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Thread: Choice

  1. #1
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    Choice

    This isnít the life I had planned for myself. I am a hopeless romantic; growing up my dreams would have given fairytales a run for their money. I always imagined how my perfect life would fall together. How a handsome man, that could have had any girl of his choosing would somehow fall for me, and we would live happily ever after. That I would be the envy of all the girls for miles around, that men would line up begging me to choose them instead; but like most dreamers I did the practical thing and settled.
    He was not an unkind man, but a revival of a previous fling. See while I may not be the prettiest girl around I do have the uncanny ability to make everyone fall in love with me in some way, though most would never admit it. Heíd waited years for his chance to rekindle our romance and finally broke through. Now I wonít say that I didnít love him because I did, no, I do love him, but it wasnít all there. Like when you drink tea that isnít quite sweet enough; itís still tea but isnít what you were expecting. There was fire, and passion, but like a small campfire or a passion fruit. It was sweet, but not enough. When he kissed me it felt like carbonated soda, not fireworks, and his touch would warm my skin, but never my heart. Still, he was a comfort when I felt like there would be nothing, or no one else to love me the way he did.
    He asked me to marry him in a flurry of words. Weíd only been together a short time, but I felt he could sense my weaning interest. The side effect of loving someone so completely is that youíre never quite ready to lose them. A grand gesture is often the best way to keep their interest until you can guarantee them for life. His proposal would buy a few more months, maybe a year. Iím sure the plan would was then that the wedding would keep me reigned in. Then maybe a few kids for a few years, by then Iím sure he hoped that I would have fallen completely in love with him too. You see, the reason most marriages end is because the one who is really in love runs out of ways to keep the other one coming back, but has failed to make their feeling reciprocated.
    But having already mentioned that I was to the point in life that I was willing to settle the tactic worked. I agreed to marry him, which is why I found myself engaged to a loving and faithful man when I met my true love. He was older, and strong, and somehow was everything I was looking for without being anything that I wanted at all. Not much ambition in his life, seeing as how he drove a truck for a living, but he had a kind face, and gentle eyes, and made me laugh when I wasnít expecting it. I fell in love with him in a blur, realizing only afterward that I didnít truly know him. When he touched my hand I would tingle for hours, and when he smiled at me I felt weak in the knees.
    Our love was played through stolen glances, and kind words. I never really knew if he felt the way I felt, if he saw the things I saw, if he knew the things I knew. I found myself looking for excuses to see him, reasons for him to stay longer, asking questions I knew were out of bounds for strangers. He would smile, and Iíd melt, appease my curiosity, and go about his work unscathed by my inability to play it cool. In just a few short weeks I knew that I had no other option but to leave my current circumstance and follow where ever he lead.
    That day came sooner than I had expected. His company had accepted a new contract, and he would be leaving in a few weeks. I couldnít stand the thought of never seeing him again, this man that I loved whole-heartedly even though I had only just learned his first name. ďTake me with youĒ I whispered, thinking there was no way he could have heard, and no way could he feel the same. I was met with the most wonderfully satisfying, and strangely expected response; he kissed me. All this time of aching to feel his lips against mine, and he had longed for it too. In that moment, everything became real, and the life I was meant to live was standing right in front of me. The fire I had always craved, the passion I was seeking, exploded out of me like a firework that his touch had lit. I was overtaken by every sensation, a sensory overload that my mind couldnít handle. Everything felt so right, every part of me felt so free, and in those few seconds I knew, I had only one option.
    There was only one way I could escape this life that I only half lived and be free to become the person I was meant to be. I had to disappear. I couldnít hurt the man I tolerated and I couldnít leave the man I loved, so we devised a plan. I would simply vanish, with his help, and change everything about myself. I envied a time when disappearing was simple and required little effort. I withdrew as much money as I could without looking suspicious, enough to sustain me for a while, and hid it in the trunk of my car. I removed anything that looked incriminating toward the man I was following, we only discussed our plan in person, and would pretend we didnít know each other if people were around. I hid my secret well, never indicating that something might be wrong, that my feelings of indifference toward my fiancť had finally surfaced, and that I would soon be leaving him forever. I guess he had finally run out of things to keep my interest.
    On the eve of my true loveís departure our plan was set to take place. I would arrange it to where I would be at work alone, he would come to pick me up. I would leave behind everything apart from the small amount of money I had hid away, and we would make it look like I had never been there at all. It was the perfect plan, and if everything went perfectly, we would be together with no repercussions. I waited for my getaway car to show up, tense with the guilty that was slowly building inside me. I wasnít only leaving behind a begrudged lover, I was leaving behind my family, my friends, everything I had ever worked for, all in pursuit of a man that I barely knew. Was it worth it? To never see the ones I loved again. Would I be able to move on, and be happy without them?
    A car pulled into the lot, similar though I couldnít place it, perhaps a customer that visited often. A man stepped out and walked to the door. It was dark, and I couldnít see his face. He opened the door and I opened my mouth to greet him. Thatís when I heard the sound. A single gunshot rang in my ears, as the lights grew brighter and everything else faded. And that was it. I no longer had to choose between what was easy and what felt right. I no longer had to choose anything. I no longer had a choice.

