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Sharleen And Her Mountain

climbing dollar upon dollar

By Tony MartelloPublished 6 months ago 5 min read
Which way shall I proceed?

Sweat drips from her forehead as she climbs the dusty mountain. She turns her head side to side searching for a cool breeze. She notices a slight chill in the air toward the foggier side of the valley. She turns toward the breeze but clips her shin on a cactus needle poking out across the trail. Blood drips down over her socks tainting the all white that once was. She passes a rope swing to her left as she approaches the steeper part of the rocky obstacle. Glancing up she hops off the granite rock and onto the sandy hillside. She eagerly runs up the sandy slope but regretfully slides back down to the rock. More sweat flows down her cheeks and into her mouth. The salt from her sweat parches her mouth and the the blood dries crusty on her shin reminding her of human frailty. Gradually, her vision of the top of the dark and formidable mountain fades and she awakes to an undesirable headache.

Sitting at her kitchen table, Sharleen opens the envelope that reads The Mine’s Company re: Department of Education as she sips on her French press coffee. She pinches her eyes inward and rubs her temple with her right hand. The bill reads, your next payment of $740 is due on August 31st, 2023 at 11:59 pm. Under neath the monthly payment, shows the remaining balance of $86,567. She has been paying this for 9 and a half years and still hasn’t conquered this mountain. She reflects on her earlier years and dreaming of becoming a teacher to lead and inspire the youth in the community. Her headache persists with a resounding dull achy pain. Strong coffee used to take her caffeine rebound headaches away but not this morning. She shuffles over to the kitchen cupboard and grabs 2 Ibuprofen to melt away the anvil wedged in her cerebral cortex-that much needed brain matter for clarity to inspire and motivate the children and young adults in society.

She recalls the conversation in the break room with Stan yesterday, “just write them a cancellation letter every few months until they cave and grant it to you.”

Sharleen shares, “I’ve written a few but maybe with not enough conviction or desperation…”

She asks Stan, “what was your justification?”

He smirks and replies gleefully, “I have rheumatoid arthritis, and made a case for disability. In addition, I claimed bankruptcy last year!”

She pauses in desperation. That could be me soon. She makes sure not to let anyone in the coffee room know her secret worries.

In the corner of the room a woman with wiry silver hair jumps in, “I’ve been tutoring after school for 6 years now and am barely making it with all the tremendous living expenses and lack of energy. I feel like a slave to the system.”

Stan encourages, “don’t feel bad. Consumer reports show that close to 70% of student loan borrowers can’t’ afford their monthly payments. All that interest is like insult to injury, and it all goes in the lender’s pockets. While we sacrifice our inner talents and priceless energy, they count the interest and payments while the hour glass is spending and the system collapses. Any smart economist knows it’s a matter of time before this prolonged monopoly game comes to an end. It has to. The government owes too much and can’t manage its own budget anyway. How are we supposed to mange our own if our elected leaders can’t?”

The next day Sharleen stops Thomas, the school therapist in the hallways,

“Thanks for your help with Julian. His anxiety had calmed down a bit. May I ask how you did that?”

Thomas replies, “sure, I had him draw a picture of how he feels about his current household situation, and then we explore it together. Then, the following session, I have him draw his household how he wishes it would be like.”

Sharleen leans into Thomas’ space and comments, “fascinating. I think I see where you’re going with this. You’re empowering him by freeing up his mind to imagine and create a new scenario, right?”

Thomas smiles, “exactly, and to learn to believe that you have the power and autonomy to make it happen!”

Inspired by Thomas’s approach, Sharleen sketches a picture of the dream she had the day before. It portrays her dismal vision of a vertical slippery and lonely mountain side with cactus thorns and dusty whirlwinds blowing in her face. The next day she shows it to Thomas and he asks her to describe her sketch.

“I feel stuck at the bottom and am very uncomfortable climbing this dusty, prickly cliffside.”

Thomas takes a deep breath and of course asks, “how would you like this mountain to look and feel?”

She nods and returns home that afternoon. This time Sharleen makes an ice tea with lemon and opens her sliding glass door to the let the evening breeze in. She begins creating a beautiful green mountain with refreshing citrus trees and jasmine bushes flourishing around the walking trail. She takes a deep breath and inhales the fragrant jasmine and imagines walking along the newly designed trail that spirals upward in a capable fashion.

The following day she shows her ideal mountain to Thomas. He nods his head up and down and reinforces, “Wonderful, now pin this up where you can see it everyday and marry emotion with your new concept and work on believing it until it happens- and it will happen.”

Sharleen springs forward, “when will it happen?”

Thomas reassures her, “treat it as if it has already happened and allow organic nature and time to decide when the ugly mountain will be moved or changed or transformed.”

Sharleen pins up her ideal drawing on her refrigerator and gazes at it each day. She continues to write letter upon letter to the Mine’s Company. After a year and a half of believing, sending letters, and sharing her experience, she receives an approval letter from the Mine’s Company stating that her loan will be reduced to a $0 balance year over year until 10 years have passed and then she could have it totally cancelled.

That night as she falls asleep she floats to a misty place where the mountain has shrunk into a smooth and rolling hill that looked like the trail she and her friends would walk and run weekly. The next morning she wakes up to a married belief that emotion, will, and intention could conceptually move mountains.


About the Creator

Tony Martello

Join an author like no other on various tales that entertain, philosophies that inspire, and lessons that transform us. He is inspired by nature, the ocean, and funny social interactions. He is the author of Flat Spell Tales and much more.

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