Happily Unsuccessful

By L'rein Vinalo

Note: Plagiarism is evil. Don't do it!

Review!!! Why? Because I need your input. I love positive comments just like everyone else, but what I really want are constructive criticisms. What you liked, what you didn't like, what you think that needs to be changed etc.

Chapter 1

Most of us dream and expect to get our hands on that perfect career. The career that gives us the status we wish to have and maybe even gloat about when we talk with relatives and strangers; the career that gives us the night of attending a gala, drinking a glass of Bordeaux or whatever other wine they offer while mingling with unfamiliar faces; the career that gives us the money to earn ourselves a glass of Bordeaux or whatever wine on a regular Wednesday night, sitting back elegantly on a black leather couch while watching a rerun of Will and Grace in a cozy, expensive red-brick apartment.

Okay. So maybe it's what I want, but I'm sure a lot of people dream of the same thing. And those who think differently might have a slight variation of their so called successful dreams, but they are still the same dream, right?

Actually… to say that I want it doesn't do justice. Wanting is temporary, like a black silky top from Banana Republic, or a pair of black velvet pumps from Nine West. Those are things that you want, but later on you forget about them.

No, I don't want the dream -- I need the dream. I need the dream so much, that I've endured five years of college to prep for law school. Yes, it was stupid of me to try. It was stupid of me to convince myself over and over how I could do it when I knew deep down I couldn't. I'd blame it on a few people, but unfortunately it all comes down to me.

So anyway, holding my title as the bright child of the Thomson name, my family had always encouraged me to take up law. Sarah Thompson, Attorney at Law. That would have been an awesome title... Thompson has that certain lawyer-spark to it. I even looked perfect for the job. I'm a dull brunette with dull brown eyes. Stereotypical, yes, but let's face it -- not everyone can pull a Legally Blonde.

I thought I could do it. I really thought I could. I earned the grades at first and got the scholarships... it was a lot of work, and for a while I did shine through my GPA. The work in my last two years of college however, well, let's just say that I had never expected an outcome like that.

It wasn't so bad at first. The work load was to be expected. We had to prepare for the LSAT, apply for law school… I was pretty damn confident.

Well, lesson learned: confidence means absolutely nothing unless you really know what you're getting yourself into. And that's a tricky thing to realise when you've been so convinced that you were for most of your existing life.

I learned my lesson during my internship. I got to taste and see the wonders of law during my internship, and I got to tell you... after all the fantasizing of arguing a case, whether in court or in a meeting room, what I observed was a big disappointment. To be an attorney, that meant I couldn't live my dream.

I couldn't attend galas to drink fancy wines and mingle with strangers; I couldn't sit back on my black leather couch, sipping wine and watching television in my red-brick apartment.

I wouldn't be able to live my dream, because to be an attorney meant giving away almost all of your personal time. I'm no idiot. Of course I knew the job involved a lot of paper work. It was when I literally saw the first 12 inch stack dropped on an already piled up desk of an unsuspecting worker where my determination had been shot.

Since then, my motivation weakened by the day, and to those who are thinking of taking law: there is no time for hesitation.You are either ready, or you're not. And I obviously wasn't ready. I don't know why I didn't leave sooner. It would have saved me the time and tuition money. Thank god I had all of those scholarships though, or else I really would have fucked things up financially.

My parents or course, did not take the news well, but I'm not even going to go into detail over it. All I'm going to say, is that when I came back home that summer, I went back to that same college during the fall and took my LSAT later in the year, as originally expected.

Much to my delight, I scored well, but not well enough to compete for law school.

My parents were disappointed, and I was upset of course, but glad that I got out before it was too late. I'm sure my parents will understand. It may take them years to get over it, but they will eventually. At least I hope they do. Mom and dad never really got over my issue with the band instructor from middle school. The guy was a real prick, and during the time I had begun to experiment with swearing.

My parents urged me to go back to college to take up a different major, but honestly the work I endured to get into law school left me exhausted. Which brings me to another realization: if I can't handle the pressures, I'm not cut out to be a lawyer… which is fine with me. I can find other occupations that could make me happy.

So anyway, here I am, about a year after I quit college, sitting back on a dirty cracked wooden seat in the subway station, sipping a cold caramel macchiato and reading US Weekly. Not exactly the dream I want, but it's sort of like it… I'm living in the city, which is part of the dream.

I grimace after taking another sip of my caramel macchiato and check my watch. Out of habit, I absently feel around for my briefcase. I don't know why I brought the silly thing. All I took with me were two copies of my resume and a health record in case they wanted it. I can't even carry the damn thing around because it's so heavy. Why make it so heavy when you have to stuff it with other items?

