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Six in the morning on a Tuesday evening he couldn’t take it anymore. He had been waiting his whole life and he had to make some sort of a move. Vigorously tossing off the sheets covering his body on a very early fall morning he tried to dampen his frustration enough to slide out of the house unnoticed. It is peculiar because he didn’t have a need to sneak out. He lived alone in the Sierra mountain range of California accompanied only by his friendly feline Winston. Yet, he still felt this pressing need to sneak out of his own secluded cabin in the woods as though he was trying to escape from an overwatching sentry tower. The man fumbled in the dark as quietly as he could to not wake his little kitten. Prepped in no way shape or form for an adventure of any sorts he gently turned the door knob to his single room cabin. With the quiet of the early morning any creak of the door sounded like a breaking bone, any squeak of the floorboard sounded like a shriek of a banshee. Yet, to his utter bewilderment as he finally slid out of the door and gave one last glance into his humble cabin Winston still slept curled up at the foot of his bed deep in dreamland. Winston, so full of content, happiness, and life. How did she do it? For a moment that seemed like an eternity he was perplexed in awe by his humble companion and was baffled as to how she had figured it all out. The man gave a final chuckle as he finally shut the door as he wondered what Winston may be dreaming about as he silently closed the door. As he began his journey to nowhere in his knit night cap, maroon hoodie, red plaid pajama bottoms, woolen socks and crocs, he realized he had no clue what he should do to get his resolve. He knew sitting around waiting was not an option but what to do on that crisp early morning in the middle of fall. He couldn’t think straight, the fluster of his epiphanic crisis had muddied his mind like a stagnant stream. The man needed to calm down, to clear his head, so he just began walking in no particular direction deep into the mountains. Like a plane on auto-pilot he trudged. One step after another while his mind cleared and he began to coagulate sensical thoughts again. His mind wondered just like his steps and he began to ponder where did he go wrong to be stuck waiting for so long? The longer he walked the deeper he plunged down this rabbit hole of thought and wonder of how the only thing he had done his whole life was wait. He began retracing his steps, searching for the missing piece of the puzzle. There must be something, he thought, there must be something he must have missed to wind up in a purgatory with no means to an end. He delved deep into the vaults of his memory, searching, hunting for any misstep that could have led him this far astray. In his mid 20s he should have had it by now so why was he kept waiting. He felt like he was being toyed with by some higher power like a meager pawn in an immense game of chess. How could anyone be so cruel as to punish him like this after working so hard and following all the rules. He did everything he was told even as far back as K-12 school. When it came to being a straight A student he was the epitome of a good student. In elementary school he always had the most golden stars and good merits. Every essay, math assignment, and lab report turned in on time if not early. Consistently paying attention to his teachers and excelling through the education system he was a stellar good boy. Highschool came and the pressure increased. The rigors of classes, pursuits of higher academics were on the line, and all of this was intertwined with making friends and school sports on top of that. Yet, the boy still continued to prosper along this so-called societal deemed path to excellence and success. Acing every test, being a starter for varsity sports, viewed as a peer by both his classmates and teachers he seemed to be doing everything right. The time to leave his small town came and went with longing goodbyes to past sweethearts and childhood friends. He ventured to a well renowned school with ideas of those successful type careers: engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. Trying out various courses he finally settled on a degree in the sciences. Throughout his curriculum he took all the necessary steps to be successful: joining several clubs, getting internships, applying for research positions, and networking amongst his fellow undergraduates. The plan to success that was bestowed upon him since as early as he could remember was unfolding just as society deemed it should. College ended just as soon as it began and then it was time for him to enter the real world. Everything everyone told him to do he followed to a tee yet now that the final step was in front of his eyes, joining the real world, he felt more lost than a puppy on a rainy day in the city. That miracle path to happiness, success, and fulfillment was displayed before him all his life yet here he was twenty five years later and he had the success yet where was the rest? Where did he go wrong? Why was he being denied the rest when he had followed all the rules society displayed before him? These were the thoughts that bounced through his mind on his stroll on the dawn of that fall morning. Why the wait for these last components to his life? As the sun finally crested over the vast wooded mountain sides he was still stumped. He had walked for hours. Defeated mentally, physically, and ashamed to have failed this society that seemed to have given him the world he returned to his home empty handed of an answer. Stumbling inside in an exact opposite manner as he left poor Winston was awoken in a fright to her distressed owners demeanor. Busting inside he slumped to the floor like a drunk stumbling in the street. Winston leaped from the bed in concern for what may be ailing her master. She bound across the foyer of the cabin and curled up next to her defeated master in a last hope to ease his pain for reasons she could never understand. Perhaps though, Winston could better understand why her master had been kept waiting better than any living soul that had led him down this path his whole life. The beautiful thing about Winston is that he had achieved what his owner had been waiting for his whole life. Winston’s life is full, happy, and simple. He was not sent on some seemingly impossible quest by societal constructs that only give people delusions of what it takes to achieve fulfillment and happiness. This quest that this man was sent on with no means to an end isn’t an original story. It always ends the same with people waiting and waiting for some magical moment where they will finally feel complete, fulfilled, and happy. But, these things that so many of us spend our lives endlessly waiting for do not materialize with a pointless achievement of status in society. This idea is an illusion that is cast upon us the second we enter this world and the sad fact of the matter is we often live our whole lives under this spell. Fulfillment, happiness, and even success do not come from money, a job title, or the possessions a person owns. They come from a personal endeavour, how they feel about themselves and pursuing their passions. The basis of a person's life decisions should not be from what others deem this dream path to success should be. Everyone is unique and there is not one road to the end destination we all seek. The true road is one that has been untraveled by any before. The road untraveled is the road that will lead to a destination where they will not be kept waiting. As Winston began to purr nestled against his owner in the middle of the cabin he smiled. The man had a genuine smile for the first time in a long time. For this brief moment he was done waiting. For the first time in his whole life he felt what he had longed for for so long. A simple, yet fulfilling happiness and contentment. It wasn’t permanent and it never will be but that is what makes happiness so beautiful. It comes and goes just as all emotions do. As Winston’s purrs reverberated throughout his body he felt at peace and began to realize that what he had been waiting for his whole life was in front of him the whole time shrouded by an illusion so grand it has everyone convinced to be the truth.

July 10, 2020 04:46

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Alexi Delavigne
04:49 Jul 16, 2020

That last paragraph has some really great lines! " It wasn’t permanent and it never will be but that is what makes happiness so beautiful." and "shrouded by an illusion so grand it has everyone convinced to be the truth." I loved your wording of these! I think the meaning behind this story is so important. It seems obvious but so many of us can relate to how this character feels, so I really enjoyed reading it. I think you introduced Winston as a female, but then halfway through start referring to him as a male. I'm not sure if this was ju...

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