
years since she last completed a painting and her mother
always seemed to remind her of that.
She loved to text Rebecca pictures of all her drawings
and paintings she saved over the years that she would find
stored in the house somewhere. It always made Rebecca
feel sad instead of inspired to start painting again. Maybe
one day soon…
The town of Snowbay is New Hampshire’s best kept
secret. Growing up there was a dream and every time
Rebecca came home, she smiled in all her memories here.
After establishing as its own town in 1962, with a
population barely breaking 500 people – the town was
named after the large grove of sugar maples in the town
and quickly became a “fashionable Victorian resort” type
of town. Attracting all kinds of die-hard ski fans every
winter to the state’s White Mountains and its many resorts
that are nearby. Snowbay’s unique dining always did very
well, including Rebecca’s parents who own the diner in
Walking to the front door, she realized that her
parents may be at the diner. It was 11 pm on the night
before Christmas Eve, when no one wanted to cook, so
they were most likely still cleaning up from a busy night.
That’s where Abby must be! That pup loved to go with
them and during the summer months, you would see her
sitting outside the front door, greeting customers with a
friendly wagging tail. In her early years, her high energy
always made the locals laugh and the tourists run!
Rebecca’s parents ran a great diner with delicious
homemade and nutritious food that both her parents made.
Everyone in town came for her mom’s buttermilk
pancakes with warm maple syrup and baked goods from
snickerdoodles to homemade donuts. Her dad’s dinner
meals were mouthwatering and made everyone come
back for more. She smiled as she rang the doorbell and
after a few minutes with no answer, concluded that they
were still closing up. Reaching down, she lifted one of the
loose rocks that lined the walkway and sure enough – the
spare key still sat there.
Letting herself in, Rebecca smelled the woody pine
from the Christmas tree and what was probably remnants
of cranberry. Most likely a holiday blend her mother was
burning in her essential oil diffuser. Rebecca made a
mental note to buy one for her apartment in Boston. It was
so good to be home! For a moment, she wondered if she
should text them and let them know she was home so they
wouldn’t be startled when they came back, but she
remembered her car would be a good enough warning
anyway. Leaving her bags in the front hall by the stairs,
she wandered into the living room and headed to the
kitchen to get some water.
She picked up the framed photo of her high school
graduation as she passed by the living room and looked at
her parent’s smiling faces, so proud of her for a job well
done. She focused in on her own eyes in the picture,
which were filled with the excitement of going to college.
Rebecca didn’t even recognize the girls smiling back at
her. This young version of herself looked strong,
That was not all she was staring at in the photo, for
she was holding a pencil sketch she made when she was
about ten years old of her dad. That was the sketch that
began her quest to become an artist. It had been years
since she did a pencil sketch or any type of artwork for
that matter. Rebecca put the picture back down, feeling
defeated against her own self and who she was today. She
halted that journey of growing as an artist and suddenly
the weight of that hit her hard.
Just as Rebecca was making her way from the
kitchen after retrieving a glass of water, the front door
opened and her mother came bursting through the door
with a huge smile on her face and Abby, their dog, on her
“Becca! I knew that was your car! You’re home!”
Her mom ran over to greet her daughter with a big hug.
Rebecca bent down and Abby drowned her face with
doggy kisses. Rebecca’s regret of all her life decisions
suddenly seemed to vanish in the presence of her mom,
whose smiles and excitement she couldn’t ignore.
The sounds of cabinets shutting woke Rebecca the
next morning and after remembering where she was, she
sat up. Abby shifted on the floor beside her and sat up
with her. She may only be home occasionally now, but
Abby always chose her to sleep with regardless.
Stretching, she realized all her aches and pains were now
fully gone – he had never felt better! There were no more
signs of the flu and whenever she was home, she slept
sound. Her sleep seemed to be more restorative and
deeper while home, and she always woke up with as
much energy as a teenager.
Glancing at the clock, it was 9:00 a.m. Her parents
should both be knee-deep in pancake orders and endless
refills of coffee. Who was downstairs? She got out of bed
and a chill ran through her. Mountain air felt nice to
breathe in, but it was sure cold – colder than the wind
tunnels of Boston! Slipping on a sweater she pulled out of
her bag, she headed downstairs. The cranberry smell hit
her once again on the stairs and it smelled so good!