It's a Jack Georges. Never heard of the brand, but it cost my parents over three hundred bucks. My parents gave it to me during my third year in college. At first I was in love with the briefcase because it has a black leather exterior and a navy velvety interior. It isn't the typical briefcase that flips open at the handles. It's like a big shoulder bag, only it has a handle instead of a shoulder strap, kind of like a laptop carrier. I tried carrying my homework in it one day but had to run back to my dorm because my hand went red and completely sore. It was a pain to carry around, but I had fun showing it off.

I check my watch again. I have exactly ten minutes to get to my interview. Not bad. I'll be there right on time, maybe five minutes earlier than I intended to arrive. I left about an hour early, so when I arrive, I'll have about an hour to prep some more for the interview.

I purse my lips and grab my briefcase to check if I have what I need. Two resumes, a health record and a pen. After placing the briefcase back I jump when I feel a vibration in my coat. I pull out my cell phone and see my roommate's name on the screen.

I just moved in with Lila about a month ago. I met her through Vince, my best guy friend at her bakery Delilahoorah. We hit it off well when we met, exchanging phone calls and setting dates to hang out. Not long after that she mentions that she was looking for a roommate, and of course I immediately volunteer for the position.

"Hey Lila."

"Were you kidnapped? Where the hell are you?"

I raise an eyebrow. "No, I'm on my way to the interview."

There is a three second pause over the phone. "You're serious?" Lila says. "But your interview isn't until 8:15. When did you leave the apartment?"

I check my watch. "Um, I left at around 6:30." I pull back wincing when I hear her cackling.

"Sarah, you're insane," Lila laughs. "Six thirty was my bed time. If it weren't for my job right now, I'm pretty sure it would still be my bedtime." I hear a loud scratchy noise coming from her background.

"What's that noise in the back?"

"That's the blender. I'm making a smoothie with some vod. Gives me a fresh kick in the morning. You have to try it. Maybe it'll cure your neurosis."

I roll my eyes. "Whatever. Don't you have to be at work in thirty minutes? You're late you know. Traffic and all."

"Babe, thirty minutes is plenty of time. All I have to do is throw on my outfit and dash out the door. Besides, I'm the boss there, remember? I'm allowed to be tardy."

I smirk and shake my head. I open my mouth to lecture, but close it, knowing it would be useless trying to change an old habit. "Right."

"So, do you have any plans for the weekend?"

"Nope. I've got one hundred more dollars to spend before I consider myself completely broke, so I have to be stingy this weekend."

"Ugh, don't worry about the money! I don't mind lending a little cash when you need it. Listen, a friend of mine invited me to go to some bar on Saturday and I want you to come."

I purse my lips together and quickly go over any plans I have, but quickly stop myself. Oh, right. I have no plans... force of habit. "Sure, I'll go. Is Vince going?"

"Don't know. He made dinner plans with his fiancé on the same night, so he might not make it," she giggles, "Lover boy is going to be there though."

I wrinkle my nose. "Bob? I'm sure he'll leave me alone this time. I told him I wasn't interested."

Lila laughs, "You sure about that? Bobby's known to be pretty relentless."

The subway I have been waiting for finally arrives and slows down to stop. "I got to go. I'll give you a call after the interview."

"Good luck babe. Oh, word of advice! You need to loosen up. You're early, and my bakery is on the same street of your building. Hop on over there and treat yourself." Before I could say anything, she speaks up again. "— and don't give me that money bull crap. Tell them I sent you so you can eat for free."

I sigh and give in. "Alright, what's the budget?"

"Hun, you can eat the whole bakery and I still wouldn't give a damn. Just make sure not to get a stomach ache before the interview. And if you're nervous about that, I have tons of Rolaid in my office."

"Thanks, you're the best."

"I know. Good luck!"

As I close my flip phone, I can't help but smile. Lila is such a treasure. When the train finally stops, I grab my purse and my briefcase while I secure the US weekly magazine under my arm. I grunt at the weight when the thin hand begins to tighten against my fingers.

God why didn't I use my shoulder strapped purse! I had to go and complicate things. Damn briefcase.

I eye my Starbucks cup for a second and carefully hasten to the nearest trash bin. The briefcase alone probably weighs about fifteen pounds. Fifteen pounds isn't much, but carrying it with a thin, measly handle makes it unpleasant. I can feel the vibration from my cell phone go off again. I pull out the cell and groan when I see my mother's name on the screen.


The briefcase is slowly beginning to cut the circulation on my hand. I manage to pile it under my arm with the magazine, but it starts to slowly slip backward. I catch it before it could slip out of my grasp, but now it's starting to slip forward. My clammy hand is doing nothing against the smooth leather.

I let out a frustrated sigh. Now my stupid purse is slipping down to my forearm and the cellphone continues to vibrate. After ignoring my parents for the past month, they decide to call me now, out of all times. Screw it. I'll hold the damn briefcase with both hands.

