#7 Nonplussed!

I Thought a Writer Had to Have a Plan!

So I finish chapter one:

Well! Wasn’t this interesting! Her mind went back to the 1970s. Vietnam had male college graduates making hard choices: serve or leave the country. Edward had chosen the former. His first orders for Denver were followed a year later by orders for a remote, isolated tour in Thailand. Before the Denver assignment Renee had a plum job teaching literature at a junior college in their hometown, but in the ‘70s teaching jobs were hard to come by, so in Denver she had settled for a low-paying secretarial position.

What if she could find something more rewarding and closer to Edward’s base in Thailand? It was a question they had explored together in a discussion about possibilities. A day or so after the question was posed she saw the ad in a local newspaper: “Wanted: editor for international spiritual publication. Location: Delhi, India. Send resume to Monty,” etc. Delhi was a long way away, but certainly closer than Denver. And sometimes there were free flights for military spouses. She sent Monty her resume.

Two days later he roared up on his motorcycle and told her she was hired—no questions, no personal interview. She remembered how he had looked much the same back then as he had today except he was in his thirties instead of his seventies: short, stocky, energetic. And the blue eyes! He told her then and there that he was positive she was the right one for the job. But the more Edward thought about it the more nervous he became. Neither of them knew anything about India, really, he argued. Or about Monty. Or about the stability of the job. How much interest might there be in a spiritual publication? And what kind of spirituality was it? A kind to which they could both subscribe? No, it would be safer for Renee to either stay in Denver or go back home to live with her parents for a year.

Monty was furious when they told him their decision. To Edward he fumed, “You have a mind like a steel trap!” For Edward it was definitely over. Renee took some time out to cry in secret over her loss. Back in those days she didn’t know much about spirituality per se, but she thought it would be interesting to learn. Learning about something didn’t mean you had to “subscribe” to it. But her marriage was important, too, and there was a teensy-weensy part of her that was also relieved not to be going to India alone. True, it would have been an adventure, but there was also some danger: what if she were so changed by her experiences that her marriage would no longer be viable when she and Edward got back together? Her parents had had a very chaotic and eventually disastrous marriage, and her number one goal had always been to do everything in her power to make sure hers stayed strong and functional.

Shortly after she turned down the India job, a teaching position became available in Denver, which had a comforting flavor of Fate—the good kind. The following summer she visited Edward and they toured Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore which was an adventure of its own kind. Even so, over the years she often found herself wondering about that road not taken. To quote Robert Frost, how would road have led to road? Where she would be today if she had made a different choice?

Her mind returned to the event of the morning. How had Monty known where to find her? He had not answered her when she had asked him that question. It was so mysterious. Just like that first time when the ad appeared out of nowhere with him in its wake. Perhaps tomorrow some of her questions would have answers.

I have no idea where this story is going!

(TBC)

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