Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maps

One day it's gonna happen
I don't know when
I'll be on your street
But I know one day it's gonna happen
You're gonna be swept off your feet

“Street Map” – Athlete

Lanie
Some people believe in fate and destiny. Others are content to just keep their heads down and live day to day. There is no cosmic meaning, no feeling of being special, just existing. This was something that Lanie could never do. From a little girl on, she couldn’t be like everyone else. She was always different. No matter where she was, she never felt like she was at home. This restlessness of spirit seemed like it would haunt her forever.

In her mind, she was searching for something. A gifted painter, she would spend hours pouring her heart and soul onto the canvas. This talent was her release. In some ways, it saved her. While her peers were fumbling their way to ecstasy in the dark, she was always concentrating on her work. Affairs of the heart were a mystery.

When she tried to be like everyone else, the results were usually disastrous. While at college she engaged in flirtations that went nowhere. Then she met Derek, a handsome, aloof art student like her. They fell in love at first sight and began spending every moment together. Eventually, it felt hollow and more like an obligation, a way to pass the time. Finally, on a snowy night, she quietly slipped out of his apartment and out of his life.

She had resigned herself to the fact that she would be alone. Her art became her great love. She didn’t mind the hours spent in her studio creating because that was life to her. The path she felt that she was on was difficult and worrisome. Every time she turned around she heard, “Artists don’t make any money." "How do you expect to live?" "When are you going to settle down and do something more practical?”

Feeling claustrophobic, she packed up and trekked halfway across the country. This was the adventure of a lifetime for her. Camping underneath the stars, the road stretched before her like an endless horizon. It was time.

Jake
There was nothing exceptional about Jake. He was a typical boy growing up in a suburban dream. He was never one to sit still, he always had to be doing something. Unfortunately, this tendency caused him to get into various levels of trouble. When he wasn’t running around his neighborhood creating a ruckus of some sort, he was writing stories about distant lands and alien worlds.

The older he became the more confused he was about the nuances of the opposite sex and romance. His friends were dating but he preferred to spend his time creating characters and adventures in his head. He would look at the couples at his high school and think that someday it might be nice to fall in love.

Instead of following in the footsteps of his friends and family, Jake opted to get a job so that he could spend his free time writing. In his heart, he knew that was his ticket out of his current life. For a while, he thought he was in love and was even contemplating marriage. Sabrina was everything a man could ask for. She was beautiful and engaging with a smile that lit up every room she entered. Jake was entranced.

He had planned how he was going to ask her to marry him. It was going to be perfect. More than willing to give up his dreams for her, Jake was ready to settle down. The magical night came and under the moon by the lake he proposed. Sabrina looked at the ring and promptly turned him down. She wanted more out of life than he could give her.

Crushed, Jake ended his relationship with her. For months, he was inconsolable. The words that never eluded him were nowhere to be found and the silence was heart wrenching. One night after too much to drink, he made a decision. He was going to leave. It was time.


The City
Lanie had taken a job in an art gallery. She could be around what she loved the most and make valuable connections. As far as she was concerned it was a win-win scenario.

Every now and then, when she allowed herself to think, a deep sadness would consume her. Some nights when she couldn’t sleep, she would stand on her terrace and look up at the stars. It was as if she were making a wish that her heart didn’t realize yet. She didn’t know when, she didn’t know why but she felt like something was going to happen.

The Mountains
The view that Jake awoke to every morning was amazing. Snowcapped mountains, trees for days it soothed his soul. He was enjoying working in the outdoors and using his hands to build houses for people. It kept his mind from wandering.

His nights were full of words tumbling from his head and on to blank pages. The book he was writing took on a life of its own. On those rare moments when his thoughts were silent, he found himself looking at the beautiful night sky. As hard as he tried, he could not shake this feeling that he was searching for something that he didn’t know he lost. One day, he thought. One day it’s going to happen.

The Art Life
In her spare time, Lanie found herself painting like her life depended on it. She had convinced the gallery to display some of her work. This was the chance she had dreamed of since she was a young girl. Something was gnawing at her. Figuring it was nerves, she decided to go away for a couple of days to clear her head.

She had always enjoyed being outdoors. One of her coworker’s parents had a cabin in the woods. Armed with a trusty map, she headed for the snowcapped mountains on the distant horizon. The closer she got to the forest, the more at ease she became. For the first time in months, she smiled.

By the time she reached her destination, the sun was fading. Tired from her journey, she immediately fell asleep when her head hit the pillow.

The Writer’s Life
Jake woke up feeling rested and happy. He hadn’t felt this way in a long time. With a cup of coffee in his hand, he looked out at the sun coming up over the mountain range. The trees were blowing with the light breeze.

As he looked around, a sense of calm enveloped him. Today felt good. It felt right. For the first time in months, he smiled.

