Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Burntcore's Week 11 Entry: The Plan


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Burntcore's Choice: Both

The Plan

I was running. I wasn’t sure quite what yet, but I knew I had to get away. There were too many questions and not enough answers. Everyone wanted answers of me and I wasn’t even sure if I understood the questions.

So I did the only thing I thought I could do. I ran. I ran into the forest to my private place. I stood at the top of a small hillock in the forest, and looked down back into town. The hazy light of the afternoon trickled in between the trees, casting me in partial shadow.

I didn’t know what to do. What did they really expect of me? I was just a kid, right? Okay, maybe not a kid, per se, but wasn’t I too young to be making decisions like this? I had just graduated from college, for shit’s sake. Wasn’t that enough of an accomplishment? Now they wanted to know what I was going to do with my life and where I was going to live and what my plan was. Plan? What plan? Who the fuck had a plan at twenty-one? I didn’t even know what I was planning on doing that night much less what to do with my life.

Sure, I had a degree, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I guess some people thought that because I had a degree, I had a plan. I didn’t. I majored in history because I liked history. But where did I go from here?

Everyone expected me to go into teaching. Their opinion was “What else could you do with a history degree?” But I didn’t want to teach. I just liked history. I liked finding where we came from and the stories of people that were long gone. I wondered what happened in the gaps of history that weren’t written about… and on things that happened behind closed doors that only the people there knew about.

I was startled by the sound of leaves rustling behind me. I whirled around and saw my boyfriend, Anthony, pushing through the brush to walk up to my private spot.

“There you are, Cara,” he said with relief as he cleared the last of the brambles.

“How did you find me?” I thought this was my own secret place. Even if it was only Anthony that found me, I was still a little upset.

Anthony looked at me with a small grin. “It’s not exactly a secret the fact that you disappear into the forest when you have things on your mind.” He rubbed a hand through his short-cropped brown hair and stretched.

I looked down at my feet and toed a few rocks. “And here I thought I was being slick about my special private spot.”
“Don’t be upset, Cara. Just because we know about it, doesn’t make it any less special. When you are up here, everyone knows not to bother you.”

“Then why are you here?” I didn’t mean to make it sound so bitchy, but I was still a little peeved that people knew about this place.

Anthony shook his head a little but didn’t take offense to my tone. He knew me well. “I came up here because I wanted to make sure you were okay. You’ve been on edge for awhile and I have been worried about you, baby.”

I finally allowed a smile as I looked up at him. “I’m sorry, Anthony. It’s just that everyone has been on my ass about what I’m going to do next like I’m supposed to know…”

He quirked an eyebrow up as he walked closer to me. “You don’t?”

“Well, no. I mean, shit, I just graduated from college.”

“Three months ago.”

“So? Three months ain’t much compared to my whole life. I don’t know what to do. What if I pick something and in two years I hate it? What if-”

Anthony took my hands in his and rubbed them gently with his thumbs. “Sweetheart, nothing is set in stone. If you don’t like something, you can change it.”

“But how?” I asked helplessly, pushing mousy brown hair out of my face.

“The same way everyone else does. You make a choice and move on.”

“God, you make it sound so easy,” I muttered helplessly.

“It is easy. You’re thinking too hard.”

Anthony pulled me gently into his arms and kissed the top of my head. I sighed and melted into his embrace. After being together for four years, he knew how to calm me down. His physical presence served as a balm to whatever emotional or mental turmoil I was going through.

He and I had met in college, only to find out that we were from the same town, just different parts. After we had met each other’s parents, we realized that we also knew the same people but never had the opportunity to cross one another’s path. It was all very ironic.

“That’s what you always tell me,” I mumbled into his chest.

“Because that’s what you always do. Your heart and your head fight all the time,” he murmured as he stroked my hair.

“How do I simplify it?” I whispered.

“Find common ground. What leads your head and what leads your heart?”

I pulled away from Anthony slightly to look at him.


“If you had to do something right at this moment, if money wasn’t an issue, what would you want to do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t overthink it. Just your first kneejerk response.”

“Um… write, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“Well, I mean, I write a lot on my own.” An idea was forming in my head.

“You certainly do. I don’t think I ever see you without a notebook in your hand. So if you wanted to write as a career, what would you write?”

I considered this for a moment. “I’ve always wondered about the bits of history that we don’t hear about… the things that we have to fill in the blanks. I have a few theories of my own based on what I’ve learned.”

Anthony looked down at me with a big smile. “See? There you go.”

“But, it takes times to make money doing that,” I argued.

“Why worry about money?” he asked.

“Because bills won’t get paid and I won’t eat without it.”

Anthony considered this a moment as he ran one of his hands through my hair.

“Well, I have a pretty good job and I’ve been looking at getting my own place around here.”

“So, what does that have to do with me?”

“Move in with me,” Anthony whispered, leaning into me to kiss the shell of my ear.

“What?” I gasped.

“Move in with me,” he repeated. “We’ve talked about it before. Now we have a reason. I have a good job that can support both of us and you can concentrate on your writing.”

“I know… but when we talked about it, we were both going to be working,” I protested.

“You will be, you’ll be writing.”

“But that won’t p-”

Anthony interrupted me with a kiss. When he finally released me, he held my face affectionately. “You really do overthink too much. You know the kind of job I have. You know I can take care of you.”

“But why?”

“Because I love you, silly girl.”

I melted in his arms. He knew just how to sway me. I could follow my heart while still being true to my head. I’d still be responsible… and I’d have a Plan.

“I love you too, Anthony.”

“So, what are you doing to do?” he asked.

“I’m going to follow what’s in my heart.”