Fiction On Odyssey: A Goodbye That Offered No More Future Hellos

Fiction On Odyssey: A Goodbye That Offered No More Future Hellos

The final chapter has arrived.

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After reading chapter three, this is the final chapter to the short story, "Apologies Not Given." A little longer than the previous chapters, the final chapter holds closure for both Vicki and Seth!

Seth (2018)

Awkwardly transitioning from another one of my failed attempts at witty banter, I told you all about my new life. New would be an overstatement: the life is completely the same, but the roles changed and now each one is filled with a person unfamiliar to you; although that's what you're comfortable with – unfamiliar. "Don't say that," I thought as I rambled on.

Taken by surprise, you asked to see a picture of Suzanne, and I quickly obliged. Your tiny mouth curled up on the left side, a smile I knew all too well. You were being polite – keeping comments to yourself as to not say something you may later regret.

You said nothing of Suzanne.

"Do you have children?"

"Not yet. I think, well I know, I want to have children soon."

Nodding, there was an unspoken, painful memory we knew we were both sharing at that moment. You had just gotten home from whatever hobby of the month you were participating in that night, and I was babysitting our neighbor's baby, Julia. You intently stared at me as you watched from the kitchen entryway as I fed Julia mashed bananas and cheerios.

The look on your face was one of annoyance and sadness when most women your age would've been delighted to see their partner enjoying and well-caring after a baby as thoughts of your own fertility created wishful scenarios in your head.

"No," was all you had to say.

Startled, I looked up, and asked, "Excuse me?"

"I will not have children."

I got up and followed you into the living room where you threw your ballet-slipper clad feet on the expensive white couch. "I guess that answers where you were," my mind spoke. Before I could hesitate, you calmly stated, "We don't have to talk about it. There's not much to discuss. I won't be having children." I would sacrifice anything if it meant watching your ballet slippers curl up under your, one of many, yellow blankets for the rest of our lives.


Vicki (2018)

Bracing myself for the blow I knew was inevitable, I asked about your wife. My mouth spoke before my mind could warn it, and soon you were showing me a picture of a girl that looked like she was the complete opposite of me. Maybe you weren't able to ever look at someone who resembled me in the slightest because it hurt too much. Maybe you were eager to show me a picture of her to show that her hair was as light and innocent as she was to her life, while mine was as red and hot-tempered as I was. Or maybe you wanted to show me that her arms were planted around your waist more firmly than my feet ever were to this ground - still fresh with my footprints from my last run.


Seth (2018)

Shifting from my average life accomplishments and semi-permanent happiness, I wanted to hear your thick voice talk about yourself. I craved details of events I was left out on that I still dream of as years slip away just like you once did. When you spoke about the man you were moving in within downtown Chicago, fulfilling the only permanent dreams you ever let me know of, I felt sick. I wanted to run away, and pretend I never saw you standing in that too crowded line that seemed to disappear when I caught a glance of fiery hair and speckled freckles on a face that reminded me of happiness and a life I still pretended to live.

My face was red; I could feel it. Instantly, I regret coming here. Not just to the coffee shop, but this town. I could've chosen a different college, never introduced myself to the girl that had danger in her cold, yet inviting eyes, never moved to this town five years ago, and I wouldn't be finding myself sitting in this all of a sudden too closed in shop that smelled like a drink I was long over drinking because the taste had gotten old. Pain stabbed at me in a way I became immune to when it came to you. I was ready for a goodbye that offered no more future hellos.


Vicki (2018)

Maybe the problem was that you never stopped looking for me long enough to let me find you. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't find someone else, and my God, I did. I found him. I found Scott because we were running from two different things in two different directions, crashing into each other. When we run, we run together.

Before your once familiar, too-forgotten lips graced my cheek with their final goodbye, I heard your last words whispered, sending shivers through my body as I watched you be the one to run first this time. My face was red; I could feel it. I'm glad I finally learned, too.

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5 Things That I Encounter While Driving And How I Am Still A Safe Driver After Them

Stay in your lane, my friend.

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When I began driving as a 16-year-old, I was terrified that I was going to do something wrong. On the road, it's easy to mess up, swerve into another lane even just a little bit, or be in the wrong in a car accident. There's, unfortunately, an endless amount of things that can happen on the road and already do every day.

With a lot more practice driving in the past 5.5 years, I've learned a lot about my own style of driving as well as other people's. I never come across the same people on the roads, but some of their actions are similar, if not the same as others. Driving like an idiot has become a new trend on the road nowadays. I don't know who started that, but it's bothersome to the safe drivers who are trying to get from point A to point B.

Over the years I've driven on my own so far, I've encountered lots and lots of different scenarios and I've learned from each of them. In turn, I've become a much more defensive and safer driver.

