Fiction Friday

Gamophobia: Part Two

“The reason we all go to bars – to remember and to forget.”
– Benjamin Alire Saenz

If you Missed Part One, you can read it

Here.

And now, Part Two.

***

The younger man reluctantly took a seat on his bar stool once more, but he fidgeted uneasily, wondering what the older man was about to say.

“Why do you care so much?” he then asked.

“Tell me,” the older man asked him then,”what do you love about her?”

“Well, she’s very funny, so sweet, warm and loving, wicked smart, strong, cute as hell, but that’s not the problem.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean I could list things I love about her until the cows come home.”

“But that’s not enough.” The older man seemed to understand, suddenly, somehow.

“No. I know all this about her and yet I am still unsure.”

Just then a group of young women entered the bar and walked to a table in the corner, talking and laughing with one another, obviously letting loose after a long week. Both men, young and old, turned instinctively as the girls passed by the bar.

“What else are you looking for?” the older man said, returning his gaze to the lost young man sitting beside him.

“How did you do it?” the younger man asked finally, as if he had been wanting to ask this since they had started talking, but just now felt like he could.

“”I assume you mean how did I stay married for so long,” the older man said, reading the conversation well indeed, not to mention the young man.

“Yeah.”

“I know I said I had some things I wanted to say to you before you made any decisions, but I honestly can’t say the right thing that you might need to hear to convince you fully. I can see you are scared and I understand. I was scared too, but if you think there is something better or something more out there for you,” he said, gesturing to the group in the corner, “there is nothing I can say.”

The younger man couldn’t believe what he was hearing. This man clearly had years of knowledge on him, thus he should be able to reassure him that love was enough. Now here he was backtracking.

“Life is full of moments son. Moments and choices we must make. If you are so afraid of making these choices, you will never ever be happy.”

“So I’m just supposed to ignore my fears then?” Again the young man took out the ring and looked at it, waiting for the answer to jump out at him from the tiny box in his hand, or from the man sitting there beside him. Neither were forthcoming.

“Look at me. Time goes by and one day you are able to look back on things, to see what it all meant. I would give anything now to have my wife back with me, but what does that have to do with you, right?””

“And what does it all mean?”

“I honestly have no idea.”

“You know, you seemed a lot wiser when I sat down here.”

The old man smiled at this honest admission, or was it an admonition? “You really need to consider what you have and what you’re willing to lose. I almost let my fears ruin everything and I almost lost it all. If you can really say you will be happy without her, then you need to let her know that, but life flies by in a flash. Soon enough you find yourself an old man sitting alone, on a bar stool, on a Friday night. Is this fear you’re experiencing now, is it about her or is it all about you?”

“What happened to you? How did you almost ruin things?”

“The details aren’t the point here, don’t you see?”

So if I’m lucky I might end up like you some day?” The younger man said this, meaning to be funny, but the older man only looked at him with something like pity in his eyes.

“I could have missed out on years of memories, if I had run scared like I might have done and like you’re thinking of doing.”

“It just feels like either way, no matter what I do I will be giving things up, making a mistake.”

The group of girls in the corner seemed to be talking and laughing louder than ever now. For a moment their chatter drown out the two men, making further conversation temporarily impossible to continue.

When finally their talk seemed to have died down once more, a few of them having left for the washrooms, leaving the others to talk quietly, heads drawn close in a murmur, the younger man went to stand once more. This time the older man did not try to stop him.

“Wait,” the older man asked with concern. “What are you going to do?”

“I really don’t know.” This wasn’t much of an answer and they both knew it. The old man thought about saying more, but he felt that it was out of his hands. He must be satisfied with the idea that people come into our lives for a reason and he had come into this young man’s life, if only for a brief moment in time.

He never saw that young man again and so was never able to see what became of him. Yet, something about that night stuck with him, a strange feeling of recognition and a strange connection to that lost young soul. Perhaps he had more of an impact than he realized.

***

Things happen to us for a reason and we are the masters of our own destiny. These things are both true.

What could the older man have said differently to persuade the younger man that marriage was the right choice?

Life isn’t all roses and chocolates every single day. Life goes by too soon. Mistakes can’t always be reversed.

Did the young man live happily ever after? Was the older man’s conversation with the younger in that bar that night enough to make a difference?

Life is about decisions and choices. Nobody else can make them for us. Too many people let their fears dictate their decisions.

If only we could speak with an older version of ourselves, either to ask questions or to see how it all turns out.

Would you want that chance if you could?

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9 thoughts on “Gamophobia: Part Two

  1. Enjoyed the story very much. Funny thing about choices…they can all be scary if you let them. Even choosing between an egg salad sandwich and a pizza for lunch:) For me, it’s thinking that the choices I’ve made…god or bad, have all served a purpose in one way or another. Would I have chosen more wisely? Perhaps…but maybe I wasn’t meant to. There is a lesson in almost everything, I think.

  2. As I’m reading this I can’t actually say that I am eager for the older man to say something that convinces his colleague to go ahead with the marraige. I personally know too many people who got married when they shouldn’t have, so my advice to the guy who isn’t sure about things is to wait until you are.

    • I think the older man realizes that the more he talks to the younger man and I think that is why he doesn’t rush to a whole bunch of judgments and a whole bunch of pressure to do something that maybe the younger is not ready for. Thank you for your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

  3. Choices made and those not made define us. But it’s impossible to say what would be the right choice for that young man. If he marries the girl and then resents the opportunities lost he’ll make them both unhappy.It’s possible that taking longer to make up his mind may mean once he does he’s happier and less likely to dwell on what might have been.

    This is a strong piece of writing that makes a reader think. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  4. When we decide, we make a choice, that can be good or bad. If its good we feel our decision was right and if it turns bad then we think if we may have made other choice the results could have been different. While making decision we must keep aside all the fears and nervousness. We must believe in our self and think that no matter what we have decided we can make almost everything right.
    I feel that Old man could have given something more to young . I was also feeling same as young was surprised.
    I believe he must have encouraged young boy to leave fear aside , go for it , live your life and try to be happy with your decision , your life and partner as life is not bed of roses but thorns do come with roses. No matter you are young or old these are different phases of life and we must see experiences are related to young age and lessons with old age. If we will not experience anything how we will learn a lesson and teach it later.

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