LIFE (ABRIDGED) • by Rex Caleval

I was a nerd in high school. The smart kid. It wasn’t like on TV, getting beaten up or stuffed in lockers. But I also wasn’t in any of the cliques, and none of the girls were interested. It was mostly okay, and things were supposed to get better after I graduated.

I went to university. The same picture, on larger canvas. More tactful, less aggressive, but the same. A couple of friends. Still no girl. It was mostly okay, and the education was supposed to be worth it later.

I graduated and bounced around a few jobs. Maybe my degree helped me get them. Hard to say. I had a roommate, then got my own place. Rode the bus, then got a car. Progress, I guess? It was mostly okay, and I was getting valuable experience.

I hit my thirties. Stumbled into a better job. You could call it a career. Paid off my student loans. Bought a house. I also got slower, balder, fatter. It was mostly okay, but I was curious. There’s supposed to be more, right? Like we all read in magazines and see in movies.

They say follow your heart. Believe in yourself. You never know until you try. But they also say let sleeping dogs lie. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Leave well enough alone. Hmm. What to do?

I hit my forties. Is this all there is? I had to know. So, I looked at my life and made changes. I ate right, exercised, got promoted, travelled. Now I’d find out. Is it all out there, and you just don’t know until you try? Or does curiosity kill the cat? What would this change bring?

It brought a little more in the bank, a little less around the waist, a couple more matches on the dating sites. Mainly, though, just more of the same. Not very dramatic. Not like the movies.

The extremes get the press, top of the heap or rock bottom. But most of us aren’t at the extremes. We’re in the middle, and you don’t hear about that. For us, the majority, spectacular isn’t coming, good or bad. We get what we get. We are who we are. Whatever we change doesn’t change much else. That’s life.

It’s mostly okay, I guess.

Rex Caleval lives in Regina, Canada, where he spent twenty years as an air traffic controller. Always an avid reader with story ideas popping into his head, he decided to try writing a few, and has been pleased to find that some people like them. His work has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Horror Tree, and Drunk Monkeys, among others. Links to his stories which have been published online can be found on his Facebook author page.

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