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Short Fiction

He hadn’t really considered what would happen next. It all went so quickly; the fork in the road, the split-second decision, the immediate doubt. Where did this lead; where would it take him? Well, now he knew.

He took a moment to consider his life up to this point. His carefree childhood, his stressful schooldays, his life dedicated to his job. That last explained his three failed marriages and resultant three estranged offspring. At least they had not repeated his mistakes (yet).

This brought his thoughts up to the past week. The week he broke down and couldn’t handle it any more. He left his office for lunch and didn’t go back. He remembered sitting in the little sandwich shop for hours, silent, pondering. He went through more than one pot of coffee after the waitress figured out he wasn’t leaving anytime soon.

Finally he stirred and took in his surroundings. He started chatting with the waitress, discovering her interests, actually learning about another person for the first time in years. He asked when her shift ended, and they ended up spending the next three days holed up in a hotel room, ordering room service, and talking endlessly whenever they were not otherwise occupied.

After they came up for air, they made plans to meet up come the weekend. In the meantime, he hadn’t been back to his office once. He spent an afternoon at an art gallery. He bought an ice cream for everyone in a park – adults too! He took a drive in the country, looking forward to his weekend encounter —

Which made his choice of which fork to take all the more sad, and the unexpectedly sharp bend in the road all the more poignant, and the distant ground rushing at him all the more heartrending.

He closed his eyes and thought of her…

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