I flip the cell open with my bottom lip and grip it down on my shoulder with my ear. "Not now mom, I've got my hands full right now." The entrance is just a few yards away… If I pace myself, I can make it.

I take a deep breath and start to walk quickly but smoothly. If someone were looking, they were probably laughing. I feel like an awkward ice skater.

"Don't 'not now' me! You've been avoiding our calls for over a month now. Now all I want to know is how you're doing for god's sake," my mother spoke angrily through the phone. The door is getting closer! You can make it! You're going to make it!

"Mom, I really can't talk right now. I'm about to enter the subway."

I roll my eyes when mom goes at it again. Oh well. Once I get in the train I'll lose reception. There it is, there it is, I'm almost there! Keep your eyes on those sliding doors.

"— you're just avoiding us like before! Would you stop whatever you're doing, we have to talk! This is why you couldn't even get into law school, you're always running away!" my mom continues on.

"Is that Sarah?" I hear my father in the background. "Let me talk to her."

"No, Henry. I'm not finished yet!" says my mother.

I hear a third voice but it isn't coming from my mother's background. He's trying to tell me something but I ignore him, my mind already blocking out the rest of the world as I try ignore the nagging woman on the other line.

I feel like my head's going to boil over. Forget it Sarah. You're about a few steps away and then the conversation will be cut off. The signal on the phone is already weakening.

Yes, one more step! I can feel the tension disappear! I--hey, what the… what the fuck am I stepping on?! Where's that dog—fuck!

NO! No-no-no-no-no-no-no!

Oh God, my briefcase!!!

"Hey, are you okay? I tried to warn you but…"

Oh God my ass hurts... and my Jack Georges briefcase is ruined… that was the only classy thing I owned beside my shoes, which is now also ruined… and I think I'm sitting on dog shit.

Deep breaths, Sarah. Ugh, that smells... don't cry... don't cry-don't cry.

"…leather case expensive? If it is…"

What is he going on about..?

"…Jolie here loves to chew on leather. I'm so sorry about this. Here's your cell phone."

I absently bring out my hand and he places the phone in my palm. My eyes look back and forth at the man and at the phone and I hear my mother screaming through the receiver.

"Hey… you do know that you're sitting on dog crap, right?"

With my mother still nagging, I close the cell phone shut. "Yes, I KNOW I'm sitting in fucking dog shit!" I attempt to get up and I feel the man's hands gripping my waist. I slap his hands off. "NO. I don't need your goddamn help." I slide my purse back on my arm and grab my ruined briefcase. "Look at this!" I point sharply to the briefcase. "This was $300! Look at me! My heels are ruined and I smell like shit!" Tears are streaming down my face and I see the man's face grimace as I scream, but I don't even care. "I have an interview to go to and I live a half hour away from here. What the hell am I supposed to do now?!"

"Well if you would like, I could—"

"NO," I screech. "I told you I don't need your help! Can't you get that through your thick head?!"

"Really, I insist… It's the least I can do."

Deep breaths, Sarah, deep breaths. One… two… three… four… five… six…

"I know what you can do for me," I say through gritted teeth. "I am going into that subway train anyway, and if you are going in too, I suggest you goto a different car where I can't see you. Would you do that for me? Oh, better yet! Why don't you go down on those tracks and lay down for a while!"

"If that's what—"

"Good day, asshole."

I spin right on my crap-covered heels and stomp into the train. This is great. Just wonderful. I hope that man accidentally eats his dog's shit one day. The phone starts vibrating again and I am tempted to slam it against the floor. But then I realize that my cell phone is expensive too and quickly stop myself. Despite my anger I'm amazed that my phone can still get reception.

Out of the corner of my eye I can see people slowly migrate away from me. They probably smell the feces. Wonderful. I don't even dare look at my briefcase again. If I do, I'll probably start crying again.

You know what; maybe I will go to Delilahoorah. I'll call Lila and tell her to go back to the apartment to get my clothes. And a fresh pair of heels. I dial the apartment number on my phone.


"Lila, I need you to do something for me."

"Jesus, are you alright? You sound like shit."

I clear my throat. "I'm fine. Are you still home?"

"Yeah, I was just about to leave, why?"

"I'm on my way to your bakery. I need you to bring me a new suit for my interview along with a pair of heels."

"Um, okay… Must I ask?"

"No, not right now."

"Okay. I'll see you there."

As I shut my cell phone I slouch back on the seat and shut my eyes. My lids are pulsating. They pulsate when I get really stressed, overwhelmed, or angry and right now I'm a combination of the three. The only thing that is giving me confidence now for the interview are Lila's pastries. When I get to the bakery, I'm gorging.

Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. There'll be plenty more soon!

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