The Drawing  
Lanie had made the climb to the best view in her entire life. In awe of the beauty before her, she took in the mountains and the tree tops. The light was perfect. Sitting on a rock, she pulled her sketchbook from her backpack.

When she looked up, she saw him standing on a ledge slightly below her vantage point. Her breath caught in her throat. She studied him for a moment, with her pencil poised above the paper.
His broad shoulders were straight as he gazed at something in the distance. She could see his dark hair softly blowing in the wind. His profile was strong and she felt her heart skip a beat. She began to draw.

The Ledge
Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Jake was quite proud of pushing himself. He knew this path like the back of his hand from hiking every day. The view was quite spectacular. It was moments like this that made everything worthwhile.

Taking a deep breath, he looked around. At that moment, he saw her, sitting on the rock. The way the light hit her looked like she had a halo around her.

The Moment
Lifting her head, Lanie looked at the figure to find that he was looking right at her. Startled, she didn’t know quite what to do. Her hands suddenly became clammy and she shivered slightly. Why did she think she knew him?

Something about the curves of his face struck her as hauntingly familiar. After a moment, he turned away and headed down the path. Lanie’s heart sank. She looked down at the drawing.

The Show
Lanie decided to sell the drawing of her mystery man. It was her best work and she was very proud of it. The show was very successful and the drawing was purchased by an agent. She gave Lanie her card and they agreed to a meeting later in the week.

For a moment, she was ecstatic but then she felt a twinge at the thought of not keeping her picture.

The Destination
Although she was a successful artist, public appearances were still awkward for Lanie. She always felt as if she were on display. The good part was that this particular function was at the home of her close friend and agent for many years. It was time to start living again.

Lanie had stopped painting for a while to take care of her longtime companion.  After a lengthy illness, he died in her arms. She was still grieving. Her heart was broke and it felt like it would never heal. The feeling like she was missing something never left her. Her soul was lost.

She walked around and looked at the various paintings on the walls pausing to stop at her drawing of the man on the ledge. A smile formed on her lips. After all these years, she could still see him standing there in the sunshine.

Behind her she heard her agent and another voice.  

“Lanie?”

Lanie turned around and found herself face to face with an older version of the man in her drawing. Although his hair was greying, she would have known him anywhere.

The moment Jake looked in Lanie’s eyes, he saw the girl on the rock with her notebook. Even though the light was bright, he carried the image of her in his mind for many years. She was older but still as beautiful as he had imagined her.

“Lanie, this is Jake Matthews.”

“Jake Matthews, the writer?”

Jake smiled.  “Yes.”

All Lanie could do was stare at him. “I have read all of your books.”

“I love your paintings. As a matter of fact, I own a couple.”

“May I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

Lanie turned around and pointed to the picture.

“Is this you?”

Both Jake and Lanie’s agent looked at the drawing. After a brief pause, Jake turned around to face Lanie.

“It’s me.”

Jake extended his hand to her.

“Nice to finally meet you, Lanie.”

Lanie placed her hand in his and as Jake encircled it with his own, she felt at peace. She had finally reached her destination.

  



18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story, Jay!

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  2. I do love a happy ending. And a trip through time, as well.

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    1. I appreciate the visit, Tim. Ironic we should both be writing about roads less traveled. As always, I appreciate your comments.

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  3. A lovely tale of two lost souls finding each other.I enjoyed it!

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    1. Hello, Amanda! Thanks for the visit, Jigs. Yes, I am not a romantic writer but this tale had to be told. I blame Athlete for writing such a beautiful song. Oh & Doctor Who! Thanks again.

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  4. Whoa that was really cool! I enjoyed the way you wrote each little segment. When she asked if that was him - i actually got goosebumps, you have a talent my friend. Now I'm still waiting for the rest of the train story! :)

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    1. I will get back to Jack & Nattie's adventures. This was motivated by a song. Hard & painful to write but sometimes it is good to stray from the wheelhouse. As always, appreciate the encouragement.

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  5. I loved how it was all separated and then came together at the end. Beautiful story Susan. Sometimes these stories of wasted time can make a person sad, but what can you do? Everything has it's own time I guess.

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    1. Yes, everything has its own timeframe. You just have to be patient enough. Thanks for reading & commenting Renza.

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  6. Replies
    1. Thank you, Stacy. I appreciate you dropping by.

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  7. Wow, that's unique, and inspiring! Loved it. I don't know why, but it reminds me of Tarantino writing.

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    1. Thanks, Mike. It was inspired by a song from Athlete called, "Street Map." I felt compelled to write this story. That is a very huge compliment about QT, I appreciate it. Yeah, what I was trying to do was give people the feeling they were watching alternate timelines of people in the same place that were meant to be together but it had to play out over time. So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for commenting. I always appreciate it.

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  8. I truly do love a happy ending. Thanks.

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    1. Sometimes a story calls for it, right? Thanks, Don for taking the time to read & comment.

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