Gabriella glanced at the elephant-shaped clock that hung on the wall of the waiting area. Fifteen minutes until her lunch break. She tapped on her computer keyboard aimlessly. She was feeling oddly restless today; she needed to get out.

A quarter of an hour later, she was walking briskly down the street, with no particular destination other than away. The air had an edge to it and she breathed in and out, filling her lungs, pumping her legs faster, faster, until she was practically running.

To where?

She had no answer. Running away from the office? She wasn’t a child; she knew she needed to get back in a half hour, and she knew she couldn’t rush in to greet the patients red and sweaty. Yet she had an irresistible urge to run, to spread her arms and fly through the wind.

Don’t be stupid, Gabriella. She hadn’t done such a thing in over a decade. Besides, she thought wryly, what if she met someone she knew? What if her daughter didn’t get into high school, or — gasp — find a shidduch, all because her strange mother decided one fine spring day to go racing down Main Street—

Oh, you cynic.

Gabriella slowed down her pace. As she did, she became conscious of her heart rate, quickened from the exercise, pulsing through her limbs. She flung her head back, relishing the feeling of alertness, of being on edge.

Ahh. That was it, she realized. She’d wanted to feel alive.

A short while later, she was back in the office, punching in information for a new patient, and gritting her teeth. She’d come to a decision, out there in the wind, and she was going to do it, now, before she lost her courage.

Or was it, before she came to her senses?

You need this, she told herself, desperately. This can’t be wrong, because… because…

Because why? Because she wanted to so badly? Because Hashem wouldn’t have helped her discover a talent only to throw it away forever? Because she was 34 years old and if she had to spend the next 30 years of her life punching in stupid medical codes, she was going to end up exploding one day, and she feared the aftermath of that would be much less pretty than what she wanted to do now?

Gabriella finished typing up the patient info, closed the file, and — now, now, now, before she could think a second more, she opened up her e-mail and pulled up the old address.

Hello Doug,

She chewed the inside of her cheek. Doug? Maybe, 13 years after graduating, she should be calling her celebrated film school director Mr. Morales? Could she possibly assume that he remembered her?

She pictured him: jeans, black T-shirt, 50-something, balding. Nah, definitely Doug.

I don’t know if you remember me, but I graduated from the Academy back in ’05. Since then, I’ve taken a few detours in life, including some time to start my family, and I’ve now reached the point where I feel ready to return to filmmaking.

She paused, her nerves tingling as she typed. Did she really? She thought of her six young children, and all of the demanding needs of her household. She thought of their ever-pressing financial needs, and the steady income she was currently getting from Melanie.

She took a shaky breath and continued typing. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 595)