WHAT IF

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Do we regret some of our life-changing decisions

WHAT IF?

WHAT IF?
The old-age question.
Could things have been better?
We all come to a fork in our lives.
To the left wealth, fame maybe glory?
To the right poverty, war life of misery.
The decision has to be made.
These monumental choices are thrown at us at a very early age.
It starts in the womb.
Do I want to be a boy? Do I want to be a girl?
Finally, nature chooses you.
Let`s hope it is the right choice.
In some countries, a girl is not the preferred option and life could be very short or non-existent.
INFANTS AND JUNIOR SCHOOLS
Friends, easy one would think.
From a large family, you get used to playing with boys and girls but suddenly you have to choose.
Being natures choice a boy, my peers are quick top point out that only cissies play with girlies and they are not as strong or daring as us muscle headed young men.
Your big sister is also quick to point out that they are going to get me in trouble.
She is heavily backed by Mum.No one argues with mom.
Dad reassures me that my peers are correct and to go out and enjoy myself but don`t bring any trouble home.
I wonder why he gave me this advice out of earshot of mum.
That`s it a major decision has been made, let`s hope I don`t live to regret it.
It is the end of the school day and I have already told mum I don`t need her to take me home, none of my friend`s mothers does and after all, I am nearly eight well seven and a bit.
first big adventure, we are all going to take shorter route home along the cut, or the canal if you are not local.
An abandoned narrowboat is a pirate ship. Armed with a bullrush, my mighty sword I am one of the loyal crew and I have to stop any boarders.
A voice booms out "Get off that barge, it`s too dangerous and slippy."
He could not have said it any sooner, a deafening scream followed by the inevitable splash, "Man overboard."
Luckily the marooned pirate is one of the older boys and manages to swim to the towpath into the waiting arms of the voice.
We all slink off home promising not to say a word to our parents.
Nobody remembers how the drowned rat got on but it is safe to assume he put his wet clothes into the dirty washing.
Tomorrow is another decision day, do we go scrumping or do we go straight home.
Methinks the lure of free apples might win the day.

Getting older now and wiser, pity my expanding body is not keeping time with my brain.
Pocket money the route of all evil.
Two pounds a week doesn`t sound a lot but I have matured into the look at me with my cigarette dangling from the side of my mouth.
All the major film stars smoke so it is only fitting I join the group.
At this time no major health hazards were associated with smoking and in some circles, it was considered to be a healthy activity.
The passing of time would come back to haunt us on this particular question.
I`m the man but I know it all and I am only fourteen.
Mother asks me many a time if I am wasting my money on the dreaded fags whilst she is actually smoking.
"No, I`m not that stupid," followed by a hefty whack around my head.
The dirty brown nicotine stains on my finger had started the suspicions and leaving empty packets lying about confirmed my guilt.
The whack was not for smoking but for lying.
The moral to this little story "Do not tell she, who knows all lies, "you are only going to get caught.
Aged fifteen, time to move into the real adult world Goodbye school hello work life.
My two-pound per week pocket money which was a result of doing a paper round was a thing of the past, but now I would be into big bucks.
Was I in for a shock,