Her mother was bent over in the refrigerator, filling
up her bag with avocados and lemons. Rebecca stared at
her for a moment…what was she doing?
“You aren’t going to make pancakes with lemons
now are you, mom?” Her mom jumped, nearly banging
her head on the drawer.
“Becca! You scared me!” Her mother stood all the
way up and closed the drawer. She went on. “We are out
of lemons and it seems the whole town is a bit sick and
wants lemon tea. Our supply is dwindling by the second.
But feeling ill apparently doesn’t stop them from coming
in enjoying some pancakes while spreading germs! And
the skiers are all asking for avocado on the side. Since
when do diners serve things like that? I can’t keep up with
these city folks! I needed more lemons, so I came here
instead of the store. Do you want me to get you anything?
If you want to help at the diner, there’s still plenty of time
“Sorry I didn’t get up sooner! There’s something
about being home, I sleep like a bear in the winter. I will
head into the diner soon. I can already taste your
cinnamon roll pancakes!”
“Oh, Dad saved a batch of those for you in the back.
The kids are plowing through those and I ran out of
cinnamon already and I just looked, and we ran out here
“Well, I better get some more for you! I’ll stop at the
store before I get there. What else do you need?”
“You are a lifesaver Becca! Grab like 10 more
lemons just in case. Maybe a few more avocados. Oh, and
flour! I am running dangerously low and if we run out of
the makings for pancakes on our annual Christmas Eve
pancake breakfast, it’ll turn into an avocado with tea
breakfast only! This year is more packed than usual! Lots
of out of towners must be at the resorts for Christmas this
Thirty minutes later, Rebecca was dressed and
standing in line at the store. The storm was bringing
everyone in early to shop for Christmas dinner and while
she was getting dressed, her mother texted her with ten
more things to get realizing that the storm would prevent
her from getting things they might need later. Rebecca
sent a quick reply and started mindlessly scrolling through
her Facebook feed.
“It can’t be the famous Rebecca Campbell in front of
me could it?”
Turning around, Rebecca found herself face to face,
staring into familiar eyes. It was her high school art
teacher, Mr. McGrady. All the feels seemed to hit her at
once, but the biggest one was an uneasy sense of anxiety.
She hadn’t seen him since she graduated and left for
college, with high hopes on becoming an oil painter. He
was her biggest fan. No, scratch that – she had in fact
seen him around town but was always able to avoid any
encounters until this moment. Her heart began racing.
Would she find the right words for what she knew he was
about to ask her? Why can’t she just stand up and be
confident? After all, she wasn’t lazy or sitting around
“How good to see you again! How are you? And I bet
by now you have some amazing paintings. I can’t wait for
you to tell me everything. Every now and then, a student
will come into my class that will blow the other students
out of the water with their artistic skill, but no-one has
been able to impress me like the infamous Rebecca
Campbell!” He smiled at his student he mentored long
Rebecca felt heat in her ears and her mouth went dry.
“Mr. McGrady! Wow it has been some time since
we have seen each other!” Rebecca looked down at her
hands and swallowed, not sure what to say next. Luckily,
he jumped in.
“You don’t have to call me ‘Mr. McGrady’ anymore,
Becca. Call me Paul and I’ll say! I think I saw you a few
times around town over the years, but you must have been
busy because before I could catch you, you always
vanished!” Paul winked at her with a smile.
“I can’t wait to hear all about your latest work! I’ve
tried to look you up a few times on social media, but I’m
not particularly good at all that and could never find you,”
“Well, I…,” Rebecca started to say something, but he
cut her off.
“So happy we are finally face to face! How long are
you in town for? Are you free to grab some coffee and
chat after we get our groceries?” He stared at her intently,
Why is this line moving at a snail’s pace? Her mind
was racing for words to get her out of the conversation.
She was so shaky and nervous, that she started to sweat.
