Saturday, October 6, 2012

Like You're Supposed To.

Just so you know, the following is complete fiction. I know. Not normally my thing, I know, but I thought I'd expand my horizons a bit, so to speak. I know there are probably a lot of things wrong with it, but go easy I'm new.


Mark stood in front the mirror, turning from left, to right, to left again. This was the first time he ever worn a tuxedo and he was having a hard time coming to terms with the look.

"Is this how it's supposed to look?" He thought to himself, "It feels tight. Maybe I should have gone with the black instead of the grey."

"Dude! Relax!" Chris noticed Mark's anxious look from across the room. "It looks fine. You actually look like a grown-up for a change."

Mark didn't bother to turn around. Instead, he scowled at Chris' reflection in the mirror.

Chris grinned when he saw his remark got him the reaction he wanted. Mark couldn't help but notice how much more comfortable Chris seemed in his own tux, even though he had never worn one either. But why not? Chris was just the best man after all.

"Shouldn't you be bringing the car around? It's almost time."

"Yeah, yeah. I'm going," Chris turned and reached for the door. He placed his hand on the knob and paused, "You're doing the right thing. You know? Lara's a great girl."

This time Mark did turn around, "What's that about?"

"I know I give you a hard time, but I want you to know I'm happy for you, man."

"You're not going to start crying now, are you? Because so help me if you try to hug me..."

"Ha! You wish!"

"No... I really don't... Thanks."

"Whatever!" Chris opened the door and stepped out into the hallway.

"If you're so sure I'm doing the right thing maybe you should think about tying the knot."

"Yeah right! Not when there are still so many flavors out there to sample. And rest assured, I plan to get ample amounts of sampling in tonight thanks to you. I hear weddings make women horny."

Again, Chris smiled and closed the door.

"You're welcome!" Mark called out to the closed door. Chris didn't respond.

"You're doing the right thing."

Mark thought about what Chris had said. In all the years they had been friends, how many times had Chris told him something like that? More than he could count. Normally, when he said it, it was with a hint of annoyance in his voice. It wasn't like he was some goody-two-shoes. He'd made his share of mistakes, but he always tried to be responsible.

He was the responsible one. That much everyone knew. Getting them into trouble was Chris' role. He was the 'fun' one. It only made sense Mark would be the first one to give up the carefree, bachelor lifestyle and settle down with a wife. It was what everyone expected.

Sure enough, here he was. Getting married today. It was all going as planned. But whose plan was it? His? Lara's?

Lara had already made her intentions clear. Even before he proposed.

"I want to start having children after the first year. We should space them at least two years apart. I read that's a good way to go," she told him one night as they were lying in bed and fantasizing about what the future would be like.

During these talks, they made plans on how they would move from their modest, one-bedroom apartment in the city to a nice, two-storey, three-bedroom house in one of those gated communities in the east. They agreed on ditching the coupe for an SUV and on how many and what type of dogs they'd get when they bought their house. They both loved dogs, but pets weren't allowed in their current apartment.

This all sounded great to Mark at the time and he knew a lot of the decisions they made then was based on suggestions he made. Lara never pushed him into any of those plans. So why did he feel like he was being pushed now?

"Marriage is a big responsibility. But it's the choice every responsible adult should make," his father told him once. His parents were the epitome of 'traditional'. Dad worked, Mom stayed home and raised him. They've been together for more than thirty years and they still seemed so happy with the life they chose.

But did they choose it? Or did they just follow the same path their parents followed? And their grandparents?

Suddenly, Mark didn't feel like the life he was living was actually his own. Sure there were differences. Both he and Lara worked. She wasn't down with the whole barefoot and pregnant at home deal and this suited Mark just fine. Still, despite subtle differences, was he just following in the footsteps of those who went before him? Were these plans, this future, what he wanted, or was he just doing what was expected?

Then there was what Chris said. Sure he loved Lara, he didn't doubt that, but was she 'the one'? There were so many other women out there, how could he know there wasn't someone better out there? No! Now he was just being stupid. He loved Lara. He knew she was the one. But marriage? Now?

What about Europe? Mark suddenly remembered he always said he would travel across Europe when he was younger. Would that fit into this future he was about to step into?

He'd been playing it safe all his life. Never giving into wild impulses. Well, at least nothing major anyway. What if this was it? The end to any chance of adventure in his life. He was now going to be boxed into a pre-planned, two dogs, three kids, house in the suburbs life with no escape. Just like he was supposed to-

Mark was suddenly jolted back to reality by the sound of a car's horn downstairs. Through the window he saw his best friend sitting in the driver's seat of the old blue coupe he planned to sell one day.

"Yeah! Coming!" He waved at Chris from the second floor window of his and Lara's apartment. He checked his tie one last time in the mirror before he joined Chris downstairs to head off to the church.


  1. This was a great read. You did an excellent job creating characters
    I really cared about . I want to read more.

  2. Nice first step. You kept the characters simple, direct and touchable (not huggable of course). Enjoyed it. ~ Jack

  3. I loved the shift in tone as the piece progressed, and the section where we are in his head was just perfect. I'd suggest a little less 'tell'in the first part. You don't have to tell us, for instance, that he's uncomfortable in the tux. You're already showing it perfectly in the dialogue and action.

  4. I agree with Jes.

    There's an easy feel to this that draws me in, thus, very good writing.

  5. What I liked is how I could follow you with the movie in my head. Your story flowed well and I could totally see everything along the way. You can tell a story. All you need now is practice to fine tune minor details of writing... Awesome job Vin!

  6. Great start and a relatable piece. The best stories are ones where people haven't been in that situation but can still see and feel through the story. I've never been a dude or been married but I felt like I was there with them in that apartment. Well done.

  7. I think he should wait and go to Europe :-)

  8. You really captured the thought process of the guy about to take that step. Great read. Flowed well.

  9. Good writing. Unpretentious. It's a good piece.


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