Until the Day I Died

Reads: 68  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
All our lives are plagued by "what if"...What if I'd done this instead of that? What if I'd worked harder? What if, what if, what IF...

Submitted: October 12, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 12, 2010

A A A

A A A


Until the Day I Died
I will be thirty on Tuesday and my life will officially be at least one-third of the way over. And what have I accomplished? Nothing. I sit here having to write yet another small article for a magazine I’ve never heard of and I find myself unable to continue. I sit and stare at the blankness of my apartment, amazed at how perfectly it represents my life. Looking back, I cannot help but wonder what if? It is a common thought indeed to wonder what if one had done this instead of that. Would I be where I am right now if I had chosen a different course? Did that one tiny space of time actually shape what I am at this moment? I believe that it did. I believe my life would be better, perhaps even perfect, had different pathways been chosen. So many different chances had and yet tossed away. And all of it done for what? Fate? Hardly. Fate is a notion dreamed by those of us who made these mistakes. Fate is a way to console those of us who can not let go of the “what if”. Fate is our scapegoat.
What if he had kept his finger out of his nose?
When I was seven, I fell in love with a boy three days older than me. At this moment I cannot recall his name but his face…oh, his face…it is deep-seated in my memory as though I had seen him only moments ago. His hair was a deep brown with those perfect highlights it seems only children are blessed with and he had such warm hazel eyes. That was what I loved about him—we had matching hair and eye color—and for me it was the truest of all love.

