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Happy Inspirational

They all look nervous, they all check their phones every five seconds, they all close their eyes and mumble something they clearly memorized, some of them bite their nails and this girl in front of me is clearly praying the lord she gets the spot. It amuses me, it really does, because when I see them, I relive the emotions I felt every time I had a meeting to prove myself to someone.  I hope I could sit with every one of them and tell them that it is better to surrender to whatever life has planned for them, trust what they know and what they are worth and stop ruminating on the what ifs, who ifs or where ifs. But my time would be lost. 

I was 45 when I retired, right after my daughter went off to college. My husband and I worked as writers and editors for more than 20 years, we had no debts, Lauren’s college was already paid for, so without hesitation, we sold everything we owned to travel around the world and do everything we couldn’t do when we were young because we ruminated too much about the future, about the what, the when, the how, and the who. We traveled light and managed to live that dream for 9 years. On the 10th year, we arrived at an island in the Caribbean after a road trip for south America and we fell in love with it, with its blue-green water and its walkable mountains, with its local markets and with its food. But above all, we fell in love with the warmth of its people. After spending a couple of week there we realized that for nine years we didn’t only travel around the world, we were scouting for a place to spend our elder years. And we had just found that. We bought a property near the beach and built a beautiful coffee house that kept our pockets and our hearts full. 

I have lived in Margarita for almost 20 years now and today is my husband’s 10th month death anniversary. To honor him I am in a waiting room amongst a bunch of under twenty undergraduate kids about to be interviewed for and internship in a local travel magazine. Raul’s last dream was to work for this magazine writing articles about our travels. So, when I saw this job positing on Instagram last night, it seemed just about right to give it a try, for my husband and for all time’s sake. 

I don’t quite understand how these kids are so dressed up considering not only the 35°C but also the kind of job and the company we are all applying to. I think they spent more time choosing their outfit than researching the magazine. ¿Pa’ dónde vamos, Margarita? - Where to, Margarita? - is owned by woman under 30, she went to a public school and didn’t make it to college because her parents didn’t have the means. The magazine started as a blog, where she posted biweekly articles about travel destinations based on interviews she made to guests of the hotel where she worked as a maid. She made an agreement with the manager to use the business room on the lobby for the interviews a couple of hours every week in exchange for working an extra shift on Sundays. The blog’s hits kept slowly but steadily increasing every month and soon enough she was sponsored by some local brands. By then she was 23, and while some of her friends were already graduating, she used the money from the sponsorships to enroll for a bachelor on journalism. She was 6 years older than her classmates, but she didn’t care. The blog soon mutated into a printed monthly magazine, and this talented girl not only interviewed travelers, but she also started traveling herself and shared her own stories. This kid surfs every day, holds her office in a co-work near the beach and shares part of her days in social media. Never have I seen her or any of her employees wearing suits or heels. So, while all this kids, all younger than my oldest grandchild, are wearing collar shirts and fancy pants, I am wearing a very cool jean, a white t-shirt, converse and a messy and very grey hair. 

“Louise Grant?” a tall girl with a messy hair bun calls my name and her eyes scan the room looking for me in everybody else’s faces, not looking at the elder woman right in front or her, not looking at me. I stand up and let her know I am Louise, and she smiles at me. “This way, Mrs Grant”. I think for a second about asking her to call me by my first name, but I rather leave it like it is and see how this goes. While we walk through the aisles of the co-work, I must say nerves are starting to build up, I am starting to wonder if this was or not a good idea, do I want to have a boss again? will I have the time to deliver my work on time? Will my brain remember how to write brilliant pieces? What if my writing style is outdated and nobody cares about the travels of two retirees fulfilling their dreams? I enter the room and find the owner sitting on a couch scrolling through her cell phone. She is wearing washed out jeans, sleeveless shirt with an ocean blue cardigan on top, a perfect cinnamon tan and a beachy styled hair. “Louise Grant” I am introduced and the girl on the couch looks at me with very wide yes, it takes her a second to realize I am the next candidate for the internship, but she stands up right before the silence turns uncomfortable, points at the seat beside her to invite me in and says “Come in, Louise”. First name, all right, nerves starting to cool down. 

Miranda – that's the magazine’s owner’s name - is telling me a little bit about her story. Story I already know because my dear Raul did a full background check on her and on the magazine a few months before his passing. Her eyes shine whenever she speaks about her travels, but they shine brighter when she tells me about her business growth. I really admire this kid, her spirit, her tenacity and her passion. I’d loved to say she reminds me of me when I was her age, but that would be lying. I was a pretty regular person. High school, then college, then work, then marriage and then kids. Yes, I succeeded in all my endeavors, but never felt this kind of passion about anything other than my family. I knew I needed to work hard to have the life I wanted for me and my loved ones. As soon as I started working, I stablished an investment strategy so I could retire before 60, I knew that I needed a job with flexible ours because being a present mother was a priority. I managed to accomplish all my goals, professional and personal, but none of those goals made my eyes shine like Miranda’s eyes do. I have got to work with this girl. 

