Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Then (250=1)


And one morning you wake with a cough, it’s four a.m., and you think to yourself what if I had gone on a date with that girl from Rabat?

When you last saw her, it was 19 years ago, almost twenty.

It was snowing.

The snow was light. Fluffy. It weighed nothing. It felt like it would evaporate off your hair, off your face, but it didn’t. It melted and left a little dot of cold wet water.

Her face in the streetlight: tan skin, the color of caramel. Her hair: black, blending into the night, making her seem as if she was fading into the evening.

In Rabat, you would have lived without television. Refrigeration: no. You would have drunk sweet tea at a café in the afternoon. You would have learned not to care where the meat came from. You would be married to a college professor who would seem exotic, still, even if she adopted western dress. You would have been a writer, maybe, of nonfiction articles in The Economist, a half-finished novel about 18th century America in pages on your desk. Your computer would always be five, seven years out of date.

I have to leave next week,” she said, and you should have kissed her.

You had a girlfriend and you still thought she counted for something in your life.

The snow seemed hardly to hit the ground. Everything you saw seemed hardly to match what you knew, and what you knew was wrong. 


In 250=1, I write stories that are exactly 250 words long, including the title. Here's a list of all of them, ever. 


Andrew Leon said...

That's when I do wish I could look in on some other time line and see "what if."

Pat Dilloway said...

Great story. Makes me think of that Dan Fogelberg song "Same Auld Lang Syne" where a pair of old lovers meet and catch up and you think how differently things could have gone.

Briane P said...

It's sort of extrapolating from several true things...except I'm positive things worked out better the way it ended.

Andrew: I sometimes think about writing alternate autobiographies, how my life would be if... but most of them seem to end up sad.

Andrew Leon said...

Well, I wouldn't write sad alternate biographies. But, if I wrote them, they might make me sad about how things are.

A Beer For The Shower said...

My latest WIP solo novel is a sad alternate autobiography. I love writing that kind of 'what if?' fiction. Yours sounds a lot more peaceful than mine, though (mine involves a lot of bar fights).

I love that thought of living somewhere exotic with someone exotic, but I also know that the romanticism of that would wear off pretty quickly and I'd get sick of it.

Briane P said...

Andrew: I think that my alternate autobiographies always end up sad because I'm so happy now.

Beer: You'd be surprised how quickly you learn it REALLY DOES matter what kind of meat it is.

Also: I tried putting more barfights in, but I kept losing. Alternate Timeline Me is an even worse fighter than I am.

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