Carol was living out her last year at school, relishing the friendships she had made throughout the years. Senior year is full of sentiments, but it's also a gateway into the phase of adulthood of is what yet to come. She happened to have a class with Tommy who happened to be a crush of hers. It soon became obvious to him about her crush. She admired his confidence, sense of humor, and build. One day while in class, they started communicating about a general topic. Tommy sensed that Carol wasn't like other females he had encountered. Carol was a bookworm to an extent, and was full of thought provoking ideas and questions. He pondered why he would be at the same school as her. She replied that it was one of the best options in town. He tried to convince her that their school was not all cracked up to be. Carol thought for a moment, but redirected the conversation. After all, she was not totally clueless about the ends and outs of the school. She had attended some games and other social events. Plus, she had been born and raised in this town.
The two exchanged where they were from originally in small talk. Carol mentioned that she was dead set on higher education, whereas Tommy was still in limbo with his plans after graduation. Both eventually wanted to have families. He grew excited at the fact that a smart, attractive female who admired him shared an interest. Carol once again stated that college came first. He agreed.
Graduation came and went. Carol went off to college to begin a new chapter. She made new friendships as well as kept in touch with past friends. As she read people, Carol sensed that something was brewing. Was she being tracked subliminally though others? Both of her schools happened to be in the same state, three hours from each other. She also knew that people know people, and communication runs rampant.
Her studies kept her grounded, whereas a few people she had encountered grew impatient with her because of a misunderstanding. Her roommates were early bloomers and preferred to have relationships while in college. Carol, on the other hand, preferred to use her head first. She knew by talking with others that she had the rest of her life ahead of her after her education.
College flew by and soon Carol was facing the real world. She moved back to her hometown, and commenced to job search. Within the first year after graduation, she found a job in her major. Things were going well at her new job, and she was making connections.
One day at work, Carol looked up and saw a dozen roses come her way from one of the office staff. Curiosity grew and she retrieved the card from the bouquet. She opened it and it read “from your secret admirer”. Carol was flattered at first and everybody else at work was questioning her. She spent the rest of the day, pondering over who the secret admirer was.
Several days passed and Carol still didn't know who sent the flowers. She did some investigation of her own. She called the florist, but to no avail. She asked family and close friends, but to no avail. She bumped into familiar faces and made small talk. Yet, she still didn't have an answer.
One day, Carol treated herself at the movie theater. During the film, she needed to excuse herself so her quietly gets up, turns around, and notices Tommy with another girl a few rows back. Carol glances at both of them, and quietly walks out. Carol knew the name of the other girl, but redirects her focus on the rest of the day.
Another day at work, Carol answers the phone. A male voice asks for a certain product. Something about the way he said it made Carol question to herself. He emphasized the product by name, and his voice shook. Carol once again redirected her focus to the rest of her day.
With still not knowing who gave her the flowers, Carol's last resort was a class reunion. She learned of a passing of a classmate while at the reunion from an old acquaintance. The acquaintance looked at Carol like she was to blame. Carol gets up from the table to mingle and thoughts arise again.
With time, Carol gets a promotion at work and a new relationship. Things are going well, respectively. She still bumps into familiar faces. But she also meets new faces. An informant from her hometown advised her in different routes to go ahead and settle with somebody because it will just get more difficult. Carol listens somewhat but also makes her own decisions in the process. Carol eventually relocates with the same company to start a new life chapter. She occasionally visits her hometown because of its natural beauty and some family that still reside there.
Due to the influx of email and the internet, Carol reaches out to several past acquaintances, including Tommy. She learns of their life events such as families, jobs, and general well-being. Carol, in return, talks briefly about herself and her life events. She discovers that he relocated as well.
Other past acquaintances have sought out Carol and the cycle continues.
“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you're going to mess up sometimes, it's a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you're going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends - they'll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your true best friends. Don't let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soulmate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe
Author's Note: Most of my short stories are derived from true events. Names and places have been modified for confidential purposes.