Friday Flash: "Trying to Bowl"
At sixteen years old, she’d lined them up like pins. Get a boyfriend, fall in love, get married, become a marine biologist, have a baby, read all of Shakespeare’s plays, see the Eiffel Tower, own a dog and a house and a yellow VW Beetle. Not one of the ugly, too-sleek modern ones either. An original, restored and only-modified-to-drive-on-North-American-roads Bug.
She got pregnant at nineteen, but it didn’t matter. One pin down, nine to go. She fell in love with the baby’s father, if only momentarily, but it didn’t matter either. It counted. Two pins down, eight to go.
The boyfriend came two years later, met during on-campus registration for the distance ed. courses she’d need to start working on a science degree. She pulled her arm back and released, ready to knock two pins in one stroke. She knocked one, clipped the other. Marine biology didn’t happen overnight.
Halfway through Shakespeare’s plays, she got bored and admitted she’d skimmed Titus Andronicusanyway and didn’t have a clue what was going on ninety-percent of the time. Gutter ball.
She bought a puppy and it bit the baby, so she gave it away. Accidental backward release. That same night, A View to a Kill came on TV. She watched James Bond chase a villain off the Eiffel Tower, and sighed.
Three years later, she met someone while standing at the edge of the mall parking lot. She held her daughter’s hand and, from afar, admired the antique cars from the local car club’s monthly get-togethers. He asked her if she’d like to see them up close, and he let her daughter sit in the front seat of his restored yellow VW Bug.
Eight months later, they were married in a tiny chapel, where her daughter played flower girl and ring-bearer. He had a house. They moved in. Three pins down, the rest called foul or illegal pinstrike.
Almost there. But marine biology was a process, and her guilt over Shakespeare’s plays urged a fresh start. Her new husband talked of travel to Europe, adopting a dog, and moving to another house where they’d have a spare room… just in case.
Her twenty-five-year-old self smiled, tasks complete, and tore up the list.
And after nine years and six points, she took charge and reset the frame.
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