My four pounds a week in a sealed brown packet were duly handed to mom.
Holding out my welcoming hand I was duly rewarded for my forty-hour week with a single pound,  Yes a pound.
I am going off this wonderful adult world quick.
The What if? a question has not affected me at the moment.
I don`t think I would have had a better life being a girl. My current memory is that most girls are born bitches, snidey and a very jealous sex.
Prone to crying and telling tales. Their idea of fun is walking the barbie doll with a tiny pushchair. No, not for me thank you.
Choice of friends, pretty much the same reasons, being scared of everything.
A few close shaves with idiots falling into the canal and the same idiot falling out of trees then having a bad stomach with all the scrumped apples he ate.
Now going into the big world and earning a living is a matter of many choices.
Should I pursue further education? Another year did not appeal to me and I already had older siblings waving money in my face and creating a bit of envy.
Desperate to get out of school at the earliest legal date meant taking any mundane job that came my way.
Trainee toolmaker/setter sounds okay if you say it quick enough but boring.
I looked at the workforce already there and was not impressed.
Many had been there for a lifetime and their idea of luxury was payday and a fish supper and a bottle of stout.
The foreman looked about eighty but was only thirty-five. He had been there for twenty years and was still using a pushbike.
Three weeks later I was out of there, I wanted to be an engineer or something that involved hands-on.
Within days I was a machine maker which would involve becoming an indentured apprentice.
On a three month trial which meant a lot of filing and drilling, I was easily not going to last long.
Several of my school friends also worked there and they opted to sign on the dotted line.
It was time to sign up and I just couldn`t do it. The apprentice money was very low and the thought of five more years made up my mind for me.
One of my brothers had joined my dad in the building trade and teased me with his big buck paydays. I was doing forty hours per week, not this 35 to 37 1/2 hours of boring tedious repetition work for a quarter of his wages. He was allowed to pay board I still had to hand over my unopened pay packet.
I then moved to something I was more adept at, I became an HGV mechanic.

Now there was never doubt in my mind about using tools for a living.
Being the kid most of my time was spent cleaning and doing errands.
I hated Fridays, fish and chip day.
whilst I didn`t mind swanning off for up to an hour, I was always the lucky one behind the office worker who was getting about twenty different orders.
Mind you I was sixteen now and standing next to a gorgeous similar aged girl helped pass the time.
I think I would be punching above my weight with this little beauty though as she was the daughter of the factory owner.
Still, nothing ventured nothing gained.
"What you up to tonight?" I enquired.
A bit of negotiating and a date was on the cards.
It got a bit awkward when she asked me If I was going to pick her up.
Chuckling, I explained that my Raleigh bicycle was only a single-seater, not a tandem.
When she realised I was younger than I looked I sensed, rejection.
However, we agreed to meet at a local dancehall.
If she was disappointed with my age and form of transport, wait till she saw me dancing.
Like a fool I let a mate come with me, after all, she had mentioned that she normally went out with one of her friends, so maybe a foursome.
Wearing my best two left feet I took to the ballroom floor.
Not realising it was a mixture of ballroom and rock and roll numbers, it only took a minute for me to change to a similar red colour of the velvet curtains.
Yes, I was treading on thin ice.
I glanced over at my friend and he was stuck down the neck of her friend.
When the up to date music came on I fared a little better but wearing a black suit with strobe lighting is one big no-no.
The only thing I  was good with on the night was being served beer.
The girls were okay wearing their makeup, easily pass for twentyish but my mate who was at a legal age only looked about fifteen and ID cards were not the norm.
I eagerly awaited the last, even I couldn't cock that up, could I?
I walked her home to the poshest part of town.
She asked me where I lived, but I was too embarrassed, to tell the truth, and mumbled a less horrible place.
A quick peck and I made tracks. It was a long way home and all the buses had finished by then.
I had arranged to meet my friend unless he had hit the jackpot.
His night had been worse than mine. The other girls' brother had turned up and took offence that a rough necked punk had the nerve to be with his sister.
Several punches later and he was on his way too.
He had blabbered mouthed about our luxurious place of residence, so the thought of another date went out the window.
I was dreading next chip day.
In my wisdom, I progressed to driving a motorbike, a BSA Bantam 125cc.
Not the best bike in the world but it had wheels and moved under its own power.
Being the over-anxious fool I was, I neglected to insure it.
It was only a matter of time before I would be pulled over.
I managed seven months before the fatal day happened.
Some eagle-eyed copper knew my family and assumed I would be illegal.
Losing my licence for six months was bad enough but it would clash with my seventeenth birthday when I would be able to drive a car.
Devastated, I just had to grin and bear it.
My dad gave me a right roasting, I won`t repeat what he said but he asked why drive illegal when I was earning decent money.
Explaining that although I was earning triple my money from the previous job, mom still only gave me one pound.
He soon sorted that out and upset mom who was only to take four pounds per week board.
What if I had been legal would I still have seen the girl, would I have bothered with a motorbike at all. Probably not.


Submitted: October 31, 2020

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