an exercise in choice

r | sexual content

Here: an exercise in choice.

Your choice.

One of these stories is true.

She left on a cold, rainy night.

The thunder was so loud that she was convinced the sky would tear apart and fall to the ground.

The water pounded angrily on the taxi cab window.

Her driver was a pleasant woman of Mexican descent named Rita.

She made it to the airport early.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

It was a bright, sunny day when she left.

Her sunglasses rested uncomfortably on the bridge of her nose.

The air conditioning in her car was broken, so she had to roll down the windows.

The traffic was worse than she had anticipated.

She got to the airport only minutes before her flight was to leave.

One of these stories is true.

She hurried through the airport, but it was too late.

The plane had already left.

She got a ticket for the next flight out and sat down in the lobby.

Sipping a Diet Coke, she read Madame Bovary and listened as a woman chastised her husband for not fixing the toilet.

A child running in the lobby tripped over her outstretched feet and cried as he hit the ground.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

She made it to the airport with an hour to spare.

Sitting in an uncomfortable chair, she read Anna Karenina.

Back at her apartment, her phone would have been ringing if she had not had it disconnected.

Her cell phone was turned off and tucked away in her purse, and he did not leave a message.

When they called her flight, she rubbed her eyes and headed for the gate.

One of these stories is true.

She walked slowly, stopping every few feet to look around her.

Her ears stayed alert, listening for the familiar sound of his voice.

He parked his car hastily and jumped out, forgetting to lock it.

When she reached the gate, she turned around, scanning the crowd for several seconds.

Realizing he wasn't coming, she moved forward, trying not to cry.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

She walked across the airport at a brisk pace.

She dug around in her purse for her ticket, her head bent down.

As she approached the clerk, she heard his shout.

When she spun around, she saw him pushing past people to reach her, a look of panic on his face.

She stood, stunned, unable to believe that he had actually come for her.

One of these stories is true.

She was still angry, but when he took her in his arms and begged her not to leave, she knew she couldn't go.

Dropping her light bag to the floor, she sank into his embrace.

He told her he was sorry.

He told her he didn't want her to leave; that he needed her.

It was a small step in the right direction.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

She boarded her plane alone.

From her window seat, she stared out the portal, half-expecting him to come dashing across the runway.

As the plane took off, she kept her gaze focused out the window until she saw the clouds.

He made a scene at the counter when the clerk told him to calm down.

She bit her lip; she was determined not to cry over him.

One of these stories is true.

A rude man nearly knocked her down as she disembarked.

She retrieved her luggage and caught a cab to her friend's house.

He sat in his townhouse, staring at his bugs as he sipped his wine.

Her friend gave her a hug and showed her to her room.

As she drifted into sleep, she attempted to banish thoughts of him from her head.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

She followed him back to his place.

Once there, they talked and argued and yelled and cried.

This wasn't going to be easy, but they had felt what it was like to be alone, and they both wanted to try.

He told her he loved her, and she took him in her arms.

They slept in his bed, limbs entangled, as if each one was trying to ensure that the other would not leave.

One of these stories is true.

They talked for many more hours in the morning.

They kissed for the first time, and she felt her heart come alive.

Two years later, they got married in a small ceremony.

Three years later, their daughter was born.

They live in a comfortable home, with a cluttered garage and a huge kitchen.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

She didn't hear that he died in an accident on the way to a crime scene. His car crushed under a tractor trailer.

She ended up moving to Buffalo, and through a mutual friend, she met a graphic design artist.

They got hitched in a large wedding in a church.

Her husband soon realized that she would never really love him. Her heart was too damaged.

Three years later, he left her for a journalist.

One of these stories is true.

In a small apartment in New York, a woman can't sleep.

She gets out of bed and wanders to the window, pressing her forehead against the cool glass.

She thinks about him: where he is, what he is doing, if he ever married, if he has children, if he is happy without her, if he tried to get to the airport that night.

For the millionth time, she considers looking him up and giving him a call, but decides not to.

Whatever she does, she doesn't cry; she gave him her heart and her life, but she never lets him have her tears.

Or that's a lie. Actually...

A woman wakes up screaming in a house in Las Vegas, her skin covered in a cold sweat.

She dreams of a pitiful, despondent, lonely woman, a dead body with a beating heart, moving silently through a waking nightmare.

He puts his strong arms around her and his warm lips kiss her tears away.

He waits until his wife is asleep before he closes his eyes.

She walks again through a confusing dreamscape, images as crystal clear as memories. The memories are not her own, and she wonders who she stole them from.

One of these stories is true.

It is an exercise in choice.

Your choice.

You can believe what you want.

But only one of these stories is true.