The Conscious Decision

Submitted for Contest #47 in response to: Suitcase in hand, you head to the station.... view prompt

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           Suitcase in hand, you head to the station. After almost one year of planning, hundreds of emails, phone calls, and some up-front expenses on your part, it looks like the day has finally come for your high school reunion to happen.

           You were wise to have it take place in a central location since many of the alumni have now spread themselves out across the globe, and it would be difficult for everyone to return home to the hometown. You truly did not believe that you could pull this off, did you? With all of the challenges that you have faced, you overcame every obstacle like a pro and should be proud of yourself. For example, when the positive responses appeared and the prepayments started rolling in to reserve a spot, you were forced to find a larger venue, but did that stop you? Hell, no! You became more optimistic and reserved a venue that held more than what had already replied “Yes”.

           I realize that you haven’t been able to reach the goals that you had set for yourself back in high school, but that doesn’t mean that you are not accomplished in other ways, right? Don’t dwell on the fact that you bragged about how you were going to be a successful architect or how you were going to have a beautiful wife and intelligent children. That was decades ago, and I bet you that nobody had achieved their goals and expectations. Just relax, okay? You’ve got this!

           You look in the mirror and see a man in his fifties, graying hair and a few extra pounds around the midsection, but what you should be focused on, is the fact that you still have most of your hair and that you have only gone up two pant sizes since high school. Not many can say that I bet!

           I know that you are embarrassed at the fact that you didn’t finish college and are now stuck in a job that you believe is demeaning, but this job that brings you shame also brings you a steady paycheck every two weeks and offers excellent benefits and perks.

           Yes, I know that you have been divorced twice and are now forced to live paycheck to paycheck because of alimony, but at least you had the opportunity to feel love, if only for a short time. With the divorce rate being as high as it is in this country, I’d be surprised if any of the alumni were still married.

           Okay, so here you are on the train. Did you remember to bring the list of attendees and your agenda for the reunion? Okay, yes, there it is; good. Why don’t you read over your speech? I know how much you wanted to be valedictorian at graduation, but Stacey Richardson was asked instead, but this is your night. You are in charge and nobody can tell you what you can or cannot do or say.

           “Welcome class of 1987. I am so pleased to see so many familiar, and not-so-familiar faces here this evening. I know that many of you had traveled a great distance to be with us tonight, and I can assure you that it will be worth your while.

           We have dinner being served at 5 pm and the D.J. will get started at 7 pm. There will also be a snack table set up later in the evening for those who are still hungry. I have arranged a special door prize as well as 50/50 tickets, so be sure to purchase your tickets before dinner is finished. Please fill out a name tag which you will find at your table and wear it proudly. If any of you ladies are going by your married name, please include your maiden name as well so you don’t confuse the simple-minded men like myself. Thank you again. Feel free to mingle and have a great night!”

           Alright, that sounds great. What else? Ah, yes. Remember to call the manager of the hall to ensure that the caterers have arrived and that his staff is prepared.

Seventy-five minutes later:

           Everything is on schedule and now you just need to check in to your hotel. Okay, your turn. Excellent, the room is ready and it is on the eighth-floor facing east, so you will be able to see the sunrise in the morning. That is if you manage to wake up by then. Maybe you will see the sun come up as you are getting to bed instead, or better yet, see it from the hotel room of Jessica Mitchell or one of the other hotties. Do you think they are still single? Alright, you have just enough time for a quick shower and shave and then it’s time to get your groove on my man!

Arrival at the reunion venue:

           Wow! This is more impressive than you thought it was going to be, isn’t it? Check out the photo board! Do you think they will remember to bring pics from our high school days? This is awesome! Look at the staff all dressed in 80s-style tuxedos and gowns! This is classic! Okay, it’s time to meet the caterer and check on the meal. Miss Emily Barrington, the caterer is young enough to be the daughter of anyone that is attending. The food smells great, and she looks quite tasty herself, hee, hee.

           Oh, that guy looks like he could be the venue’s manager. It looks like he is busy, so maybe it would be best to wait. Thirty minutes until the reunion is supposed to start. Guests should be arriving shortly. This has been a very stressful time leading up to this day, but after tonight, you will be known as the man that made it all happen.

