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Living the Dream

This is a short story that I wrote for a writing class assignment about "What I Wish Had Happened to Me Over My Summer Vacation." I tried a few little style tricks while writing it that seemed to work. Hopefully you'll like it.

"What I Wish Had Happened to Me Over My Summer Vacation." Jordan read the title aloud as he snatched my paper from the printer on my computer desk. That’s what I get for leaving the room to get a drink of water.

I could tell from the look on his face as I reentered the room that he was far too playful and full of energy to simply give me back my paper and let me finish my homework for tomorrow. Since he had moved in with me three months ago, I had learned that once the edges of his mouth curled up into that mischievous smile there was nothing to do until he had had his fun. I didn’t really have the time to screw around, considering all of the reading and writing still to be worked through for my college classes, but I knew from experience that he would be a grouch for the rest of the night if I shut him down, and the last thing I wanted was to have to experience him pouting and grumbling.

"Hey, give me that! I have to turn that in tomorrow morning," I told him playfully as he skipped out of my reach.

Continuing to read as he danced away from me, he laughed and sputtered out, "Parachuting into the Grand Canyon!? You!? … And competing in the X-Games!? … This is too funny!"

I stopped trying to grab him and felt a frown work across my face. Sure, I wasn’t much of an adventurous type or an athlete, but this was a fantasy assignment. I could dream, right? I don’t know; I suppose I did go a little overboard.

"… Beating Tiger Woods by three strokes! Oh, come on!" His voice was full of both mockery and amusement. "You can’t even beat your five year old nephew at Putt-Putt!" He laughed again. As he looked over to me I could see him recognize my disappointment at his opinion of my story. His laughter died down and the smirk of the playful child left his face. "Why’d you write this stuff?" he asked quietly.

I stared at him for a moment, reveling in the energy still sparkling behind his eyes, and I wasn’t sure how well I could answer that question. "I didn’t know what else to write."

"But you could have written about anything!" he said. "You could have written about anything you wish would have happened, and you decided to write about outrageous things that … I just don’t get it … This stuff’s all so unbelievable."

My eyes had wandered down to watching my hands as I absentmindedly rubbed a non-existent ache from my left hand with my right. I looked up to see clearly into his sparkling eyes once again. "I guess they are. I just … I couldn’t imagine what would be more fantastic and incredible than what has already happened to me this summer."

As I said this I noticed a smile returning to his face - not the mischievous smirk from a few minutes ago but the warm, loving smile I ran home to see every day after classes. "I already have what I wished would have happened this summer vacation, and I can’t think of anything that could ever be better."

I stood there for a while almost in a dream, simply enjoying the beauty of his smile, and I didn’t even realize he had moved to my side until I felt his warm body close to mine and his strong embrace around my back.

"I got the best thing I could have ever wished for, too," he said as he leaned his head into my neck and shoulder. "Thanks."


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Living the Dream, by Paul Cales, © August 2001