Saturday, July 24, 2010

What a Life is Made Of.

Mary Ann Loo
complete - 381 words

When he turned six, Mom and Dad bought him that fire truck he’d seen in the local toy store, the one he’d cried about when Mom first said NO two months earlier. It was a shiny bright red and had a ladder that could be extended to twice its length, a long hose, and two tiny fireman figurines with detachable helmets. For the first time, even though he didn’t know it yet, he felt his life was complete.

When he was ten, Mom and Dad bought him that new bicycle he’d always wanted. It was royal blue and silver, with a loud bell he’d ring so much that all the neighbors knew he was around the corner even before he’d appear. He zipped around the neighborhood on it, explored strange lands with his comrades on their elder siblings’ hand-me-downs, and pretended sometimes they were flying as they sped down the hill. He’d wanted those days to last forever.

When he was sixteen he fell in love, and likewise so did she. They spent an entire year holding hands, lying in the sun, kissing, laughing, planning their futures, watching the sunset… and he knew she was the One. But soon they went to college on opposite sides of their world, and she met someone new.

When he was twenty-two he landed his first job; when twenty-four his first promotion; twenty-seven he made partner… but still somehow he felt a lack. And then by chance they met again, and he loved her still, and she said YES, and they were married, and built a house with the white picket fence, and had a baby girl. He worked all day and all night, and time always seemed to run out.

When he was thirty-two, they left him with an empty house, and child-support obligations. When he was fifty his daughter invited him to her wedding, only to see her stepfather walk her down the aisle. When he was sixty-two he had a stroke, and was forced to retire into the care of a nursing home.

When he was seventy he laid alone on his deathbed, wondering where his youth had gone, wondering how he could have wasted so much time, wondering what it was that made a life complete.

And then he was gone.

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