Word Count 499
The Portfolio of Hope
by G. Ackman
Jane glanced all around before entering the post office. The coast was clear, so with a resolute step forward she opened the door, stepped up to the counter, handed over the large box, and waited for the clerk to scan and weigh it. Jane giggled a little at the clandestine moves she had taken to get here, but it was absolutely necessary. Her parents would be mortified if they knew. It just simply wasn’t done – a child, especially a daughter, must always follow the directives of the parents. The parents know best and make decisions for the good of the entire family. But Jane did not want to be a doctor. She hated the sight of blood and found no satisfaction in doing intimate tasks for other people, even her own family. She did not want to spend her next eight years in a stuffy classroom, followed by long hours of grueling residency work. Yes, sure, she would eventually make lots of money and be able to not only support herself but her parents, which of course, was the basis for their reasoning.
But Jane knew something that her parents did not, could not know. Jane knew that she was a person separate from her parents and while she loved and respected them, she was now an adult, or nearly so anyway, and she knew that she deserved to life the live she wanted, not the life her parents wanted.
Jane wanted to be an artist. The process of creating brought her alive in ways that she could not have ever believed possible. The play of colors and using shadows to highlight the beauty in the ordinary took her soul to heights that soared above the mundane.
So, with the help of her art teacher, Ms. Williams, an eccentric but gentle soul who recognized not only Jane’s talent but her passion, Jane actively went against her parents’ wishes and mailed off the large package. She knew that if it worked out, her parents would be furious. She hoped that Ms. Williams could be kept out of the fray, but the short woman in a paint-splattered t-shirt, assured Jane that she wasn’t a bit worried about that. “What are they going to do, fire me?”
Four interminable weeks later, Jane, who had been making sure she was first to the mailbox every day, saw a letter addressed to her. A single flat envelope. Her hands shook as she held it, filled with an equal mix of excitement and trepidation. So much was inside. A future filled with color, light, and creativity, or a future filled with drudgery, paperwork, and resentment. She had to know. Ripping it open, her eyes went to the first line. “Thank you for submitting your portfolio. We were impressed with its quality and would like to welcome you to the Art Institute. We are prepared to offer you a scholarship to cover your tuition, room, and board. We look forward to meeting you in the fall.”