1. People in a huge hurry.

Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

It's inevitable, there are people who are in a hurry to get where they're going. I understand if an emergency arose, but if it involves getting somewhere and not running late, people should plan to have more time for their commute. Instead, since they don't, they believe that swerving into lanes in order to get in front of people is a problem-solving way of driving.

Their logic is: if there's enough room for me to squeeze in between two people, I'll do it so that I can get where I'm going faster. Lots of people think that if they get past a traffic mess or get past slower drivers that their problems will be solved and that they'll get where they need to go on time. Since this is not the case, I leave enough room in front of myself and other drivers in their automobiles in case something like this happens. I don't want to be at fault for someone else's mistakes.

2. People out to get you.

Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash

Call me paranoid, but I have a strong belief that some people like to act the way that they do on the road in order to ruin someone else's day. Even if this isn't the case, there are people who can still have malicious intentions. These can involve someone cutting me off without using a directional to let me know they're merging into my lane or even people who try to merge into my lane in front of me with very minimal space. When drivers do this, they're stressing me out because I leave enough space in case I need to slam on my brakes in case of an emergency, not enough for someone to squeeze into my lane and make me slam on my brakes to slow down to let them in. The reason I leave space in between myself and other drivers is not that I'm welcoming someone into my lane so that they can get their way.

3. People clearly distracted.

Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash

Look, I understand that it's IMPERATIVE that you talk on the phone while driving. All power to you. My car has the ability to call anyone for me hands-free, as well as text someone for me and not have to lift a fingertip off of the wheel. Isn't that also why we have Siri? iPhone users, it's become so easy to text, call, email, etc. while driving now.

A lot of people are victims of texting and driving, but if there's traffic on a road with stoplights, or we're driving on a one-way road where we can't pass others driving too slow, it's a courtesy to put your phone down to make sure you aren't going to run into the back of someone. One thing I notice with distinctly distracted drivers is that they'll brake more often for no reason when they're distracted. It's because if someone is looking down or away from their view of cars in front of them, they'll constantly brake more in hopes that they won't accidentally run into someone. But what about the people stuck behind them who are wondering why the people in front of them are braking so often? Not to mention that there's usually not anyone directly in front of them, so it makes it much more obvious that they're distracted.

In hindsight, it's much better to just wait until you're stopped. Please and thank you (:

4. People who tailgate.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

This is something I'll never come to terms with.

Why people need to tailgate me is beyond me. I used to have a habit of doing it myself but realized how unsafe it was and how quickly something accidental can result from it. That's the thing - if I'm being blatantly tailgated and someone runs into me, it's much more intentional than it would be if it were a different circumstance. So to an extent, it's not "accidental".

I'm a person who is very conscious of people around me in all directions, so I know when someone is riding my as*. I don't just stare directly in front of me, I can see you tailgating me. My strategy when this happens is to slow down even more to tick off the driver behind me in hopes that they'll get fed up and kindly (but never actually kindly) merge around me.

Another useful strategy I use - not as often because it can be unsafe - is brake checking. I'll do it so that the driver behind me knows that I'm very aware that they're there and what they're doing to me, but it's not recommended for anyone to do. A safer option is the former.

Something I'll notice when I have a tailgater on me is the fact that they'll flash their lights at me in hopes that I'll either move out of their way or speed up so that they can get around me. All that makes me want to do is get neck-and-neck with the people in the other lane and drive alongside them, trapping the tailgater. I'm a petty driver, so don't cross me.

5. People being stupid.

Photo by Bailey Hall on Unsplash

This one might sound pretty broad, but let me explain.

This is for those people who think it's a good idea to pull out onto a road when they clearly see someone driving in the right lane going 50 m.p.h. For those who think it's a wise, smart decision to cut someone off who is already driving at full speed.

I HATE YOU AND YOU'RE THE REASON I HATE DRIVING.

Lemme just say that I did not think people were actually this stupid, but boyyyyy am I wrong about that one.

Not only are people stupid in this way, but are simply careless. If they pull onto a road into a lane that I'm in, and I'm already going 50+ m.p.h., they don't care about me. They know I'll have to either slow down or somehow merge into another lane in order to miss rear-ending them. But it's not like I just have to tap my brake pedal when this happens. Oh, no honey. It's the fact that I have to slam on my brake pedal in hopes that I slow down fast enough.

If you're one of these people, please re-evaluate these decisions as well as your own life. Quite frankly, that was meant to be a joke, but it's actually literal because it's life or death on the roads and not a lot of in-between.

If you haven't seen all of these different types of drivers on the road, bless your heart. They're coming.

I only wish I could avoid these types of drivers at all costs, but unfortunately, I cannot. They always find me and they always irk me (:

PLEASE make conscious, smart, INTELLIGENT decisions while driving. You could put not only your own life but some other innocent person's life at risk. Think before you act. It's that simple.

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