The 5-Minute Stories that Last Forever
Choose a Story and Click to Read.
Choose a Story and Click to Read.
Photos by Philip Dattilo at http://philipdattilo.com/
A Saints and Scholars Premiere:
CARRIE ME BACK
by Michael Cornell
"Carrie will see you in just a minute. She apologizes for the delay. A teleconference call has run long."
"I understand," he told the attractive assistant in a state of secret shock.
It was. It was Carrie Summer of sophomore and junior year. Carrie of Summers Two and Three at State.
He had seen the ad in Marketeers with Ms. Summer as the contact but had not even considered the possibility. It had been that long ago.
But not that long ago at all. Those study sessions in the university library. Those walks by the Cedar River. Those late coffees at The Brewhouse.
Before Chelsea. Chelsea of Senior Year. Stunning Chelsea. Back home at State with little Kris and bigger Chris.
To distract, he reviewed the ad: Extraordinary opportunity. Associate Director to the Marketing Chief of the @Home account. Must be equal to
opportunity of providing creative solutions to the unique brand. Will travel with Director to national franchises to custom tailor their branches to own regional flavor and marketing solutions. It traveled on from there.
Coincidence? He considered. Not really. Carrie had moved on to the state's largest city. He had stayed on in the college town. Both had prospered.
Now he was exploring new avenues, weighing the wisdom of relocating from a comfortable existence with his beautiful wife and pair of beautiful children-- the oldest about to enter school-- in a beautiful home on the fashionable outskirts of State. And a comfortable job with room for advancement.
What price ambition?
In his mind he was already inside her office. They were both marveling how each still looked. They were both sharing recollections and projections of what
had transpired since. He was showing her the family pictures. He was looking for corresponding pictures in her office. A husband's. A child's.
He leaned back in the waiting room, picked up his brushed-leather portfolio, placed it on the vacant chair next to his, studied its grain and wondered.
Did she know it was he calling?
Of course she did.
Maybe, he thought, there was no picture of a husband or a kid.
Maybe when he started dating Chelsea, maybe that had fired her to move on to become the success she had become.
He laughed inside.
You arrogant bastard, he told himself.
Carrie would have made it big without your dubious assistance.
He studied the reception room, its capacious, understated grandeur and decor. Designed to intimidate the company's callers.
He was not intimidated.
He was challenged but not intimidated.
How could he be with Chelsea, Christopher and little Kristin back there?
How could he not be, especially with the open position's travel component?
He picked up his portfolio, placed it on his lap, looked up at the clock with its four small silver triangles at 12, 3, 6, 9.
In a moment, Carrie's assistant would be returning.
He rose with something straddling uncertainty and decision.
He thought of what his father would say, parodying Robert Burns:
Sometimes the best-laid plans are the ones you never made.
Before the door to Carrie's office opened, he made his way across the thick-pile pale grey carpet and out of the reception area.
In the lobby, he called Chelsea to ask if she could have the children ready for some chicken out. He would be home in less than an hour.
And, oh yes, I left so early I forgot to tell you I love you.
I won't forget again.
I promise you .