“If you don’t mind me asking: why do you want to work for someone again after so long?” She asks me with genuine curiosity and also some fascination.

“Before I met you, I wanted to work here to honor my late husband’s last dream. We are both journalists and we retired when our daughter started college, we sold everything and spent the next 9 years traveling around the world until we got here. This island trapped us, and we decided to take a permanent residence here. We’ve owned a coffee shop for a long while now and my husband started to feel he needed more, he wanted to write again but this time about our travels. My daughter tried to convince him to open a blog, but he wanted something printed and something local. He researched a lot and found your magazine. He wanted to reach out to you, but a stroke reached him first. He passed 10 month ago and I have been mourning him since then. Yesterday I felt tired of sadness and found a post on Instagram about this internship. It felt right, so this morning I took my bike and rode it here” 

She smiles and looks at me in awe. I think she likes me 

“You said before you met me...”

“Yes. Now that I’ve met you, besides everything I just told you, I want to work with you because I want some of your passion in my life. When I was your age, even though I liked my work and always felt very proud of every piece I wrote, work was work, a mean to have money to pay bills and to save for my elder years, nothing else. You clearly love what you do, and your work have a purpose, I want to be part of that. My husband and I kept journals of all our travels, and we have plenty of stories to share with your readers.” 

“I love your story, Louise. I really do. You describe your life as dull, but what you just told me is inspiring in many ways. However, I am looking for an intern and you are over experienced for this job. Basically, I want this intern to shadow some of our current journalists for a couple of months and then submit an original piece with the opportunity to be hired as a permanent writer. Your resume is outstanding, my writers should be shadowing you. Additionally, you are worth much more than I can pay you” 

She says this to me without any kind of shyness. I admire her so much. 

“You are right, but you are also wrong. Let me tell you why. Yes, I have written God knows how many articles. Articles about wars, the health system, politics, economics, life styles, investments and even the showbiz. I have written ZERO articles about travels. None of the newspapers of magazines I wrote for were owned by such a fresh an invigorating human being. I will shadow your writers and I’ll learn how to write for the people of this island with the vibe of this magazine and maybe, if I am lucky enough, I'll get to teach them something, interviewing hacks, for example” 

I pause, she smiles, and I continue. 

“My husband researched your demographics, and your readers are all under 40. Give me this job and I’ll put my heart and soul on writing pieces to engage people over 50. This kind of readers will bring new brands to the business and probably with more budget. And don’t worry about the money, I’ll take what is fair for this position.” 

“Now I’m afraid you’ll take my job”. She jokes and stands up 

“Watch out then” I joke back and stand up as well. 

“Ok, I’ll consider you for the internship. Let me finish all the interviews and let you know by the end of next week”

We shake hands and I step out of the office. I feel very, very good about the interview. We connected and I believe my pitch was quite convincing. I’ll ride my bike back home now and wait. 

It’s been a week already and I haven’t heard from Miranda or the magazine yet. Maybe she didn’t want to take the risk of hiring someone who doesn’t need the job for the money, maybe she isn’t as bold as I thought and she’d rather play safe, maybe she her magazine doesn’t need to widen its demographic or maybe I wasn’t as convincing as I thought I was. But I was, though. 

Anyhow, that interview woke something inside me, a spark that I am willing to feed. I am going to write again, maybe for ¿Pa dónde vamos, Margarita? maybe for somebody else. Perhaps I’ll give that blog Lauren suggested a try. But I am going to publish our journals. For Raul and for me. For us. 

“Table for one?” I hear one of the waitresses ask while I make a coffee behind the bar. 

“Yes, it’s just me. Thanks”. I turn around to find Miranda in my coffee shop. I smile and she smiles back. 

I walk towards the table and tell Cristina, the waitress, that I’ll take Miranda’s table. 

“How is it going?” I can’t stop smiling.

“Awesome. I’m coming back from the beach. Waves were amazing” 

“That I’ve heard a lot today. What can I get you?” 

“Just a Macchiato, please” 

“Coming right up” I turn around to fetch that coffee, but she adds something. 

“And your presence for the job on Monday morning, if you still want it” 

And just like that, after more than 30 years retired, I got a new job. 

October 07, 2022 19:56

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2 comments

Kimberly Walker
11:22 Oct 13, 2022

Interesting piece. Someone told me to make sure to read it twice and look for obvious mistakes like our vs hour and run Grammerly.

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Trebor Mack
03:23 Oct 13, 2022

Your proofreading missed a few errors...... 9 years = nine years; south America = South America; a couple of week = a couple of weeks; this kids = these kids; 10 month ago =10 months ago; jean = jeans..........and others. The overuse of vague and abstract words (75) and grammar issues (30) detracted from your story. Cheers TM

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