Fiction · Life-Defining Moments · Writing

Fiction Series: Roads Not Taken (Part 4)

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



American Thanksgiving weekend. I visit my boyfriend in New York. Nothing of note happens.

I apply to a handful of universities in NYC for graduate school, and end up getting into one. I attend, while working part-time and living with my now-fiance. We get married, and while he attends law school, I work and pursue my PhD part time. I eventually become an American citizen.

Once he graduates, he finds a job in a law firm somewhere. His career flourishes. By the time we’re thirty, we have two children, and though I teach part-time, I am predominantly a home-maker. His career is put ahead of mine.

We purchase a home in the city, as we entertain frequently. I use my skills in the kitchen to wow his colleagues and superiors. I start a food blog. As he becomes more successful, he is home less and less. Much of his time is spent travelling, and once the children begin private school, my days are full of driving them around to events and extracurriculars. I am on the PTA. When I have free time, I write. Sometimes I write for myself. I have lots of followers on Pintrest.

Eventually I publish a Martha Stewart-esque book on entertaining. I become popular in some circles, and am known amongst my husband’s friends as a generous hostess, though sometimes my husband is hard to please. Our children go to Brown or Yale or Harvard.

My husband begins to look towards politics, and our lives are now under a microscope. We are defined as a mixed-race couple, so the expectations for us (and for us to fail) are very high. Every aspect of our relationship, our home, our pasts, my citizenship, must be perfect. I renounce my Canadian citizenship. The stress eats at us. We fight more than usual.

Our facade is perfect, but our relationship crumbles. We are both too dedicated now, though, to back out. His run is successful, and now my days are filled with charity auctions and other public events. We barely see each other. We live our lives separately. Once in a while, there is a spark of recognition. A song, a film, a meal. Something reminds us of what we had, once.

Our children are well-behaved, but restless. We don’t see them often, though I send them care packages frequently. They’re off travelling the world, as their father did, as I wished I’d done. They come home for holidays, and eventually they bring home significant others. At some point, one of the two has children, upon whom I dote ceaselessly.

He never really retires, and I never really retire. He’s married to his work, and I, an extension of his work, am as well. We host charities for the opera, for the MET, for downtrodden youth. I have pet projects. Eventually, I write his memoirs. They sell a respectable amount.

He passes in a fanfare of celebration for his great works in politics. His passing does not crumble me the way I would have expected. I go on, working with charities, and spending time with our family. I enjoy the quiet of the house. Eventually, I pass quietly, though celebrated as a leader in charitable works, and as the spouse of a high-placed political figure. Our money is split between our children, our grandchildren, and the charities we supported. The laws he helped pass live on in history.

My Pintrest is eventually archived.

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