Fiction · Life-Defining Moments · Writing

Fiction Series: Roads Not Taken (Part 1)

[This series was inspired by this post, and is a fictional inquiry into what might have been if I’d made different choices.]

 

2004

At fourteen years old, I have begun to develop an eating disorder. Because I am so busy, no one really notices when I start to shrink. They assume it’s due to my hectic schedule, and by the time I’m fifteen, I am the weight I started out wanting to be. This does not satisfy me, and I continue to skip meals. I am rarely home.

I begin to act more confident to hide my insecurity, and I become popular. I join the improv club and am not afraid to take part. By my last year of highschool, I am popular, attractive, successful. Everything I wanted to be. I am, however, tired. Teachers ask me what’s wrong, but I use my excessive perkiness to wave them off. After theatre classes, I can occasionally be found napping up against the mirror in the dressing room. My friends worry, but I placate them. Everything’s fine, I say.

After graduating, I am unsure what I want to do with my life. I live in residence and join as many clubs as I can. I fall behind in coursework, and when the year ends I decide to take a semester off. I get a job in a bar where my good looks will get me tips. I make good money, so I decide to take another semester off to save up. I write in my spare time, and I attend theatre events. I try my hand at acting and improv professionally, but it doesn’t take. I do, however, get into script writing, and by the time I return to school, I’ve had a short sketch performed at a small local theatre.

I graduate with my degree and, while now managing the bar, I start sending scripts to film and TV producers. I hang around the CBC sometimes and try to catch some of the writers. I am part of the Canadian Writer’s Association thanks to my play, so I attend events when I can. I am determined to be the next…. whoever. I have started eating more, to fuel long writing binges. I gain a little weight back, but I don’t notice.

One day while working at the bar, who should appear but my favorite screenwriter from my favourite show. I take a moment to not freak out, but still manage to fangirl all over him while I serve him. He’s amused and flattered – he is not often recognized – and we get to talking. After my shift, we continue to talk, and he invites me to the writing studio to meet some of his colleagues. I accept.

The meeting goes well, and after reading my work, they hire me to help write an episode of the show. I am overjoyed. I do good work, and they eventually hire me on full-time. Meanwhile, my favorite screenwriter and I spend a lot of time together. He is single, and I am single, so we start being single together. I am his wing-woman, he is my wingman. One night, we go home together. There is some heavy petting, but we don’t sleep together. He stops, and asks me on a date.

He’s older than me, so when we announce our engagement there is some outcry. He also used to be my boss. We don’t care. We have a lavish ceremony, and eventually we have children. They grow up on TV sets. One ends up in show business, and the other is a writer. I am hyper aware of what they eat, but I try not to let it affect them. It does, a little.

My husband retires well before I do. He takes up gardening, and becomes something of a house husband. He enjoys the novelty, for a while, but gets bored after a few years, when the children are gone and living their own lives in California or London. He visits them, and I join him when I can. When he passes away, I am left heartbroken. A widow at 55.

Eventually, I become close to a friend in a club I am part of. She has never been married, and her exuberance for life brings me out of my grief. After an appropriate amount of time, we move in together. We have a small celebration with our friends and children. We sign the paperwork to make it official at the courthouse, to make sure if either of us is sick, we are counted as family.

I eventually get ill, and she joins me at the hospital. She coordinates my visitors, and when I am sent home, she looks after me. When I pass, she makes sure my funeral is just how I wanted it to be, and she comforts my children and grandchildren. They are, after all, hers, as well.

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