June 16, 2024

Real Life

My high school friend Colleen sometimes imagined that, if her mother, Maggie, had married a different man, she (Colleen) would have had a better life.

I thought that if Maggie had married someone else, Colleen would not exist.

Maggie grew up in a small town in Ireland, and told Colleen many nostalgic stories of her youth. There had been a charming boy who used to walk her home from school, even though, as she later realized, it was two miles out of his way. Colleen saw that boy (Davy) as her potential father. Maggie had other ideas. As soon as she could, she sailed to New York, where she met and married the handsome sailor who eventually became Colleen's father.

Born when her parents had been married nearly twenty years and her mother was turning forty, Colleen often suspected she wan't really a wanted child. She dreamed of a livelier existence in Ireland, perhaps with playful siblings, and a dad who didn't spend so much time sitting in his easy chair, reading the paper, while the grandfather clock ticked away the days. Her name would be Kate.

If that alternate universe existed, I imagine Davy spent his evenings at the pub while Maggie sat at home, listening to the clock tick. Colleen/Kate would have found small-town life as stifling as her mother had and she, too, would have escaped.

In the current universe, Colleen and I were roommates for a while after high school, but we had too many differences, and we soon parted. She moved from California to Oregon to Florida to New York. I don't know whether she ever found what she was looking for. She never married. In her fifties, she finally changed her name, but not to Kate. She became Eileen, and took her mother's maiden name. At fifty-five, she died of a heart attack.


No comments :

Post a Comment

If you are a real person making a real comment, your comment will appear after moderation. Thank you for your patience.