Isn’t it always true, though? Being that young, love cannot be any more pure. No lust is involved, no second guessing, nothing but heart and feeling. I never voiced my feelings, my trepidation having always been a barrier, even to this day. Nevertheless, I swooned over him and felt as though he could be my one true love. As it always happens, though, the day came when my love for him disappeared. We had all gathered on a worn blue rug—probably for reading time—and I looked over at the boy with matching eyes. For a moment, my love swelled and thoughts of playing house with him crossed my mind. But then his finger, wrapped in a film of filth and dirt from recess, reached into his nose. Being a second grader, one would think I would not care about this but I did; this movement killed my love for him completely. As his finger moved from the inside of his nose to his mouth, I was crushed. My perfect boy was no longer perfect.
He and I stayed at the same school until eighth grade. Somewhere near the end of our time at school together, he confessed his love for me. He told me of how he had dreamt of being with me ever since second grade. I laughed and walked away. But now I wonder “what if?” What if it truly was meant to be? What if I had been a normal child and looked past his snot eating habits?
Had I chosen to be with this boy, we would have been happy. We would have continued our relationship all throughout high school and would have been one of those disgusting couples that never fight in public. Privately, though, we would have our issues. Nonetheless, having been together for so long, we would look past our arguments and once again find the pure love that brought us together.
After high school, he would go on to college while I waited sorrowfully at home. He would cheat on me from time to time, as college is a hellish place for men with long-distance girlfriends, but I would understand. Somewhere in the middle of his junior year, I would become pregnant after a hot night during Thanksgiving break. He would do the right thing and marry me. I would beg him to finish his degree but he would refuse. Instead, he would drop out, work for his father at his roofing company, and we would live (sort of) happily ever after until the day I died.
What if I had lived with my father?
When I was ten years old, my parents finally gave in to their blustering anger and divorced. That “what if” was out of my control but what if I had chosen to live with my father in Brighton rather than with my mother in Saint Louis. Brighton was a tiny town, filled with peppy people and nosey neighbors that honestly claimed to mean well. Saint Louis was a colossal city filled with dirt and adventure. Living with my mom, I was left to do as I pleased. Every once in a while, she would ask me how my grades were but a noncommittal grunt was enough of an answer for her. Our apartment was small and uncared for, which left me able to cover my bare bedroom walls with my words and writings. I wore lots of black and convinced my mother to let me get a tattoo of a scorpion when I was sixteen. My hazel eyes became black expressionless slates and I spent more time brooding in my journals than actually studying. All the same, I was free to become who I am today because of Saint Louis and the life my mother allowed me to live so liberally.
The city was what inspired me to become a reclusive writer. I needed to be away from the bustle of busy people but close enough to remember what a real life was supposed to be like. I found plenty of work at so many various places but never enough to fill that deep need inside me, the need to reach out to every person in the world with my words. I attempted to write a novel but soon failed as I realized nothing in my life was inspiring enough to write about. So I continued writing for small-time newspapers and magazines, typically disgusted with myself at how low I would sink just to see my words in print.
Life outside of work was just as unfulfilling. Saint Louis was great for dating and going out but it was all getting so old, so hurriedly…just as I was, I suppose. Saint Louis and I were aging together, both heading down hill so fast, no one dared to try and stop us. But what if I had lived with my father in a clean town where everyone would watch over me, whether I asked them to or not?
Had I lived with my father, he would have pushed me to be the perfect student and I would have been happy. I would have done my homework everyday and studied for hours each night. I would have been popular all throughout school, making lifelong friends along the way. My life would have been one of rare greatness and after my time living with my father I would have gone to an amazing college. While there I would have fallen in love with a handsome teacher’s assistant I had met at our incredibly picturesque library. We would cause a minor scandal but because of our gleaming smiles and perfect reputations, people would accept and soon applaud our love. He would propose to me on graduation day and announce that he had been planning our engagement since we had first met; he had even gone so far as to ask my father’s blessing two nights earlier.
Right now I would probably be in an office somewhere, with two-point-five children at home. My red nails, tapping away at the keyboard, would match my toes, my purse, and my headband. Matching would be a key point in my life, just as the new paint-job on my car would match the exterior paint-job of my grand scale dream home. My golden retriever would welcome me home every evening, perfectly trained to not jump on my eight-hundred dollar pantsuit.
I would fix dinner every night with a smile on my face. My husband would come home, kiss me on my cheek, and listen attentively as I discussed my day. We would gather around the dining room table, ask for the Lord’s blessing, and then quietly but contently eat our dinner. Yes, if I had lived with my father I would be happy right now. I wouldn’t be sitting in my blank apartment, silently begging for the heaters to kick in but too exhausted to actually get up to call my landlord. Instead of this dreariness, I would have lived happily ever after with my family until the day I died.
What if I had kept It?
When I was fifteen I met a boy who was perfect in almost every way. He was caring, romantic, handsome, smart, and popular…perfect but for the fact that he had a girlfriend. That obviously did not stop us as we met every day behind a gas station that stunk of maggots and sweating Twinkies. He would complain to me how she never gave in to the natural urges of teenagers. I would roll my eyes even as my rose-glossed lips curved upwards. Then he would go on to whisper nonsense of how sweet I tasted and how giving I was. He would promise me over and over again that he’d leave her just as soon as he thought she could handle it. He wanted me, of course, and I believed him enough to eventually give myself to him completely. Just as soon as we started, we were done, but he was happy. I suppose I must have been happy, too, right? One too many times, one too few condoms, and there it was—that dreadful pink line.
When I told him I was pregnant, he laughed. Honestly, all he did was laugh. A few days later I found one-hundred dollars in a coffee stained envelope stuck inside of my locker. “Hope this helps,” it said. So I scheduled an appointment, told my mother I was staying at a friend’s house, and had it scraped out of me. I saw the boy occasionally but he never saw me.