           Guests are arriving. Is that little Jackie Dawson? No way! She is over six feet tall now! Oh my, could that be Oscar Calhoon behind her? He went from being captain of the football team, surrounded by girls constantly, to being seriously overweight and bald…and by the looks of things, single. See, nothing to worry about. There’s Mindy Metcalfe and Julie Burke. It looks like they arrived alone too. This is going to be a great night. Okay, straighten yourself up dude, and go mingle.

           Oh no, it’s your kryptonite! Lisa Fernando, the most beautiful girl in school. It looks like she is still gorgeous too. Please don’t get nervous about the past; you are both adults now and have matured. Okay, well for the most part you have. Go introduce yourself. See if she remembers you at all. Wipe the sweaty palms on your pant legs and get in there.

           “Lisa? Lisa Fernando, is that you? Wow! You’ve hardly changed at all. Sorry, it’s me, Mike Hardy.”

           Oh, crap! Who’s this muscle-bound monster coming up behind her?

           “Hey, Mike, thanks for putting this on. I haven’t seen hardly anyone since high school. Once my modeling career started, I didn’t have time to fly back to the old neighborhood. This is my fitness trainer, Ralph. I didn’t want to come to this thing alone. I was a little self-conscious about how people would react. Do you know what I mean?”

           “You, self-conscious? I never would have guessed it. Anyways, I think you look great and I hope you will save me a dance later.”

           “You can count on it Mike, and thanks again.”

           See! I told you that you could do it. You were smooth my friend, and now you have a dance reserved with Lisa Fernando! You dawg, you. Okay, it looks like most of the guests have arrived. Perhaps you should get things started. Time for your speech.

           That went over well. I think you even got a few chuckles out of the crowd. They are already talking about when the next reunion will take place. Man, you actually pulled this off!

           It’s a slow dance. Go get her, tiger. Lisa will be like putty in your hands. She smells so good. Do you think she and the fitness trainer have been involved in any way? Let’s hope not, but then again, he looks like he does steroids, and you know what steroids do to a man’s sex life, right? Ha! Ha! Oops, concentrate on the dance. Lisa is looking at you suspiciously. Damn, that song is over already. Wow. That smile is just breathtaking. 

           “Thanks, Mike. Say, would you be interested in meeting for a coffee tomorrow before I fly back? I’d like to hear more about your life in a quieter environment. Here’s my number. My flight goes out at 8:10 pm, and I need to be at the airport by 7 pm, so we would need to meet up before then, okay? As a matter of fact, why don’t you meet me in my hotel room for breakfast? Let’s say around 9-ish? Perfect. See, you then!”

           Can you believe this? Lisa Fernando just asked you to join her in her hotel room for breakfast! Way to go, stud! She felt so soft to the touch, just like in those fantasies from so many years ago.

           Lisa’s hotel room smells like her. Amazing. This conversation has gone great so far. No strange looks when work was discussed and no judgment about the financial situation. This is totally unexpected. She says that after her contract has been fulfilled, she is moving back into the city, but at least she will be within driving distance. This could be the start of a beautiful relationship. Let’s not get too far ahead as of yet though.

Six months later:

           Now that Lisa moved back, and the reunion is ancient history, there is no excuse for not making regular trips into the city to see her. The conversations on the phone were fun and all, but it doesn’t come close to staring into her aqua-blue eyes and witness that glowing smile while your fingers intertwine. Who would have imagined that this would ever come to pass?

           You said that you would never marry again, but then again, you didn’t have Lisa. No, what you had before were two demanding, over-powering control-freaks who only cared about your paychecks. Lisa is different; she already has money and likes you for the man that you are. You need to stand proud at the end of that aisle, hold her hands in yours and slip that ring onto her finger.

           Your every dream has been fulfilled, Mike. You have exceeded all of the expectations that you or anyone else had expected. Enjoy your life. You don’t need me anymore. I may be your conscience, but you have someone else to help you make important decisions now. If you ever need me again, however, you know where to find me.

The End.

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2 comments

A O
17:41 Jun 28, 2020

I loved this. It made me smile the way Mike consoles himself.

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Greg Gillis
00:57 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you. You might say that a lot of thought went into this story. 😉

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