Birmingham Girl

There was once a girl adored by all. Children flocked to her, the elderly doted on her, men gawked and women revered; such was her life. She, too, felt nothing but the utmost love for those around her. Animals, big and small, she cherished most of all. This quintessential love for creatures inspired and steered her life to the field of veterinary studies. With the support of her loving parents she mustered enough money to establish her own animal care center and to live out her dream of mollifying, treating, and rescuing any animal in need of aid. During those years she was the happiest she had ever been.

The people who left their pets—their family—in her care were captivated by guileless smiles and cheerful disposition. Word soon spread of her establishment, enough to warrant the attention of lawyers, policemen, doctors, writers, film directors, and celebrities. She met many interesting people and formed many friendships. Through this, she became a local celebrity herself. Life for her, it seemed, would carry on without quarrel and opposition, filled only with warmth and felicity.

But sometimes life has a way of stumbling headfirst into a brick wall.

We might see only pleasant futures before us and forget to mind our feet. We might watch our feet so often that we stray off course. But sometimes, even if we manage to do both, something or someone might find ways to disorient you.

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Of the many bonds she formed, her attachment to Margaret, though not sanguinely linked, bordered on the sisterly. Claire had no siblings, neither a young bud to nurture nor a blooming flower to emulate. She grew alone on a solitary field, at times she truly felt alone. Many shared her interests, but few walked down her same path, even fewer decided to remain in rural Birmingham. The colleagues she once exchanged pleasantries and ideas with set their eyes on distant lands; they traveled abroad and sequestered good cheer, helped preserve endangered species, and discovered new animals that had once been deemed poppycock and myth. Their exploits delighted her, ‘tis true, and thoughts of experiencing the world beyond the thicket in which she lived tended to flutter before her eyes. Yet, Claire felt no obligation to set out on her own. Had she done so, a twinge that she would be deserting a piece that made her who she was would surely keep her eyes open wide as buttons in the dead of night.

And so, the empty field she found herself in continued to expand, left as a white rose in a patch of dandelions.

That is, until she met Margaret.

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