Once upon a time, there were three adult sisters who lived together with their divorced mother in a small apartment on a busy city street. Valerie was the oldest and most responsible. She helped with every household chore, as well as constantly comforting her mother after a bitter divorce battle with the estranged father. In the middle was Victoria (who liked to be called Vicky), a relatively soft-spoken career woman who also happened to be the most dedicated to her long-time boyfriend. Last but not least came Vivian, the most entrepreneurial and vivacious of all. She was always finding new products and services to sell, at a profit, to both her extended family and friends.
Naturally, all four of the women, mother and daughters alike, were forever searching for new opportunities in terms of both career and romance. Every night, when all of them were finally settled in front of the TV and the late news report, they had a lively conversation regarding the latest adventures, conquests, and mishaps in their intriguing lives. Valerie was the first to speak about her worries, especially surrounding her sad mother: “Mom, we need to take you away for a weekend by the sea, where you can breathe in the bracing ocean air, watch the seagulls cruising high in the air, and you can even take a dip in the warm waves.”
The mother complained, “But Val, I’m perfectly happy with you girls here at home. And besides, you know I can’t swim, and I don’t even like to get my hair wet. Finally, all of you know that I’m simply too old for a new career—I’m completely satisfied with my simple job as a seamstress. And you keep talking about a new ‘boyfriend’ for me, but that’s nonsense. I’m more than 50 years old, and totally lacking in inspiration.”
Victoria spoke next: “You all remember when I told my friends to stop calling me Victoria. I don’t want anyone to associate me with that royal name. After all, if I were really a member of the royal family, I wouldn’t have to work so hard! Just kidding—I love my job at the mall—it’s simple and straightforward, and pays most of our bills. I’m like Mom: I don’t need any more inspiration—I’m still head over heels for my first boyfriend, and now we’ve been dating for five full years!”
When it was finally Vivian’s turn to talk, everybody settled in for a bit of a monologue: “My dear mother and older sisters. You know that I’ve been career cruising now for some time. We live a humble life here in this tiny apartment in the North Zone of the city. But I want to tell you, particularly my oldest sister, that the Southeast Zone of the city has all the latest and best job opportunities, the finest bars and restaurants, and ultimately the best quality of life. And now that I’m selling so many pairs of shoes (and colorful bras!) to you, my aunts, and all my girlfriends, I’m saving enough to make a downpayment on a spacious apartment where we all can live!”
A month later, the mother had a sudden change of heart. She spoke directly to her oldest daughter, “Val, I decided you were right. We need to go to the beach for at least a day. I only want to sit in a comfortable chair and look at the ocean. Maybe it will bring me some inspiration after all.” So, they took a crowded bus and headed southeast, soon leaving the city behind, cruising pleasantly down the mountainside. Then, they sat with their feet in the warm sand, and as the afternoon at the beach went on, more and more seagulls soared overhead, crying out to each other in their urgent bird language.
In the distance, the mother and daughter could see a pristine white lighthouse, sitting high on a rocky outcrop near a curve in the beach. The mother saw the seagulls gather around them, and thought only of the love and pride she had for her beautiful daughters, each smart and unique in her own way. Meanwhile, Valerie thought of the opportunities that lay ahead of her. She knew there was light and luck and romance waiting in the near future for her, and of course her cherished family. Her smile widened as the seagulls surrounding them became ever louder. Maybe she would even win the nationwide lottery, if her six auspicious numbers somehow came through.
The mother suddenly spoke: “Val, your youngest sister is always talking about career cruising. These seagulls flying every which way have made me think that I’m really not too old to try something new. Maybe I’ll stop as a seamstress and open a café. I think that could be my new career!” Val grinned at her mother’s audacity.
At that precise moment, she realized that they’d missed the last bus back to the city. But seemingly out of nowhere came a handsome young man, beaming at them and holding a large sign: “All Welcome at The Lighthouse! Please spend the night with us. Comfortable beds, and a bounteous breakfast. Tonight only: Mother and daughter, special package deal!!!”
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