Picture six girls in a basement, hours after the excitement of the ball drop has died down. Six girls who have known each other for a good portion of their lives; six girls who had been together through birthday parties and first days of school. Six girls looking 2011 in the face and realizing that nothing will ever be the same again.
Predicting our futures was an old game that we had always played. Sometimes we would decide it arbitrarily; other times we would make it more a game of chance or fate with a complicated set of lists and counting. But this night was different. No longer children, we were forced to look at our future in a less fantastical way. Marrying Zac Efron is now pretty much out of the question, and so is the idea of all of us living in the same town and raising families together. When graduation comes, we will all go our separate ways and follow different paths.
We spoke intensely, realistically, and also still sometimes jokingly about each girl in the circle and where we thought they’d end up. Jay would follow her heart back to the ocean, though not the same one she had spent the first few years of her life near in Capetown. Perhaps Vancouver, with a comfy office job, a doting husband (Jay is hoping for a male model or a hockey player), and a few kids in a house on the beach. Nee would be the one that always belonged to Alberta, though she would probably relocate to a piece of land closer to the mountains. We could all see her with a stable, steady husband, a cartload of kids, and all the animals she could get her hands on. Nee would find some way to get a job with horses for sure, and her husband would have to have enough income to pay for all of her horses and her generously sized ranch. La would get married young, after a few wild child years. Em would be richer and more successful than any of us, due to the fierce determination that we all know lies underneath her shy exterior. Roo would have a simple, predictable, happy life in which she was deeply loved.
And me? Well, everyone had to stop for a minute to think about it.
“A journalist!” said La finally.
“In New York!”
“The New York Times!” I smiled at their optimism.
“Kids?” asked Jane.
“Not a chance,” proclaimed La.
“I don’t even think she’d get married,” added Em.
“Maybe she’d adopt?”
“A six year old, maybe. She couldn’t handle a baby.”
Thanks for the vote of confidence there, my friends. Though looking at my babysitting track record, they do have a point. How was I supposed to know that ten month old babies can’t crawl down stairs by themselves?
“The kid would have to be perfect.”
“An Asian ballet prodigy!”
“They’d have a giant New York apartment all to themsleves.”
“Her daughter would help her pick up guys.”
“But she’d never marry any of them.”
“Kay is gonna be a total player!”
That was all they had to say on the matter. I suppose that my friends thought they had simply said what I had expected them to say. But honestly, I was surprised.
Am I really that kind of person? Or is that just how I appear? And, most importantly, is that the kind of life I want?
The thing is, I can see it. A fast paced, ever-changing, strings-free life doing something I love. Honestly, marriage to me seems like a lot of work and not a lot of fun. And don’t even get me started on childbirth!
But seriously, I my future is pretty much a complete mystery at this point. Maybe one day I will want to settle down and a have a billion kids. Or maybe I’ll want to move to Australia and become a surfer bum. Or maybe I’ll build a secluded hut in the Swiss Alps and become a hermit.
For other people, their future seems so clearcut. Jar is going to take over his very lucrative family business. Zee is going to be a vet. La will most certainly get married and settle down.
And I will flail away at life, screwing up with guys and being so much of a perfectionist that I scare people away. I know that teenagers always say this, but I really do feel completely different than everyone else. Why don’t I want the same things? Why can’t I picture my future?
What I wouldn’t give for a decent fortune teller right now. Or a TARDIS, or a flux capacitor. Or just some good old insight perhaps?