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Romance Inspirational Teens & Young Adult

She stared after his retreating figure, heart racing, mind numb. How did her life come to this? She was so careful, so mindful of the things that could have dragged her down, the pitfalls that could have stopped her from building the life she wanted. Memories flashed back. Her parents were so proud of her degree, she was proud of her degree. She worked so hard, she was going to go far. The thousands of hours spent building her life up, adjusting the knobs and dials, perfecting her life just so. Fitting her life into the perfect cube stacked alongside others in life. Happy with the conformity. Then the doubt started to creep in. Just here and there. Tiny flashes of other lives that she might have had. Moments of weakness for sure. When she was doing the dishes staring out the window, wondering if she chose the right career. Running on the treadmill, watching the TV's show exotic untouched places. During meetings she found herself zoning out, daydreaming of what her parents and others would deem an unfruitful path in life. Then she would shake her head, shake the thoughts right out of her brain and continue on with her perfect life.

Then she met him.

He was everything she couldn't be. He represented what she didn't want in life. He was vibrant blinding colors that made you feel, and she, well she was black and white, safe, like life is supposed to be. But that smile, those blue eyes. They sucked her right in without her knowing. The doubts she had before, started to come to life. He fascinated her. It started out innocently enough. Witty line-toeing banter here and there when he came into her work, the easy smiles she gave him. The care free rush that was rearing its head inside of her. Yes it was easy with him. Then he introduced her to worlds unknown. Places where degrees didn't matter, where one could live unrestrained from life and its demands. Worlds where cubbies did not exist. Just slowly at first, she was hesitant of what was different. Of what was out there. He slowly introduced her to worlds full of color, worlds filled with what-ifs. But he scared her one day when he showed her the depths of his heart. The rug covered wood floors in a mountainous terrain far from civilization. A lake so still that she could see all of her choices ever made laid out in sparkling water, and for a deep moment, she regretted her life in its entirety, regretted what could have been. She panicked at that thought, scared of the soul baring lake, and ran away. She holed herself up in her mind. Focused on what was important. Work, work, work. That was the only important thing in life. Days passed, then months, slow, painful rebuilding months. Benefits were key, retirement was crucial. Having life under control, shutting out the surprises and the what-ifs. Knowing that everything and everyone had a place. A cubby in life that humans tucked themselves into, ignoring what didn't fit in that perfect little cube. Life wasn't meant to be unknown. It wasn't meant to be unruly and full of whim. People can't live like that. Free, unfettered, wild. Can they?

Then one day, a day full of routine and safety, he came in, upsetting the perfect balance she had created, and time stopped.

His smile didn't reach his eyes, and it felt so, wrong. The world without his sunlit smiles was dark, and she got the chills. He gave her an option, not an ultimatum, never that. He wasn't like her world, black and white. He was color, fresh air, breezes in your hair. But she couldn't answer, couldn't listen to what her brain wanted. Her heart was screaming to be let out. To be heard. The iron cage and soundproof walls she had built around it years ago had started to weaken. With every smile, every glance, every touch, they crumbled with him. Pieces breaking, pieces falling to the floor, pieces she ignored. But now, right now, her frightened brain was doing everything in its power to shore up those defenses. Flimsy planks of wood being nailed in haste with brittle metal to cover the cracks, the holes. While she was debating with herself, trying to argue logically she watched his face fall. Those blue eyes lose their light. Her heart screamed so loud, watching him lose his light. So slowly, time still stopped, she watched him turn his back on her and walk away. She heard her parents' voices clamoring over her sobbing heart, telling her what life should be. Mentors, tutors, brokers, agents, all telling her what to make of her life. Tears fell down her cheeks. She covered her ears, trying to block the years of being told what was the right way to live. A rug covered wood floor swam into view, slowly, in between the arguing figures deciding her life. In its colorful weave, it showed her the mountains that made him so happy, the lake water reflecting his blue eyes. It showed her the many, many times when he looked at her. It showed her what life could be, the unknown, the wild living. The images the rug showed were an endless well filled with love and hope.

Then she put her hands down and she knew what she wanted.

The walls burst around her heart, iron and wood shattering into a million pieces that could never be put back together, and that was okay. She realized that no life, no matter how built up, how safe, how worry free, was worth never seeing those blue eyes light up with happiness and love. No life was worth living safe in that tiny cubby, not knowing what was beyond its walls. Living wasn't working nonstop and knowing what was going to happen next. Life wasn't meant to be controlled and stuffed into a tiny cube. Life was meant to be lived, it was meant to be unknown and filled with color and being free. Calling his name, she ran towards him and threw herself into his arms, escaping everything she had built, everything that was so called safe, escaping the mundane clutches for a life filled with living the unknown, with color, with fresh air, and breezes in your hair.

Yes this was right, this was life. This, this was living.

September 12, 2022 19:22

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2 comments

Delbert Griffith
17:17 Sep 22, 2022

This bit was stellar: A lake so still that she could see all of her choices ever made laid out in sparkling water,... The only thing that bothered me was the very long paragraphs immediately followed by a one-line paragraph. The story, excellent though it is, would hit harder if it were broken up into some smaller paragraphs.

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Jeannette Miller
20:36 Sep 17, 2022

Like reading poetry. Lots of beauty and angst and vivid descriptions so easily seen while reading. Well done! Welcome to Reedsy :)

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