Early April, and I was thankful that the seclusion of winter appeared to be finally coming to an end. I welcomed the fact that the sun was so bright that it required my efforts to find my hibernating sunglasses in my car console. I cracked the window and welcomed the warm salty breeze. I peered out into the bay and smiled as the ocean glistened like a sea of diamonds; effortless and without barrier.
I turned off of the rocky-enveloped road and into the lush garden estate. The tall manicured spruce trees outlined the property and the rod- iron gates were open. I drove down the gravel road until I came to the lookout. I pulled the car over and sighed, taking in the glorious site: the rocks, the sea and an iceberg creeping into the peninsula. My eyes then drifted to where they stood. I grabbed my blanket laying in the passenger seat and made my way over to the bluff.
“Sorry it took me so long,” I said, as I laid the blanket down on the exposed grass that had already dried in the long-lost sun’s heat. “You would not believe the day I had.”
“Hi sweetie,” Uncle Grant said, removing his eyes from the red pepper he was cutting. I could smell the chicken cooking in the frying pan and I gave a small smile knowing that it was fajita night. “How was practice?”
“Same old same old,” I answered as I removed my jacket and placed my keys in the communal bowl full of wallets, keys, receipts and random expired video store membership cards.
“You have mail,” he said.
My breath caught in my throat. I stood still for a moment and then asked, “Did you open it?”
“Of course not, we left them on your desk,” he turned back to his chopping.
“Them? As in plural?” I curiously asked. Grant nodded with a grin.
I took a moment to take in, that upstairs on my faded lacquered wooden desk, was possibly my future sealed in manila envelopes. “How long ‘til supper?”
“Twenty minutes or so,” he answered as he threw the peppers into a hot frying pan that instantly began to sizzle.
“I am going to have a quick shower then, if that’s alright?” I asked as I picked up my black sports bag and placed it over my shoulder.
As I made my way upstairs, I said a quick hello to Morgan, who was catching up on her teenage paranormal television show. My other cousin, Teagan, had her door shut, probably studying. I made a quick turn and walked into my bedroom. Immediately my eyes spotted the four envelopes tastefully fanned out on top of my laptop. I walked up to the desk and without taking my eyes off of the envelopes I placed my sports bag on top of my denim quilt my grandmother had made for me which lay folded at the foot of my bed.
I picked up the letters and looked at the return addresses: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Alberta and New York. I was thrilled to receive my letters, regardless of what their outcomes could entail, but my breath caught in my throat when my eyes caught the United States letter. Without thinking, I dropped the ones from Canadian universities, and held onto the American letter. I considered the size, the postage, the weight, anything that could give me insight on what this document contained. I flipped the envelope in my hands and tore at the seal. I unknowingly held my breath as I pulled the piece of thick ivory paper out of its tomb. Upon reading the first line, tears began to cascade down my face.
Dear Ms. Piper Sullivan,
Congratulations! We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted to the University of New York, in the Science program starting in the fall. At this time, we would also like to offer you a full scholarship in exchange of you joining our women’s basketball team. We look forward to hearing your response and cannot wait to see what you will be able to do for our school, on and off the court.
Sincerely, Dean Marc Benoit and Coach Kelly Wilson.
“Your little girl did it,” I cried, taking one more look at the page and folding it up as I sniffled back the tears of joy. “I am going to go to school in New York City and play basketball. Can you believe it?” My eyes drifted to the monuments to the right of me and my tears of joy quickly turned to tears of sorrow. “Aunty A, Uncle Grant and the girls are taking me out tonight to George Street to celebrate,” I hesitated as I swallowed my rising emotions in my throat. “I really wish you were here,” my voice cracked, staring at the carving of my parents’ name in cold granite headstones. A warm breeze then blew by drying my tears and warming my body. A small smile appeared on my lips as I turned back to the ocean.
CONTINUE TO Chapter One