She felt ridiculous being so nervous. Why won’t the
words just come? After all, there is nothing wrong with
just telling him the truth. So, what that she hadn’t picked
up a paintbrush since college and had worked her way up
a very respected company in Boston.
As she stared at her old teacher, still fumbling for an
answer, something suddenly hit her. It wasn’t Mr.
O’Grady who needed an answer – it was her who needed
one. Why wasn’t she pursuing her passion for painting?
“Becca! Becca!” The voice came from the end of the
line. She and Paul both turned to see who it was. It was
her best childhood friend Gina, waving at her – while
trying to hold her wiggly, twin boys’ hands.
“Can you put your groceries on the conveyor, Miss?”
The clerk was ready for her to check out. Relief washed
over her as she reached into her cart.
“Oh, yes, of course!” Rebecca said, while waving
back at Gina. Saved! When she was finished loading her
groceries on the belt, she turned to Paul. “It certainly was
great to run into you! I’m not sure how long I will be in
town yet, as I have some plans for New Year’s back in
Boston.” She gave Paula a small smile.
“Oh, well I understand. It is a busy time of year too.”
Paul squinted his eyes, studying her and he couldn’t help
but notice how nervous she appeared.
Reaching for her credit card to pay, she continued her
story, “Unfortunately, I already made plans with Gina
back there after this. So I have to say no to the coffee, but
thank you anyway. I’ll try to look you up once I know
when I will officially be heading back and maybe we can
squeeze in a coffee date then!” She felt her face flush with
the lie and swallowed the lump of guilt, as she swiped her
card to pay. After she was done, she looked back at Paul
with a big smile. “Again, so good to see you!” She leaned
in and gave him a big hug.
“Good to see you too, Becca. I hope we can catch up
before you leave again.” Paul stared at her and his voice
was a little quieter. He was concerned. Something about
her didn’t seem like the old Rebecca.
What he didn’t realize was how accurate his intuition
Rebecca waited until Gina bought her groceries and
they headed out. The winter storm was already sprinkling
a light snow on the cars. Grass and sidewalks beginning
to be blanketed with white snow.
“Wow! Already starting! I better get this stuff to the
diner! Mom said this is one of the busiest years in a long
“Is it? We were going to drop the groceries at home
and head over. I can’t miss the annual pancake breakfast
too! I’ll see you in a little while!” Gina waved and the
three of them headed to their car.
Rebecca made a quick stop at the house and unloaded
groceries for dinner that night and breakfast and lunch the
next day. She had picked up some extra things at the store
and stocked them to bundle down during the storm. Thirty
minutes later, she walked in the front door of the diner. It
was still so packed, that families were lined inside by the
door, waiting for a table.
“Excuse me! Hi everyone! Oh hey, Patty!” Rebecca
greeted Patty, who was half standing on her table to wave
Inching her way to the kitchen, she pushed through
the door and heard a crash. A pan hit the floor and the
crash could be heard above the loud voices coming from
the dining room. Everyone became silent for a moment
before carrying on with their conversations. Jack came
out from behind the stovetops, shaking his hand in
“Dad? You okay over there?” Rebecca set the
groceries down and went over to see what happened.
“Hey Becca, yeah I’m just so busy that I forgot to
turn the pan away from the flames with an oven mit. Does
it look like it’s slowing down out there?” he looked
“Not one single bit. In fact, there are still about five
groups waiting for tables.” Rebecca began to unpack the
groceries. “Good thing I got double of what Mom asked
Cindy came flying through the door, with relief
seeing that Becca was finally there with the cinnamon.
“Becca! Thank goodness! The order for my
cinnamon roll pancakes are coming in non-stop! I had
enough to squeeze out some for the last table, but four
more orders behind it would be pretty upset if you didn’t
get here just now!”
Cindy grabbed the cinnamon and flour and as she
rolled her sleeves up, Rebecca stood back in amazement
watching her mom get to work. Her mom loved working
in the kitchen. For a minute, she watched both her parents
working tirelessly side-by-side, not speaking a single
word to each other, yet they both maneuvered flawlessly
around each other as if they were dancing.
