Crossroads

“Fine, it’s no problem at all” I said apathetically and hung up the phone. My husband Caleb had to leave for a business trip, unanticipated as usual. My meeting would have to rescheduled, and I would have to explain his absence to our children yet again. I knew Caleb’s job was important to him, but it would be nice to actually get to see him every now and then. I would spend another weekend carting the kids to their various activities, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and feeling alone.

I looked at my watch; it was already 3:22. My meeting was at 3:45 but I had to be at the school to pick up Brady at 3:30. I called my boss to ask her to reschedule; lets just say she didn’t sound too thrilled at the idea, but there was nothing I could do. I pulled up to the school right as the bell rang and the mass amount of children started pouring from the small brick building. Brady was easy to spot, being exceptionally tall for a fourteen year old. Kenzie was also easy to spot, hopping energetically through the crowd. I sigh, was I ever that carefree? Maybe back in college when Caleb and I met, but that was a long time ago.

I pull into the drive way, my large house looks so ominous and empty in the fading sunlight. The kids jump out of my Mercedes and rush into the house. I follow behind and flip on the kitchen light as I step inside. I go change out of my suit, and then come back downstairs to start making dinner. Brady comes running into the kitchen, “Mom! Can I go over to Justin’s house tonight?” “Yes that’s fine. Do I need to take you?” A grin spreads across his face, “Well if you don’t mind…” Then Kenzie comes running in behind him. She wants to spend the night at a friend’s house too. So, I go upstairs and help them pack, and then we are leaving again. After I drop both of them off, I decide to head to the grocery store.

After drifting down the different isles and mindlessly picking up different types of food, I head to the checkout. As I was waiting, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to a set of eyes as aqua-blue as the ocean. This brought about a memory of a completely different time, a time when I was outgoing and carefree. I remembered in my sophomore year of high school when I had stared into those same eyes for the first time. “Jason?” I said the surprise obvious in my voice. He laughed that laugh I remembered so well, “Well hello to you too. I saw you standing here and felt like I was obligated to say something to such a beautiful woman.” Now it was time for me to laugh, something I hadn’t done for awhile. “Oh stop it. What are you doing here?” He proceeded to explain how he had made his way back to our hometown from traveling the United States to see some family. “So, how are you doing? Why are you wandering around a grocery store on a Friday night?” he said, pairing it with his winning smile. I struggled with the idea of telling him the truth, that my husband had left me alone once again, or fabricate some fantastic tale. I went for somewhere in the middle, “Oh, it’s a long story.” “Well I like long stories, and coffee. Want to go grab some and catch up? If you aren’t busy that is.” The question hung in the air for a few seconds, but I quickly accepted. What else was I going to do? Go watch yet another Lifetime movie?

We met up a few minutes later at a Starbucks just down the road. After I grabbed my favorite white chocolate mocha, we settled into some of the comfy chairs by the window overlooking the fading sunlight on the horizon. We talked about everything that had happened since high school. We laughed at stupid jokes, told sad stories, and shared life-changing memories. When the manager told us it was closing time, we got up to leave. We stopped walking at my Mercedes and Jason brushed back a piece of hair from my face. I peered up into those aqua eyes, so relaxed and overwhelmed with happiness. “You know, I always regretted what happened between us.” Those were the words I had always dreamed of him saying during the months after our break up. I was caught up in the moment, and couldn’t think of what to say. I hadn’t acted this freely in a long time. I was always raising the kids and keeping order in the house by myself. “Do you think we could meet up again tomorrow? I really enjoyed tonight, and your husband is out of town and your kids are busy. What do you say?” His smile was so sweet and reached all the way up to those eyes I couldn’t break my gaze away from. Without thinking I agreed and we decided to have breakfast at an upscale restaurant. As I drove home and walked through my dark, empty house I couldn’t decide what to think of what had just happened. I also couldn’t decide if I should meet up with Jason again. It was only breakfast with an old friend, completely justifiable. Except for one thing, Jason was much more than just an old friend.

I met Jason my sophomore year of high school. I had just moved from a small town, and was completely overwhelmed. I was lost, trying to find my way to first period when I bumped into him. That was the first time I got lost in those aqua-blue eyes and was dazzled by his smile. He helped me find my class and surprisingly, we had a few classes together throughout the day. Each morning I would spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to look my best to impress Jason. On the way to school my stomach would leap in anticipation of seeing him. A smile or wink from him would make my entire day. Soon, we began talking more and more, getting to know little bits and pieces from each others past. This led to going to football games or movies with a group of friends, and eventually hanging out on our own. When Jason asked me to be his girlfriend I said yes without even blinking. After the first couple of months, I slowly started to feel myself falling for him. I had never felt this way before, it was the strangest feeling. My friends would always talk about being “in love” but this seemed like more. We had been dating exactly five months and eight days the first time Jason told me he loved me.

We continued to date all the way up to senior year. Everything was perfectly fine, except that we were about to graduate. Both of us decided, despite the fact we were together, we both needed to go to the college that felt right for us. I was going to Harvard to become a lawyer, and he was going to Florida to play baseball on a scholarship. Once we went off to college, we both decided the long-distance relationship wasn’t working and we gradually drifted apart. I had talked to Jason a few times after that on the phone to catch up, but it had been years since we last spoke.

I lay down in bed, but despite the fact that it was three in the morning, couldn’t manage to go to sleep. I couldn’t help thinking I was making a mistake by meeting Jason the next morning. I could tell myself it was just meeting for breakfast, but breakfast could lead to lunch, lunch to dinner, and who knows what else. I mean I didn’t see my husband that often, but was I willing to risk losing all I did have? I had a job I loved, amazing children I would do anything for, and a husband who loved me. I didn’t want to lose them, couldn’t even imagine what I would do if I did.

I sat up in bed and picked up my cell phone from my bedside table. I dialed the number and waited anxiously. “Hey Meg,” came the voice I knew so well. “You need something?” I thought about this question and replied, “No, just wanted to call and tell you I love you.” His soft laugh came next and then, “I love you too. I miss you, but I will be home in a few days.” We talked for a few more minutes and then I hung up. I felt much better and drifted off to sleep within a few minutes.

I woke up the next morning and called Jason to tell him I couldn’t make it. He sounded disappointed and I felt bad for it, but I had made my decision. Later, I went to pick up Brady and Kenzie. As I was walking into our house, my kids running ahead of me, I realized this was all I needed. I had a great life and should appreciate it. Looking back now, I really understand the saying “everything happens for a reason.” Jason was a great guy, but we weren’t meant to be together. I was always meant to be with Caleb. My family is the most important thing to me; I would never doubt them ever again.

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things." -Robert Brault





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