As successful as he had become, Jason always wondered what his life would have been like had he made different decisions?
He found out the night he won the Pulitzer for his latest novel. After the ceremony, he returned to his hotel room alone, as usual. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he stared down at the cover of his novel, which he was holding in his lap. It weighed heavily in his hands. It should; the damn thing was 7-hundred-pages long. Nodding to himself, he thought it had been one hell of a long haul from the moment he first got the idea, until the final draft—six years later!
Sighing, he placed the book next to him on the bed then stretched out, his head cradled by the pillow. Closing his eyes, he intended to rest for just a minute or two, but instead, fell into a deep dream state—or was it? It felt so real!
Feeling the heat from her naked body, he found himself staring down at Kathy, the first woman he was involved with after returning home from the Air Force. It was a warm September night; they were lying in each other’s arms on a blanket in the middle of a deserted golf course.
During the six months they had been dating, he never once said he loved her. But this night, when she asked him the big question, he replied with a resounding, “Yes!” He did love her, but in reality, he wasn’t in love with her; and unless you feel as if you want to be with someone 24/7, you’re going to eventually find yourself in trouble, which he did, two months later when she announced she was pregnant.
Putting aside his dreams of becoming a published author, Jason tried to do the responsible thing by getting a well-paying job and becoming a supportive husband, as well as a loving father to his newborn daughter. But domestic bliss didn’t last long, and soon, Jason and Kathy found themselves in constant verbal and emotional combat. After the divorce, he spent the next twenty years trying to keep his head and expenses above water, but eventually succumbed to the mindlessness of depression, as well as drugs and alcohol.
Without waking up, he saw other relationships he had, all of which ended in disaster for himself and the literary career that never blossomed. And now, in real life, although he was hugely successful, he was alone.
Waking up in a sweat, Jason went into the bathroom and used a towel to dry off, then, after changing his shirt, headed down to the hotel bar . . . where he ran into her.
“You look a little ragged,” she said, taking a seat next to him. “You should be celebrating; you won the Pulitzer! By the way, congratulations!”
“Thank you,” he replied, turning to her. His brow furrowed. “For some reason, you look familiar.”
“I should. We were in the same writing group back when you were just starting out. Remember Julie Cross?”
“I do, but . . . I think you were blonde back then.”
“Yeah, but brown and grey are now my natural colors.”
They continued to talk for the next two hours, discovering they had a lot in common, including success in publishing. It turned out she was the same Julie Crosswell who had written all of the psychic cat mysteries, a couple of which he had actually read.
The next morning, they had breakfast together, after which they made plans for several dates. It turned out they lived only ten minutes from each other.
As for any kind of relationship—let’s just say, theirs lasted for the next 30 years. The only thing that changed during that time was how many awards each of them received, none of which turned out to be as prestigious as a Pulitzer, but neither cared; they had each other.