“You two are such a pair at this! I’m always so proud
whenever I am home and watching this diner kick butt,
just like it has since the day you bought it!”
Jack glanced up and smiled in response, while Cindy
couldn’t see past her pancake mission to say anything
except to start barking orders.
“Becca, I need you to get out there and keep things
flowing while I whip up these pancakes. Tables 5, 14 and
19 need refills, coffee on all three tables and 4 OJ’s.
They’ll tell you what they ordered, just bring it all on the
tray. Table 3 is ready to check out and after that, swing
through all the tables and see if anyone else is done. Get
Bobby to bus the table that is leaving asap. He was out
bringing the trash outside when I came in.” Cindy didn’t
look up once while she listed off what to do.
Rebecca laughed. “Yes ma’am!” Even though she
was teasing her mom, she was also proud because she was
just like her and every time she was here, she was
reminded where her work ethic came from!
Four hours later, the three of them slumped in an
empty booth and waved goodbye to the last of their
customers. The snow was coming down heavier now and
the grass was completely covered.
“Go on home, Becca, while the roads are still safe.
Your mom and I will handle closing up. Bobby did a great
job keeping the dishes going and there really isn’t much
left to load for the final wash.” Jack looked at her with
An hour later, Rebecca let herself into the house and
Abby came bolting towards her wagging her tail. Her
parents left her home for this special pancake breakfast,
knowing how packed it was going to be. She didn’t do as
well in larger crowds and new faces. Abby might have
scared them away with her barks.
“Hey girl, you must need to go outside.” She barely
got the door opened, as Abby practically knocked her
down to get outside. She laughed watching her jump
around in the covered grass, like a little kid in the first
snow of the year.
When Abby came in, Rebecca headed upstairs to take
a hot shower. Her shirt had syrup on it, sweat was dried
on her back and her muscles ached from carrying too
many heavy trays. She forgot how much work waitressing
was! Or maybe it was because she was a teenager when
she did this regularly. When she finished, the steamy
bathroom made it hard for her to see. The front door
slammed below, and her parent’s voices filled the silence.
She was thankful they were home because the storm had
picked up even more, along with the winds. Lights were
already flickering, and she was thankful that Jack had
installed a brand-new generator a few winters before. It
certainly came in handy for storms like this one.
Rebecca dressed in some comfortable clothes and
went downstairs to make tea. Christmas movies were
surely on and all she wanted to do was relax by a fire, put
a heavy throw over her shoulders and watch them. There
is nothing more soothing than the feeling of being hugged
by a cozy blanket! Her parents were in the kitchen,
looking just as tired as she was.
“I think we made a month’s earnings in one morning!
I know we have five days off, but I am already tired
thinking about our New Year’s Eve party we have to do.
Is it too late to cancel that?” Jack said, laughing, but
Rebecca knew he was half serious. Cindy gave him a look
as if to warn him to not even try her with that.
“Oh sure, Jack. With nearly thirty groups who have
given their rsvp… you think we can cancel?! And we paid
for the band. I am too exhausted to even joke about that
Cindy turned to face Rebecca with a smile, “Hi
honey, thanks for your help today. I am going to take a
hot shower before the power cuts out, which will most
likely be soon. Our car nearly blew off the mountain on
the way home! Jack before you go up, can you get a fire
“Actually, I need to head to garage to chop some
more wood anyway, so I’ll be up in a bit.”
Rebecca made some tea, sank into the couch and
scrolled through the movies. She settled on one and
looked at her phone messages for the first time in hours.
She had a voicemail from work. Why was work calling
her on Christmas Eve? Feeling quite annoyed and
surprised that her boss was even in the office, she debated
about whether to listen to it. But she knew it would bother
her if she didn’t. So, she pressed on her voicemail.
“Hey Becca, it’s Jeff. Listen, I know it is Christmas
Eve and you’re on vacation, but if you can give me a
quick call back, I would appreciate it. It’s a little after 1
pm and I’ll be here until about 3. Thanks!”
Rebecca glanced at the time and saw that it was
almost 4 p.m. Hesitating, she wasn’t sure what to do.
