"Young dreams never come true", the lanky teenager said in a tone that almost sounded like she was mocking her pudgy younger sister who just timidly confessed she wanted to be a vet when she grew up.
Those 5 words didn't make sense to her at that time. All she knew was that she had watched her elder sister feed the stray black cat at school during recess time, a stray that her sister named Astreal after the black cat in "Smurfs". She witnessed how her elder sister picked a stray puppy up from school, brought it home in a cardboard box, only to get a earful from their concerned father and auntie because they weren't sure if the puppy was "gam chek" (had worms in its tummy). She was also fascinated by all of her elder sister's prized books on animals, especially a hardcover black book named "Dogs" that had a picture of Lassie on its cover and talked about all the wonderful dog breeds of the world. She envied how her elder sister was always so at ease with their cousins' dogs and the dogs of strangers she met on the street - playing, petting, laughing and having the time of her life.
Most of all, she knew her elder sister's ambition was to be a vet who helps animals, and she too, wanted to be kind and compassionate to all God's creatures, just like the jie jie she looked up to.
She didn't know why her elder sister said those words and what those words really mean, but she could sense the severity in the tone her elder sister used. The words left a sourish feeling inside her but strange enough, it also gave her a sense of empowerment and a sense of determination that she would some day, prove her elder sister wrong.
And who would have known, these words didn't just ring in her ears that very day; it resonated in the depths of her heart for the next 20 years....