  2. #2
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    I really like how simply but well written this is. The beginning was interesting enough to keep me reading and I could definitely relate to the feeling of "settling". I love how, instead of doing the obvious and just breaking up with the "easy", she devises this elaborate plan with the "feels right" guy to just vanish, because really who can just vanish nowadays. But it came across to me as a cowardly decision, as a decision that wasn't really one at all but more of a cop-out, so the gunshot in the end feels like a kind of karma where the choices she had taken for granted were ripped away altogether. I'm also crazy for surprise and mysterious endings and this is both in one sweetly-tragic package. Great job!

  3. #3
    Registered User 108 fountains's Avatar
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    I thought this was a good effort, but needs some work. Some dialogue, I think, would help a lot. Without it, it's hard to have any empathy with any of the characters or to understand their motivations.

    My main problem is with the plot itself. I don't understand why the main character thought it necessary to disappear. If she was deserting a husband, I could understand, but she is only leaving a fiancť. Why not just tell him the truth and break off the engagement? And even if she is too cowardly to do that, why does she feel she has to desert her family and friends? There may be reasons for this, but I was not able to discover them from what is given in the story.

    Also, I just didn't understand the ending. I would have thought it was her fiancť who pulled up in the lot (perhaps after discovering her plan), but then it seems she didn't recognize the car, so it appears that the man is neither her fiancť nor her boyfriend, but more likely “a customer that visited often.” So what is his motivation for what he does? Is it just a random robbery?

    Finally, is the narrator dead at the end? If so, then how did she write the story? If not, and if she is writing from her hospital bed, then it would seem that she would still have to make a choice eventually.

    I don’t mean to be discouraging. The writing itself is not bad. It gives a good portrait of the narrator’s feelings. But a re-write with more dialogue and more action would allow the reader to become more involved with the characters. Let the dialogue and the action show what’s going on with this love triangle, why the narrator is afraid to break off her engagement, and why the narrator feels desperate enough to abandon her family and friends. Don't be afraid to show, rather than tell. Let the story expand and fill up the space it needs. And please do think through the last paragraph some more and rewrite it so it says what it is you are trying to say.
    A just conception of life is too large a thing to grasp during the short interval of passing through it.
    Thomas Hardy

  4. #4
    Registered User RMDuChene's Avatar
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    I agree that a second and possibly a third draft along with some dialog would do wonders. You have the makings of a pretty good story here, it just feels incomplete. You're on the right track though.

  5. #5
    Registered User DATo's Avatar
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    Very nice work Eagle14!

    I thought an interesting touch might be to end the story in the narrator's present time frame beginning with the second to last paragraph.

    I await him now. A car is pulling into the parking lot. It isn't his. Who is this person and why is he stopping here and approaching me? Probably lost and needs to ask directions. Wait ... how did I .... What happened? I remember a flash and a loud noise but why am I laying on the asphalt of the parking lot. Blood? I've been shot! Oh God, I can now feel the pain. I hear car tires screeching away. I'm dying. I no longer HAVE to worry about choosing between what was easy and what feels right. I no longer HAVE to choose anything. I no longer HAVE a choice.

    Using the word "have" places the reader in the scene of a dying girl. Using the word "had" suggests that the girl is speaking from the future or from the hereafter. Just a thought.

    You are a very good writer and I enjoyed reading this very much!

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