Anger started to bubble up because she shouldn’t have to
call him back. She was on vacation and it was Christmas.
However, like she normally does, she ignored the anger
and gave in to the guilt and called him back. It went to his
voicemail and she left a message and stopped herself
before she was about to apologize for missing his call.
She could at least show some sort of boundary. After all,
why should she be sorry? It is her vacation, and she is
home in New Hampshire – there is no need to explain
where she was. Just as she was feeling more irritated and
curious as to why he called her, she saw a text from him
Hey, just left you a voicemail. Can you give a call
when you get a chance today? If it is after 3, just call my
Seriously? How rude of him to be so pushy. What
could he possibly need? Rebecca’s mind began to cycle
all the reasons why he could have called her. Her
annoyance slowly turning to full anger.
Hi Jeff, I just called the office and I…
No! She stopped herself from finishing the text. She
will call him after Christmas. She would blame it on the
storm and bad reception and…
…just finished helping my parents at their diner. I
am free anytime to talk now.
She sent the text back anyway. So much for
Rebecca woke up on Christmas morning with a
heaviness in her heart. After calling her boss, she felt so
low and the rest of the evening was spent trying to figure
out why? Her mother made a wonderful meal, the storm
was fun to watch – but she just wasn’t feeling the holiday
cheer. Sitting down for some tea with her dad later on in
the evening was what finally got her to understand
everything she was feeling inside. Parts of her
conversation with him was on repeat in her mind.
“Rebecca…I know you have tried all through dinner
to be happy for your mother, but we both see right
through that plastered smile. When your boss called, you
looked really pale after. A reaction that would seem as if
he fired you.”
“No dad, just the opposite. He needs me to come
back to the office tomorrow. I guess I am the only one in
the company who can take on this new assignment. There
is a new division opening in California and he needs me
to set up a lot of things. Then needs me to launch it all. I
didn’t even know about this new division until now.”
Rebecca took a big breath and sighed it out. “Sounds like
an interesting asset to the company. They are going to
Her dad gently cut in. “It sounds as though your boss
just asked you to cut your much needed vacation short by
six days and come back to work. That’s what it sounds
like to me.”
When he stated it like that, it made Rebecca pause
before answering. When Jeff explained to her what going
to happen in California and the company’s goals, it
sounded rather exciting. He certainly had a rush to the
tone of his voice and the compliments to her were nonstop.
It felt good to be recognized as one of his most
crucial assets to the team and in a way, she felt proud to
be so trusted. While her head agreed with her pushy boss,
her heart and stomach did not.
Looking back to the conversation, Rebecca
remembered how much her stomach twisted into knots
and her heart raced. What really stood out to her now was,
how easily she ignored all that and told her boss she
would be there at 8:30 a.m. sharp the day after Christmas.
It was like she answered him in a trance and now she was
out of it, reflecting on how controlled she really felt. What
was worse, she felt tension begin to form in her head and
neck. As her heart raced in response, she noticed that she
was holding her breath. Have I always done this? Rebecca
wondered as she blew her breath back out and proceeded
to take slow, long breaths to steady her heart.
Pushing the memory of the day before out of her
mind, Rebecca shook her head and knew it was time to
start Christmas. Getting out of bed proved to be much
harder than she anticipated. The sun was gleaming off the
snow and shining brightly into her windows. Her muscles
were stiff, and head was pounding a bit. Hope she wasn’t
getting sick again. She didn’t sleep well, and it wasn’t
cause of the winds from the snowstorm that was pounding
on her windows, it was the storm inside her heart.
Turning on the bathroom lights, Rebecca noticed the
window to the bathroom was so frozen with ice that she
couldn’t see out it. One of her most favorite things about
her bathroom at home was being able to look out the
window and into the rolling trees on the mountain that her
parent’s house was. She turned on the water to let it warm
up and went back into the bedroom to pick out her outfit
for the day. A nice red, cashmere sweater and soft pare of
leggings would work great for the snowy Christmas day.
She took a nice long shower, enjoying the hot water
against her skin and the lovely smells of sweet smell of
toasted almond and juicy cherries from her soap that was
soaking into the steam.
