The Jagged Road to Contentment
Fiction: My life as it will be
I'm sitting at work the last week of my temporary assignment; things have been tough since I was laid off. I have some down time so, just for fun I decide to have my tarot cards read online. They tell me that this is a new phase in my life; I will be successful if I try to do something that I always wanted to do. What I have always wanted to do is to become a writer. I do some research online and discover a whole world of freelance writing groups. I look into it and find a free class for screenplay writing. Now I have no intention of ever writing screenplays you see but I decide that the class would help to get my creative juices flowing again. I come home super exited and tell my family as we are sitting at the table. And they just look a t me like I have lost my mind. To them this is just another thing Lisa will give up on. To me this is a window that has been opened when all of the doors in my life have been slammed shut. So I take the class. I do a terrible job with each and every assignment, but that's okay I never planned on writing the next Pulp Fiction. The good news is I followed through with it. I show my husband gushing excitedly “Look Rob I finally finished! Would you read my work?” ”I can’t read it now, can’t you see that I'm busy” he chokes out as he takes another hit from the bong. We have been married 11 years by now so, I expect this out of him.
So alone I trudge through the world of online freelance writing penniless but with a deep joy inside my heart knowing I will make something of myself. Time passes by and I get deeper into this world of words. My children change with each passing day from small versions of me to beautiful young women with minds of their own. It seems that every aspect of my life has changed. My husband has become not only a supportive spouse but also my biggest fan. I have yet to sell anything for any substantial gain but I feel as if I have found a piece of me that was misplaced many years ago. My anxiety attacks that I learned to live with oh so long ago have all but diminished. I feel as if I am right around the corner from something life changing.
At my oldest daughters suggestion we decide to go to a soup kitchen and start volunteering. My three angels and I go ,twice a week, and feed these humble souls and try to bring a little happiness back into their lives. I volunteer to write some newsletters to generate more revenue for the shelter. They are thrilled with the idea. My girls and I sit with the people who come into the shelter and encourage them to share their dreams by sharing ours with them. I bring my writing portfolio out on certain occasions just to show people how far I have come and that no matter how low you are there is always a way to get back up and start over again.
While working my day job as an insurance underwriter I receive a phone call from my husband. The mail ran there is an envelope from the publishing company you submitted your book to! Can I open it?” “Yes please! What does it say?” I exclaim. A pause and he stammers “Oh honey, I'm so sorry to keep you so long! I know you’re at work. Let’s talk about this when you get home.” “Its bad news isn’t it?” I sigh sadly. “It’s okay baby; there are a thousand more companies don’t get discouraged.” He says “I'm fine Rob; hey, don't wait up for me tonight okay honey.” I say evenly and then hang up the phone. I pick the receiver up and call my best friend krystal I ask her to call Michelle “We need to have a girls night tonight” I say between tears.
We meet after work at the local bar and I'm already on my second shot of tequila by the time they get there. They rush in and I hug them both. Michelle informs me that she invited someone else; someone who has always been able to cheer me up and I look up and My best guy friend Emilio walks through the door. “I'm a failure and I'm giving up on my writing career.” I sob. They decide to take the indirect route and get me drunk. Eight shots later we come to the realization that I do not give a damn what that publishing company thought, I am a fantastic writer. We spend the rest of the night giggling and reminiscing.
I stumble into the house around two thirty am. And of course my husband is waiting up for me. “Hi baby, how are you doing?” He asks tenderly. “I'm fine “I say as I run in the bathroom to heave ho. He waits patiently then mentions as if an afterthought “Oh by the way, you got a phone call today. Someone named Olivia cougar.” I gasp “That’s one of the lady's I use to sit with at the soup kitchen. She has not been there in months. I have been wondering what happened to her.”
I awake the next morning with a splitting headache. After downing three cups of coffee and four Advil my husband hands me the phone with a knowing smile on his face. I pick up the phone and dial the number. “Thank you for calling travel now this is Olivia; how can I help you?” says the voice on the other end. “Hi Olivia, how are you?” I exclaim. “I’m just fine.” she gushes. “I am now an editor at a travel magazine and I would like to offer you a job!”She continues. I sneak a look at my husband in my disbelief. For the first time I notice that he has a mischievous look of satisfaction in his eyes.
She sees my silence as an opportunity to go on “We would like to pay you ten dollars a word for articles you write about places we would send you to all expenses paid.” I gasp “You can’t be serious.” I barely choke out. “I have never been more serious about anything in my life, Lisa. You sat with me day after day sharing your dreams, not knowing the person I use to be before the alcohol took over my life. You gave me courage and hope. When you brought out your portfolio it was to encourage me to move on with my life. I was touched so deeply I cleaned myself up and begged and pleaded and got my old job back. You have a gift with words and you are the one I want for this project” she takes a breath and continues. “We know your youngest daughter goes off to college next week and we thought that would be the perfect time to start your first assignment.” “I don't know what to say” I stammer” just say yes” she says “YES!” I scream.
We wave goodbye to my youngest daughter Jordan as she pulls away to start her own adventures in life. A tear slips out and down my cheek “their goes our baby” I whisper. I'm filled with such bittersweet melancholy I can hardly stand it. As she pulls away our cab pulls up... right on time. We put our luggage into the trunk and slip into the back seat I grasp my husband’s hand and see my feelings mirrored in the expression on his face. Feeling a mixture of sadness and excitement we board the plane not knowing what to expect. We arrive in Florence and right away we are transported to a different world. We stand there bedazzled by all the beauty with our mouths hanging open. We dine on Bistecca alla fiorentina which is Italian steak and triglie alla livornese red mullet cooked with tomatoes and oil. The wine is good and plentiful. We walk hand and hand through the streets stopping at every museum taking in all the wonders of this magical place. Our hearts are at peace and we fall deeper in love.
Olivia has tears in her eyes when she finishes reading my article. I have some time now to spend with my girls. Olivia has me working on a piece about our area; I call my mother and we have a ball, helping my middle daughter Kendra plan her wedding. We spend time Toting around Alexia's baby boy and stand proud at Jordan's college graduation. Rob tells me that everyone has noticed a transformation in me since we went to Italy. I have learned to live life vicariously, love with all my heart, and truly let go.
“Mom” Kendra yells as she is banging on the door “You’re going to miss Kyle’s graduation!” I cannot believe her baby boy is already graduating high school. I rush around the house getting ready. We get there and I'm surrounded by my loving family and friends; as another milestone passes in our lives.
After the party me and Rob are off to Africa I have to write an article on the effects of malaria and malnutrition. I am unprepared for the mixture of beauty and sadness. I stay longer than necessary being sucked in by all of these poor souls. We go home with a deeper understanding of how much we really have. The article that I wrote did its part in obtaining funding for better education, farming equipment, and mosquito control.
I'm laying in my hospital bed my family standing around me. I'm ninety five years old the tumor is inoperable. “Please don't cry I would not change a moment of my life.” I whisper “I'm going home” I say with my last breath.
My funeral at my request is a celebration of all the things I accomplished during my life. I send my children exhausted and numb inside to Florence to scatter my ashes. The magic of the city melts their pain and calms their souls.