As I sit here now, I wonder what if he had indeed lived up to the perfect image I saw him as—what if he had been loyal to me and left her as he promised? What if I had kept It? Instead of laughing, what if he had held me and promised to make it all better? Had he done that, I would be happy right now. We would have gathered our parents together to break the news. They would have been furious at first but excitement would grow in step with my stomach. Its father and I would marry and plan to live in a quiet apartment a few blocks from our high school. He would continue to go to school as I rested in preparation for the delivery. Raising It for the first few years would be difficult as money would have been tight and I would have had to get a night job as a waitress. My husband and I would fight occasionally because of silly things like the financial situation or because It cried too much and I lacked to ability to shut It up. The passion in our lives caused our fights but it also led us to always make up…until we fought again. Nevertheless, we would be loyal to each other (sort of) and we would have stayed together. I would have lived a warm, content life until the day I died.
What if I had stayed true?
When I turned twenty-years old, my friends threw me an enormous toga party filled with people, beer, and music. I was drunk before the clock struck ten but it was my birthday and no one seemed to care. I danced with every boy I could find and caused quite a stir but the gossip just made things seem even better. Hands groped and slide through coats of sweat, bodies grinded roughly together with other bodies, and the world seemed to spin just for me. I ended up in a dark room with a man I should have known but it was my birthday and I was immortal. Fifteen minutes later and back into the light of the party, I realized I did indeed know the man. Looking at one of my friends, I immediately saw the disgust in her eyes. Though an ex-boyfriend of hers, I had broken the cardinal law of women. I left the party quickly and never looked back.
Rumors in my circle spread of how into “sloppy seconds” I was. Friends whispered about me even when I was only a mere five feet away. Soon enough, I was an outsider; it wasn’t evident to anyone but me. Those people, the ones who used to be my best friends, still claimed to love me. They were adamant that it was all in my head but I knew better. I blamed myself for a few moments but then turned on them. They were the ones who couldn’t forgive, the ones who insisted on being two-faced. But what if I had stayed true? What if I had drank slowly and maintained my wits?
Had I stayed true, I would have been happy. I would still have friends, people to call on whenever they were needed. Those girls would have been by my side throughout my entire life and I by theirs. When I doubted my ability to stay in college, they would have been firm in keeping me around rather than encouraging me to do whatever I thought best. When I would have met boys that were no good for me, my friends would have been there to protect my heart even if I begged them to leave me be. My friends and I would have rented a house together and all continued our education at the same graduate school. I would have gone on to achieve my masters in journalism and found a job at a high-profile editing company. I would have had money and power until the day I died.
What if I had left him?
When I was eighteen, just a few months after I started college, I fell in love with a boy who was exactly one year and a day older than me. I had always been a shy person but when we met at the coffee shop on that grey day, I suddenly felt like I could chatter for hours—which is exactly what I did. We spent the next three days constantly together, either watching movies or studying. Those days are hard to recall as my only clear memory is that of my brazen need for him to just kiss me. I wasn’t sure where we were headed, though, as he had just ended a three-year relationship and I had never even had a real boyfriend. As often happens, though, lust beat logic.Scarcely letting even the briefest of moments passafter our first time together, he stood up and fished around for our clothes, avoiding eye contact. Still staring at the speckled tiling of the floor, he tossed me a shirt, pulled up his purple and green boxers,and asked me what I wanted out of this situation. I smiled half-heartedly and shrugged; somehow through the hemming and hawing, we agreed to be a couple.
Things were as great as they could be…for a while. We were together every night and I convinced myself I was happy. I even changed my major from Education to English so we could have more classes together. The time passed quickly and as it did, our love grew into an unrecognizable lump. We still felt for each other but he seemed to care more about playing football games and I more about going out with friends for drinks. Nevertheless for some reason we stayed together and pretended to be the perfectly happy couple that our peers saw us as.
Anniversaries passed by and after almost four years of dating, we found ourselves stuck. We had just graduated college and it was time to be adults. He again asked me what I wanted out of the situation and again all I could do was shrug—this time without the smile. Eventually he bought me a ring and we agreed to be engaged.
Our engagement lasted about two years, neither of us wanting to set a date. Finally it was broken off and I was left shattered. But what if I had left him years ago? What if I had lived through my college career as a care-free single girl?
Had I left him soon after our love morphed into nothing but a habit, I would have been the happy-go-lucky girl I longed to be in college. I would have met countless boys at parties with whom nothing would have stuck as I would have been too busy having fun. I would see my ex-boyfriend from time to time but he would refuse to see me. Every once in a while, out of the blue, this sudden sharp feeling would slice through me. I would grasp at my chest and hunch over as the odd feeling swept from my stomach to my heart. Too busy loving what I had so longed desired—a single life without attachments to hold me back—it would be years before I realized this feeling was heartbreak.
I would go out with my friends every weekend and some weekdays. Being hungover would often cause me to miss class but I wouldn’t care. I would look back on my partying days as the best days of my life. I would graduate college with a two-point-six grade point average, an English degree, and a six-pack of beer. Everything would be great while I started my life in the real world until I finally realized just how lonely my life was. I would call up my ex every once in a while but he would never call back and eventually the number would change. I would call on old college friends but they would have real lives now and no time to console a quickly aging alcoholic.
I would become a freelance writer and make enough money to keep me happy, though I would have no one but myself and my grey Persian to spend it on. Eventually my depressive thoughts would take over and I would hardly remember to feed myself, let alone the cat. She too would run away one day when I forgot to shut the balcony door. Left completely alone, I would take on fewer writing jobs so that I could have more time to work on being the happy-go-lucky single girl. Then one day I would realize where I was—in a cold, blank apartment huddled under a scratchy brown blanket with not one person to call on in my hour of need—and I would wonder what if…until...


© Copyright 2018 Temerity. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Young Adult Short Stories