She felt much better after the stepped out and all her
aches were gone. Wrapping a big fluffy towel around her,
she took a hand towel to get the steam off the mirror.
When she finally looked at herself, she saw something
different for the first time in years. Sure, she saw her
brown hair and green eyes and all the features of herself –
but that wasn’t what she was looking at. What suddenly
had grabbed her attention, was the fact that she was
looking at the Rebecca that has been lost for so long. She
was looking at the real Rebecca…the Rebecca that is
silently screaming at her to pay attention to.
And it felt so good.
Rebecca’s phone was sitting on the table in front of
her. She couldn’t bring herself to turn it on, but she knew
she had no choice – she had to make the call. It was 5
a.m. and her boss expected her to be in the office in three
hours. She hadn’t even left New Hampshire yet and
wasn’t planning to. Pushing down her nerves and
imagining her boss’s face at what she was about to do, she
instead, put the image of her father’s face from Christmas
Eve in her mind. That was the face that was the most real
to her and made sense. Not only did that conversation
snap her back to what is missing in her life, but really
made her realize how low she felt.
Pulling her shoulders up, she stretched her neck out
by bringing her head from one side to the other. How does
one carry on in life and not realize how beat up they feel?
For Rebecca, feeling “low” didn’t just include her
sadness, in which she had done a really good job ignoring,
but also her body that has been screaming at her for
The tension headaches, racing heart on and off,
insomnia - all had taken a toll on her. Thinking back, she
lost count how many times she attributed all of that to just
the normal stress of her job. Her insomnia always seemed
to pop up the night before she had to travel, and she was
always rubbing away her tension headaches on the plane
ride home. Anxiety had become a regular visitor in her
life, so much so, that it almost didn’t notice it. Never
mind, how her body ached all over in response to the
anxiety. She suddenly remembered all of the meetings she
had standing up to walk around the room as she spoke, in
order to combat her racing heart.
Without even realizing it, tears were falling down her
cheeks. Only when they began to pool off her chin, did
she finally wipe them away. She pictured her art set,
unopened, just sitting on her dining room table. Has it
really been three years since her mother gifted her all of
that on her birthday? The blank canvases, beautiful new
oil paints, brushes, easel - everything!
Her coworkers flashed into her mind and the
relationships she had developed over the years. A few of
them she really liked and admired. She had such fun with
them on all the trips and after work getting dinner and
drinks. What she respected the most about them was how
passionate they were about their positions in the
company. Did they have racing hearts too? Did they
spend hours awake the night before they had to travel?
Did their muscles constantly ache?
Out of nowhere, it hit her. She has spent years
fighting to work her way up a company, all while
competing with absolutely no one. Her coworkers seemed
relaxed because it is what they want to do. Yes, they have
struggles just like her, but they genuinely want to be
there. The ones who don’t? Have already left the
company or planning to as they work towards their goals.
So, why hasn’t she?
Is the answer really that simple?
Rebecca groaned, wanting to stand up and go to the
mirror to shout at her own self. When you lose connection
to who you are, life gets a lot more complicated than it
needs to be. This isn’t the life that she has set out for
herself since she was a child. Art was who she was. It was
more than just a hobby; it was what she dreamed of doing
her entire life. So much so, that she majored in it in
college, ready to conquer the art world. Where did that
artist go? The artist who was not afraid to fail and was
filled with ideas on how to utilize her art in so many
Her body has been trying to communicate with her
for years that the life she was leading as a Talent
Acquisition Manager was not for her. Sure, she was good
at it, but those are skills she learned along the way.
Money was nice, but she knew in her heart that money
could be earned with the passion she had to paint. Love
was bubbling in her heart as she almost squealed with
excitement. All she wanted to do was pick up her brushes,
filled with years of frustration and let it all out through
each stroke. Perhaps a nap or two as well. She needed a
long break, the kind that required her to call her boss and
let him know she wouldn’t be coming back.
Rebecca had no plan in place, but she knew one
would come. The love started spilling out of her because
she picked up her phone with ease. As it rang, she wasn’t
worried, she knew that the love would paint the way.