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Cecilia walked down the street in the big city, the smoke from her cigarette fogging the florescent, murky sky. Day, night, there were no tells save the suits in the bar windows. So many men fresh off work, reluctant to return home to bothersome wives and troublesome kids. So for a drink or two they’ll stave off the inevitable; the life they themselves slaved so many years to achieve as a plaque, a milestone, a social check mark. Cecilia could not help but smile. She was in her mid to late thirties, professional hair and makeup sitting atop a fine suit she purchased just the week before. An estranged mid to older man might go so far as to label her attractive in a certain light, if she allowed herself to be in such a situation. Cecilia was a successful, strict lawyer. I say successful because she had yet to lose a case. I say strict because she only represented a select group of citizens. She chose her clients very carefully. Walking amongst the tall buildings and low hanging street signs Cecilia had a rare moment of reflection. The select group of people she chose to represent were not what regular society would deem worthy of defending. They were not drug dealers, murderers, hell, they weren’t even child molesters. They were domestic violence offenders. Men (Cecilia never represented women) charged with beating their girlfriends and wives within an inch of their lives. Cecilia made a killing off defending such men, and as her reputation proceeded her she was a repeat offender’s go to woman. This evening, for instance, she was on her way to meet a client she’d worked with before. Two wives and cases later it seemed a woman had landed him in hot water yet again. Cecilia cared little for ethics. It was a relative term and she was not in the business of relativity. She arrived at a cocktail lounge, dim blue and green lights illuminating the window silhouettes, and thought it a good of place as any to meet privately for business, which she was certain her client did often. Rule number one with Cecilia: she did not want to know. Not if you beat your wife; she assumed if you were in need of her services the answer was affirmative. But to know little else. If you cheated, where you liked to eat, or even your favorite color. The less she knew the better. She walked in through the small, single door and found her client sitting at the bar, looking seasoned and all together unbothered by the most recent allegations and scandals. All thanks to Cecilia.  

What Do You Want?

“Urg, I’m not getting anywhere fast enough!”

Sunshine ruffled the long white curtains at Uncle’s house. Joseph sat at the dining room table with books and papers spread like a buffet, head in hands. He was writing a paper, amongst a hundred other things, but it was the paper in this moment that really drove him up the walls.

“What seems to be the trouble?” Uncle walked from the kitchen with two mugs of tea, setting one down next to his nephew, reserving the other for himself.

“I have a paper to write and it’s not writing, but I also have twenty other things to do, and nothing is getting over with and I feel like I’m losing my mind and─”

“Calm down, calm down,” Uncle petted the air. “Take a break and sip some tea.”

“I don’t have time!” Joseph pulled at his hair. “How can I stop when I feel like I haven’t even started?”

Uncle sipped his tea. “Why do you have so much to do?

“I don’t know,” Joseph said with a sigh. “Maybe because there is so much I want to do?”

“Do you really want to do all these things? They seem to only stress you out.” Joseph seemed at a loss for words, though he claimed, “Yes. I’m sure I want to do all these things. If I wasn’t why would I lose sleep over them?”

“You are equally dedicated to each?” Uncle continued.

“I can’t sit and philosophize with you all day.” Joseph leaned back into his work. “Look, five minutes have passed and I have yet to accomplish a thing.”

“Why do you think the turtle is so slow?” Uncle asked.

“What?” Joseph furrowed his eyebrows in frustration, keeping his eyes on his work.

“Why do you think the turtle is so slow?” Uncle repeated. “He exerts so much time and effort and energy into going… anywhere. Into doing anything. Why does he bother at all if it takes so long?”

Rolling his eyes Joseph cracked a smile. “I don’t know. Tell me quick so I can get back to work.”

“Ey, you should really listen to me! One day you’ll wish you had.” Clearing his throat Uncle continued. “To decide what is actually worth getting to. That is why a turtle moves slowly. It may seem like he’s wasting his time, but really he’s not. You must take up your time, look at it, hold it, feel it beating alive in your palms, to know it’s true worth. Only once you’ve spent enough time with time itself can you know what it’s good for and what to do with it. What direction to aim in and say “Fire away!” To know what is really worth getting to is going to take time. Until then, spend your time will all the things, and don’t worry about the act itself too much.”

“So I should enjoy the process and value my many interests, right?” Joseph summed.

“If you don’t mind being a turtle.” Uncle shrugged. Joseph took up his cup of tea, smelled the beautiful aromas drifting from the liquid, and took a drink.