Finally Alice gave up on sleep. She walked to the kitchen for a glass of water. As she stood at the sink, she stared at her reflection in the darkened window. “Who am I?” she thought. “I’m a vet because my grandma wanted me to be. I’m ‘smart’ because she told me I had to be. I’m a disappointment because my mother has told me that over and over. But who am I?”
She went into her living room and sunk into her supremely comfortable sofa. “I like this sofa,” she thought. “I bought it on my own. I picked it out.” It was a little ridiculous but it made her feel surprisingly comforted. Gazing around the room, she surveyed her belongings. She decided which ones were “her” and which ones were influenced by others, namely her mother and grandmother. She went to the closet and pulled out a big garbage bag. She started throwing things in it. She tossed in the lamp her mother had discarded and given to her. It made a satisfying crunch as the glass hit the floor. She threw in books and the ugly afghan her grandmother had knitted that didn’t match anywhere so it had been given to Alice. When she was finally done, the room looked better. “It is more me,” she said aloud. She felt a bit of sinking guilt when she saw the big garbage bag but before she could lose her courage, she threw a coat on over her pajamas, slipped on some shoes and took it outside to leave by the curb.
No one knew what had happened to Alice, but something had. She declined invitations where before she never had. She took a pottery class and then a photography class but told her mother she really wasn’t that interested in either, she was just experimenting. “I think she’s gone crazy,” Gwen Ann confided in her husband.
“But she seems really happy,” he pointed out.
“Crazy people usually do,” Gwen Ann said.
The most amazing thing Alice did was quit her job at the Animal Hospital. “I don’t think I ever enjoyed being a vet,” she told her parents.
For the first time in Alice’s memory, Gwen Ann was speechless. “Then what are you going to do?” she sputtered.
“I’m not sure,” Alice said, “I have quite a bit of money saved and I’m going to travel and try to decide.”
Tim caught his breath when he saw the woman walk on the plane. There was a light in her eyes, almost a sparkle, that mesmerized him. She must be about his age but she seemed younger somehow, like she was looking at everything with fresh eyes. He couldn’t stop watching her as she walked down the aisle.
He couldn’t believe his luck when she sat in the seat next to him.
“Hello,” she said, extending her hand, “I’m Alice.”
Check back Monday for the next Round Robin Story!