In One Moment

In One Moment…

A child lay in bed, dreaming of his future, and how he could possibly change the world. He’s not concerned with what college he’ll go to, or what he’ll study, or even what he wants to do. This boy thinks about superpowers and the like, and how, perhaps, if he could breathe underwater or command the elements, he could make a positive change in the world. He realizes that he doesn’t have to be a superhero to do good, it’d just be a lot easier if he was. Right now, though, it seems like Superman would have to fly through his window to help fix his parents’ constant fighting. He thinks, before he falls asleep, he’d like to be able to help troubled families so children don’t have to suffer like he does.

A soldier in a veterans’ hospital wakes up in a cold sweat after having a dream, or, more accurately, a nightmare, in which he saw his childhood friend get killed on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the nightmare was very real and had in fact been on display for his eyes and mind to comprehend last year. This soldier was a lucky one: shrapnel from an incendiary charge had made the pinky finger of his right hand unusable.

A businessman is washing his face before he, too, goes to bed. He’s decidedly sick and tired of his routine, except he knows that the routine called life is inescapable. He feels mechanized: he wakes up, takes a shower, shaves, puts on a suit, eats breakfast, kisses his wife goodbye, gets in the car, buys a coffee at the Starbucks two blocks from his work, goes into his office, stares at spreadsheets for a day, leaves work at 6, comes home, eats dinner, watches TV, and hops in bed at all too late an hour. Rinse and repeat. He wonders how much his day would change if he didn’t buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or if he doesn’t put on a suit, or if he takes a commuter train to work. He decides he won’t buy Starbucks coffee and will see how his day will change.

A car bomb explodes in Baghdad, killing 20, and wounding at least 50 more. 3 American soldiers are killed in the explosion, and one is left without a leg. He lives to tell the tale, and has a wife and a 2 year old son eagerly waiting for him to stop fighting a “dumb war”, as his wife calls it. All he does when he’s able to return home is smile. The soldier is beyond thankful that’s he’s just alive to spend time. He tells her, “Once you’ve stared death down, you become grateful for every second you have just to be alive. I’m appreciative of every moment I can just see and hear and taste things. It’s a miracle that we can do these basic sensory things we take for granted.”

A woman grabbed the current issue of the New York Times and saw her book — her debut novel, no less — atop the bestseller’s list. She screams in elation to the point where her voice cracks and then realizes a certain detail: that she has to trounce her previous effort in order to grow substantially as a novelist and as a human being. “How can you outdo a number 1 bestseller?” she inquires with an eye at the sky.

It’s 4:30 in the morning and a man realizes that he couldn’t ask for a better situation to live in. He lazily shifts his gaze over to his wife, who’s still fast asleep. He notes how serene and calm and just beautiful she looks while she’s sleeping, and comes to the conclusion that he couldn’t ask for a better wife — he loves her to death and, the catch is, she loves him to the ends of the earth as well. He grins in sleepy satisfaction with everything in life: his house, his job, and, of course, his marriage.

A college kid has retreated under his blankets on his bed, tears flowing out of his eyes and snot dribbling out of his nose. He is ashamed that he said certain things about his significant other and her family (no, he screamed at her in a shrill voice, and would’ve throttled her had they been meeting in person) and is positive beyond a shadow of a doubt that his life with her is 100% over. And he was about to propose to her, too. Weighing the options on my mind, he picks up his phone and calls her. Unexpectedly, she picks up, and he can’t even eek out an apology before he starts bawling again — and she, sensing his sorrow and embarrassment, joins in, and starts crying herself.

What do all their stories have in common?

  1. thebeadden

    I’ll have to come back tonight when I have a bit more time and think about this one.

    Not that I’ll have an answer.

    Is this your original content? If so, wow! I’m impressed.

  2. Totally original content.

    Don’t worry about your answer either: it’s supposed to be a very open-ended question with no real wrong answer.

  3. brian

    Ok writing…

  4. thebeadden

    I’m not even going to take a guess here. I think it’s a bit beyond me.But I keep re-reading it. I wish someone would take a stab here. This is too good of a post to not discuss.

  5. They all happen in Mobile, Alabama.

    In the early hours of May 15, 2005.

    Except for the one in Baghdad. That’s a dream the businessman is having.

  6. They are all “feeling” something…some emotion.

  7. Very true, but not necessarily what I had in mind.

  8. Okay…so some of the six or seven other things I discarded might have been. Damn I was going on what you said to Bead above that there was no right or wrong answer…open ended in fact. So it could take forever!!!

  9. Is this one of those writerly things where writers see things differently? I ask as my son is a writer and he “gets” the way things are written pretty quickly compared to me!! Very topical blog by the way…congratulations on the mix.

  10. Thank you, and yes, it’s supposed to be a “different strokes for different folks” sort of post. The question is meant to provoke thought; there is no one correct answer. However, if you do guess what I got out of it, I’ll give you an e-cookie.

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