Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My So-Called Life

If I were to create my life from scratch, including every little detail I’ve ever fabricated, starting from now, this would be it.

I will graduate from BYU-Idaho with my Bachelor’s in English: Creative Writing in April 2010. My mother and grandmother, I am told, will come to my graduation for sure. They will stay at the Best Western or the Inn by Applebee’s for a few nights. My mother will jump up and down, grab my face, and kiss my cheek, saying how I am her only child to graduate. And I will introduce them both to some of the greatest people I know. We will eat at Café Rio or Macaroni Grille in Idaho Falls.

I will stay with Brittany for three weeks—one in Utah, and two in Rexburg—while I prepare for the British Literary Tour. I go to France, Ireland, Great Britain, and Wales and fly home, to Austin, from Salt Lake City.

By this time, I will have a job lined up for me to come home to, hopefully using some of what I’ve learned in the past five years. I will work in downtown Austin at one of the high rise buildings. It will be a professional sort of job, and I will dress professionally every day—in Anthropologie. After a month or two, I will buy a car. And I will begrudgingly attend the Austin Institute of Religion.

Within a year or so of working at this place, I will take cake decorating courses, become a Daughter of the American Revolution, have a flat stomach, get my scuba diving license, learn how to rock climb and play the harmonica, join a band, read books on eastern religions, prepare for the GRE, and work towards Italian citizenship.

Then, I will go to Boston University and get my MFA in creative writing. While I’m at BU, I develop a great camaraderie with those in the same program. One of whom is a muscular man with thick, wavy, brownish-blonde hair and brown eyes; he wears plaid button-ups, scarves, braided-leather shoes, and pea coats. We will talk about Thoreau, Faulkner, and Plath, about Sting and the history of the Bee Gee’s, and about pop-culture of the 1980’s. We’ll listen to Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper, and Bob Dylan. We’ll make each other laugh. He won’t act like an emotional girl, or play any games with me, and he’ll actually like me. We like watching artistic and foreign films—edited, of course—and making/eating our own trail mix.

One day, we’ll take a walk in a snow-covered park. I’ll be in heels from Anthropologie, and my hair will be really long by now—I’m like 26 or 27. He’s like 28 or 29 and 6’3”. He’ll carry me over the icy parts and move my hair out of my face with his fingertips.

I decide to take a weekend trip to New York City. By this time we’re both graduated, and Dream Man is a professor at NYU. He buys me an affordable, Tiffany cushion-cut engagement ring and proposes on a bench in Central Park. We get married in the Manhattan temple and have our reception in his parents’ backyard in Rochester.

He’s making millions by now, and I decide to open up a cake café—people eat cake while reading from my favorite novels. We live in a small, downtown apartment, like the one Meg Ryan lives in, in You’ve Got Mail. I have it decorated with Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, and I refinish old furniture from Goodwill and the D.I. I accent with real white Dasies and Spray Roses.

We decide to start our family. I’m like 30 now. But we don’t want to raise our kids in the city, so we move to New Jersey or Connecticut or Upstate New York. We drive eco-friendly cars. We have a small house, like the cute little ones in Rexburg and downtown Salt Lake and downtown Austin, and about 4 acres. We own three horses, two chickens, a potty-trained pot belly pig that we let live indoors, two cows, and two caged doves. We have four kids—three boys and one girl. I have a small square foot garden and plant basil, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, squash, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and lavender. We have an apple tree, a cherry tree, and an orange tree. I cook Vegan food, and bake purely organic cakes.

My husband plays guitar, and I play the harmonica, the violin, the cello, the piano, the six-string, and the harp. We sing songs like the Von Trap family. I play in the community orchestra. I teach my kids six weeks at a time, and the next six weeks they attend private school. We take road trips through the American and church history sites. Once a year, we visit my family in Austin. For major holidays, we do service projects as a family. At Christmas, all gifts are from Santa Claus, wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. Each person maybe gets five gifts. The rest of our time and money goes toward helping needy families. We do Christmas Jars and make gingerbread houses. I read my children Truman Capote’s Christmas Memory. For Easter, I hot glue moss and fake feathered birds to baskets. We decorate a small Easter tree. My boys don’t watch televised sports or obnoxious cartoons. They shovel dirt and play soccer and listen to good music and ask girls on dates when they’re sixteen. They all get jobs. My daughter knows how to sew and bake and cook and quilt and paint and play instruments, and she has long legs and dances.

My children get married to people just as amazing as they are. My husband and I retire and read books. We’re both published writers and edit each others’ work. I paint and get my art into a gallery. My husband and I travel through Europe. We serve missions in Romania, Russia, Italy, Japan, French Canada, Brazil, and San Francisco.

I die in my sleep one day when I’m 88. My husband follows suit a week later.

2 comments:

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

I laughed with delight as I read this. I like the detail and how you've thought this out so thoroughly and how you allow yourself the courage to dream these things.

Also, the Von Trap family singers. Loved that part.

Elyssa Jean said...

I like making plans.

I like reading others' plans, too. But I couldn't help but wonder... where's the part where you get published and touch countless lives with your writing? Because I'm pretty sure that will be in there somewhere.

Thanks for sharing, and DREAM BIG, sugar. Dream big.