13 | Take Back Home Girl

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Dr. Pathak placed his hand against his chin, glancing at the clock in the back of the room. "Let's stop our discussion there. We'll pick back up where we left off on Monday. I hope everyone has a great weekend." He closed his laptop as the rest of the class scattered from the room.

I slid my chemistry book into my backpack before standing from my desk. "Have a great weekend, Dr. Pathak." With a wave of my hand, I crossed the room to the door.

"Allyson, may I talk to you for a minute?" Dr. Pathak asked as he strolled across the front of the room and stopped beside me.

I pulled the strap of my backpack higher on my shoulder and took a deep breath. "Yes sir. Is everything alright?"

Dr. Pathak placed his hands behind his back as a large white smile spread across his face. "Everything's fine. I just have a few questions for you."

"I'll try my best to answer them," I offered with a meek laugh.

Dr. Pathak was slender, despite his years, and his shoulders didn't stoop at all as he stood beside me. "I was just curious if you've picked a major yet, or decided what you wish to do after college."

I glanced at my shoes and tucked my hair behind my ears with a small smile on my lips. Dr. Hawthorn had asked the same question in my therapy session last Sunday. A few months ago, I never would have been able to give either of them an answer. But I've come a long way since then.

"Yes sir. I plan to major in chemistry and get a minor in biology. I've made the decision to pursue a career as a doctor. I want to work in an underserved community to help improve the quality of healthcare in those areas. There are people out there suffering because they can't afford to take a trip to the doctor, and I want them to know someone is there for them, too." My eyes rose to meet his brown ones.

Dr. Pathak nodded as he watched me. "I'm so happy to hear that. You've become one of my top students. I think you will go on to do great things in the medical profession. Your motivation seems to come from your heart, and that's a trait you can't teach." He cleared his throat as he glanced out to the hallway.

"Thank you, Dr. Pathak. The journey hasn't been easy, but I think everything is finally starting to fall into place for me." I smiled as I gripped the strap of my backpack.

"If it's easy, it isn't worth it." He opened the door for me. "I won't keep you any longer, but Allyson, if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I love to watch my students fulfill their potential."

"Yes sir, of course. Thank you." I gave him a smile and stepped through the door.

The empty hallway of the science building was quiet except for the sound of my shoes against the tile. A poster of the football team slipped from a thumbtack and floated into the middle of the hallway. I picked it up to pin it back to the wall, and my thoughts wandered to Daxson. The Tide didn't play a game this weekend, which meant Daxson could make the drive home to see Malik play in the first round of the state playoffs. He had been giddy all week because he couldn't wait to cheer his little brother on. I was happy he got to go, but my selfish side wished he would've stayed here with me.

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