You turn to your friends, “What should I do?” With the wisdom of cheap alcohol flowing through their veins, a resounding cry for a confrontation rises up. You keep a cooler head, though.
“We had fun together, I just want to say hi.”
You get up and walk over to your ex’s table, feeling a little nervous. How would your attempt at fence mending be taken? Is it even worth the effort?
“I, uhh… just wanted to say that, I know things were bad at the end, but I guess I just wanted you to know that I hope we can… bury the hatchet or something.
Your ex is visibly stunned, likely expecting a major confrontation or emotional plea.
“Yeah, yeah that’d be cool.”
“Great, well, see ya around.”
You walk back to your table and your friends all lean in, demanding to know what happened. You tell the story and their faces are overcome with a mixture of the disappointment of witnessing a disaster avoided and acknowledgement of the higher road.
“Alright, well that’s something to celebrate,” your friend enthusiastically says, “Shots!”
You feel good about your fence mending, and don’t want to end the party just yet. At the same time, you’ve had a couple of drinks already and don’t want to get carried away.
Last week’s choices were to meet up with your friends, or stay in and work. Like the Choose Your Own Adventure series, once choice can lead you down a very different path than the other. This week, I’ll give both options (because I wrote them, and liked them both) but here on out, I’ll only post the chapter that wins.
You Chose: Stay in and work on your presentation
“Sorry, I have a really big presentation tomorrow. Gotta pass tonight. Next time?” As you hit Send on your phone, you feel your heart drop a little.
Many years later, while reading the holo-news in your driverless car, you come across a startling story about your former friend. “… was hit by an automated garbage truck while leaving Zorbaks Liquor. Authorities have ruled out foul-play, but say alcohol was involved.”
You haven’t seen your friend in years, but you had heard rumors from mutual acquaintances of an alcohol problem. Your friend always did love a party, but near the end of your friendship seemed to no longer care about finding pretenses to drink and instead drank for the sake of drinking.
As you wonder if it would seem odd for you to attend the funeral, or if there would even be one, you think back to the last words you said to this person. “Next time?” rings in your ears the way only the silence between a question and an answer that will never come can.
After achieving massive success with your company and eventually going on to run the entire organization, you had always looked back at that day as a turning point. Before, it was the day you became someone in your field, the day you finally came into your own professionally. Now, you look at it as the day you turned your back on a friend truly in need.
You Chose: Meet Your Friends for a Drink
“Alright just one” you send back to your friend. “I’ve got everything I need ready. Why not have a little fun?” you think to yourself.
You change out of the sweatpants and t-shirt you had been wearing, shower, and put on your favorite shirt. As you check yourself in the mirror, you stop and say, “Remember, you have a big day tomorrow. Be good!” Your friend has a way of convincing you to have more fun than a person typically should in a single sitting, but you’ve got a good feeling, and commit yourself to having a fun evening.
Traffic was light as you head downtown and you make good time. After finding a nearby parking spot, you head inside your favorite bar.
“Over here!” Your friend is turned around and waving to you enthusiastically from a table. Several of your other friends are there and you sit down at one of the last remaining spots.
“What did I miss?” You ask.
“A couple of cheap-ass shots.”
“Is it still going on?”
“Nah, it was just for an hour.”
You turn around to order a drink with the server and notice, in a booth across the bar, your ex. You two had been together for three years, and in one horrible month, it all fell apart. You were left with an apartment you couldn’t afford, a cat you didn’t want, and a broken heart.
Five tough weeks later and you’re finally feeling comfortable in your single life. That is, until chance encounter has it all slamming back again. The fights, the differences, all the anger. But good stuff too. You two were really happy together. Most of the time, anyway.
You want to talk to this person, to say all that was left unsaid.
A few months ago, I decided to write a Choose Your Own Adventure novel for adults, called Booze Your Own Adventure. I’ve mapped out a -lot- of choices, and written several chapters. Why wait for it (if it ever does) get published though? Read the chapter. Vote for the choice you want. Next Sunday, I’ll post the chapter that won!
Now that we have the game, let’s play.
Booze Your Own Adventure
You’re sitting at your kitchen table, neat stacks of paper are lined up, and you’re practicing the presentation you’ll be giving tomorrow morning. This is a big opportunity for you, and you haven’t been taking it lightly. You have all your handouts ready, great slides, and you have your speech down.
You get up to pour yourself another cup of coffee. “I really shouldn’t,” you think to yourself, “I don’t want to be up all night.”
Boo-de-dee! You get a text from one of your best friends. “10 cent drinks @ Pinchester Tavern get your ass down here!!!!!”
You pause and think about your response. On one hand, your presentation is the beginning of a major opportunity at the small company you work for. Your success could bring on multiple clients, and really make the business take off. On the other, you’ve been spending so much time at work lately, your social life has begun to suffer. You miss your friends and really want to blow off some steam.
“Would one drink really be so bad?” you think to yourself.