Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Examination of A Road Not Taken

I am taking a break from the usual book review this month to write about something a little different. It still is very much in keeping with the theme of this blog, the roads of not taken of history, but this time, the road of is of very a personal sort.


I’m sure I’m not alone when I wonder how my life would’ve turned out so differently if only I did this or that. If only. That the fact that there were two people talking today on CBC Radio’s Tapestry talking about the very same subject that I had planned to write about (Synchronicity?) signals that as much.

I know my life could be  much worse. I know my life as it stands, despite its ups and downs, it is a good one for which I am thankful. But sometimes I catch myself wondering if only. And sometimes, if I think hard enough, I can catch a glimpse…

I’m looking over the stainless steel double kitchen sink out the window of my suburban home into the backyard where night has fallen.  I’m in my early 50s, have a gut, and my hair is a grey scrub slowly receding across my forehead.  Doesn’t matter, I smile, putting the last of the day’s dishes to soak. The window is foggy with the mist of a big Sunday supper.  Except for the soft humming of the fridge and the muted sounds of the TV from the living room, the house, which I have shared with my wife for most of 25 years, is quiet. 

It was my night to clean up after Carol had cooked. It was an arrangement Carol had and I had going since way back. We had the both our kids over for supper tonight: one is going to college and the other is following in his old man’s footsteps and working at the auto plant with him.

I met Carol in high school. Or rather she met me. Kept smiling at me under that mass of blonde hair with those green eyes until I found the guts to ask her out.

 It hasn’t been easy; who said it would be? It was tough for Carol and I in the early years. We were so damn young, then.  We weren’t ready when our son was born prematurely. We were all lucky and had some good doctors: he made it, of course. As time wore on, we got more settled. Our family grew when a couple of years later when our daughter was born. We all got through the strikes and the layoffs at the plant okay; we had to refinance the house once to carry us through.

Ancient history now. In a few years, after putting in my 30 years at the plant, I can retire.  I worry about my son and what the future will bring for him. The car industry isn’t as secure as it used to be. 

In a few minutes, after I’m done, I’ll go into the living room and turn off the TV that no one is watching. I walk up the creaking stairs to our bedroom to where Carol waits for me.  And maybe we’ll fuck. I grin again.

And tomorrow, as I’ve always done since high school, before go to work, I’ll steal an hour for myself. I’ll sit in front of that old Windows ’97 computer that takes forever to boot up in my daughter’s old room and work on the same novel that I’ve been working on since high school. 

And as I do, I’ll catch myself wondering. If only.

Back to the book reviews next month.  

In the meantime, have a look at my own books, Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.   Thanks.

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