Thursday, March 25, 2010

All Aboard

I was doing a bit of data entry at work today and stumbled upon the date September 29, 2009.  As I mindlessly typed my mind wandered to the movie "Sliding Doors."

In the movie, Gwyneth Paltrow's character got fired from her job.  As she is going home from the office she missed the subway train by a matter of seconds.  At that point the plot splits into two story lines--what would have happened had she made it onto the train, and what would have happened had she missed it. The Gwyneth who caught the train caught her boyfriend in bed with another woman.  The one who missed it was mugged as she was trying to catch a bus, and none the wiser about the cheating boyfriend.  The one who caught the train threw the boyfriend out and started a brand new happy life.  The one who missed the train slogged along, picking up a job as a waitress, and was miserable.  It's one of my favorite movies, and really made me think of all those little moments at which the plot of my life could have split. 

The date I mentioned above got me thinking of this because on September 29, 1989 my high school boyfriend and I had gotten together.  Had I stayed with that boyfriend, I would have been with him for 20 years.  Our breakup, sometime in the spring of 1991, was probably one of those Sliding Doors moments for me. 

This boyfriend, Leonard, (he looked like Spock so I'll call him Leonard) married the girl that he'd dumped me for back in 91.  We had broken up twice.  The first time was a few months before, and I had learned that he asked out this girl, Olive, (she looked like Olive Oyl, from the Popeye cartoon) but she'd said no.  Rejected, Leonard used his mind meld technique and managed to get me back.  We stayed together for a few months, but his mind was on Olive.  She flashed him a green light, and he dropped me in a second flat.  (Then he posted some lousy thing in the yearbook "Thanks for the memories, Beej, but I am much happier now."  It must have been all the pesto that Olive Oyl served up.  Pfft!  Whatev!)

I've heard from mutual friends that Leonard and Olive are married.  They had gotten engaged when I was in college.  I saw them at the movies one night when I was home for a weekend.  I was about to go up and congratulate them, because I heard the good news.  They spotted me and quickly turned away; at that moment I vowed not to buy them a Misto for a wedding gift. 

They live in the town next to our home town.  They never really left our hometown.  I don't know what he does for a living, but I guess that it's some unimaginative gig.  My friend saw them in Walmart a few years back and said "I saw Leonard, Olive and their monkey child" so I know they have at least one kid.  (And I love that my friend, still loyal years later called their progeny a "monkey child.")

But I caught that train in 1991.  I sat down and stared out the window as it took me to college out of state.  Then it took me overseas to Australia.  It took me to the open mic night where I met the people who led me to Todd.  It took me to get my Masters.  It took me underwater.  It brought me to my sailboat.  Then my dogs boarded somewhere along the line too.  There is no limit to where this train will go.  The track has no end, and the ride has been fabulous.

Thanks for the memories, Leonard.  But you know what?  I am way happier now than you could have ever made me.

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Blogger Taoist Biker said...

Look at it the other way - when he dumped you, that was his "miss the train/get mugged" moment where his potentially awesome Beejed-up life led to his crappy Olive-and-monkey-child life. :D

Ah, roads not taken. Had I not finally found some cojones and dumped the ex, I'd be back in Podunk, VA right now, being nagged by my mother-in-law to go to church again for the 5th time this week.

March 25, 2010 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Well, TB, they say that to truly know how far you've come you have to look back. Eat my dust, Leonard! Eat TB's dust, churchy mother in law! ROAR!

But just think... if Leonard and Olive remained faithful to each other, then their last first kiss was sometime in 1991, when they were 17. I probably witnessed it, you know, because they used to make out in the hallways at school all the fricken time. Gah!

March 25, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

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