Differences Between If and When.

October 22, 2010
"If I had a billion dollars I'd spend it..." Harold had begun so enthusiastically, but his tone dwindled as did his posture, hesitant with an answer “some… way.”
“You’re so lame,” Charlie groaned, taking the piece of paper from his friend’s hand.
The two had found a lottery ticket off the ground, excited to find the jackpot is up to a billion dollars. Now they’re at Sally’s house, a place they’ve found easy to free-load off of. When they had told her their find, Sally sighed and then tried to tell them that you have to be eighteen to play the lottery, but was cut off by Charlie’s eager question of what to do with the money.
Charlie studied the paper, both his hands holding the paper up to the light. “I would buy my way into anything. Whatever I want to do I would have excess to it. Nothing and no one would be in my way because I had every right to be there.” He stood on top of his chair, painting a picture with every gesture he made to an audience of only two but seemed to be millions. His friends could only listen to him in awe. “No more you can’t or there’s no way Charlie. People would only ask me to go for it and succeed. I’d be happy then. There wouldn’t be an instant of my day where I wasn’t smiling. Happiness would explode into a room when I’d walk in it… there’d be no such thing as sadness and regret, or even the chance to wonder what if...”
Later in the years, Charlie wouldn’t get into college because he couldn’t come up with the money. Refusing to help him, his parents had thought he would drop out anyways. With nothing else he could have done, he joined the military, dying on the battle field. A bullet went through his heart when he saved another soldier, one with, he thought to have a future back home, unlike him.
Becoming inspired by the silly conversation, Sally sat on the table as Charlie sat back down. She looked to the boys, grinning mischievously “Honestly? I would—if we could play the lottery—I would buy all the things my parents say are too mature for me. I’d dabble in everything crazy you see in the movies, like sky diving, driving fast cars and dancing in clubs.”
Amused, Charlie chuckled and commented “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” He nudged the meek Harold as she went on with a glint of excitement in her eye, “With that money my parents would have no say in anything I did. I would just do it. Everything I’d do wouldn’t be planned… I would be free, free of schedules, free of limits. There’d only be time.”
When Sally grows older she would do all the things she had promised on this day, unfortunately it wouldn’t be with the right crowd. Her parents warned her of them, but just by their concern she wanted to do everything even more… eventually she would turn to drugs, being able to pay for everything with sex. In her thirties she’ll be arrested for prostitution and thrown into a rehab facility. Eventually she’ll have a child, not knowing who the father is, but the child was enough for her to learn a job at the grocery store is her destiny.
The two friends looked to Harold, who only made a smile and shrugged. “I don’t know… I guess I’m just boring. Maybe I would put most of it away for college-”
He was cut off there to be teased and joked with, him finding it just as funny though he does feel a bit pathetic.
Just as his friends grew up, Harold did as well. Instead he grew up to go to his best friend's funeral, and to watch his first love's life spiral out of control despite his pleading. After that he wasn't sure what to do with his life. Lift seemed to drift on, time never stopped like he thought it would.
"You know what!" Harold spoke up and announced to his friends, "I'd split the money with you guys."
The other two cooed and teased him, then strung out their fantasies more as long as they could...
At age fifty-two, Harold won the lottery. While the wife he had found was ecstatic and began to plan, all he wanted to do was rub it in Charlie's face and celebrate with a young Sally, then split it up with two people who would've been the most grateful and fulfilled people in the world... but instead, a poor woman's child received a free ride to college, which fulfilled Harold, something he's been waiting for since he first played the lottery.

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Danny B. said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 6:04 pm
This story made me kinda sad expecialy the last part.
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