996 words (3 minute read)

Choice 4

Jimmy sat in his apartment, savoring the flavor of his favorite beer. It didn’t matter that it was only half past ten, he made a life changing decision not a week earlier and needed something to calm his nerves.

It was at times like these that Jimmy almost wished he had a roommate or two. Almost. Jimmy enjoyed the peace and quiet but he needed someone to talk to and assure him he made the right choice. It was times like these when he wanted to call Charlie, Lisa, Drake or Ben. But it was a Monday mid morning and his friends were at work so that was out. His neighborhood pub opened at eleven. That’s a perfect idea. Who better to listen and give advice than a bartender?

More than anything in life, Jimmy wanted happiness. The only problem, and it was a big problem, Jimmy didn’t know where to find it. He argued with himself and his friends for months about quitting his job. “I need to find something I love to do then I’ll be happy.” Jimmy must have said this to his friends at least a thousand times. He wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince his friends or himself if that’s what he really needed.

As Jimmy pushed open the old wooden door to Flannagan’s, he was immediately reminded of why he loved this place so much. The dark wood floors probably hadn’t been cleaned in decades. The furniture was older than he was. They offered his favorite beers on tap. And most importantly, Holly.

Jimmy had a limited dating life. He remembers fondly his first girlfriend back in high school. She was the prettiest girl in school and how Jimmy even worked up the courage to ask her out was beyond comprehension. 
Jimmy had never been on a date before. He wasn’t a shy kid in high school, he just wasn’t very confident. He would go to parties and talk to girls but he always thought girls were just being nice to him and never really interested. That certainly didn’t stop Jimmy’s interest in girls.

Jimmy and Leta had been classmates since sixth grade. Leta was a small girl with a slightly darker complexion with shoulder length brown hair. Jimmy had a crush on Leta from the first moment he saw her. Leta thought Jimmy was cute, too, but over the next six years he said maybe a dozen words to her so she didn’t think he was interested.

The first day of senior year, Jimmy and his friends were sitting at lunch in the high school cafeteria that doubled as the gymnasium. Leta smiled at Jimmy from across the room and he immediately turned red. One of Jimmy’s best friends, Tim, started making fun of him which only made his face blush more.

Tim knew of Jimmy’s obsession with Leta. Tim also knew there was no way Jimmy was ever going to do anything about it. Tim was the most popular kid in school. He was the running back for the football team and was homecoming king two years running. He was a lock to win again as a senior the following week.

As popular as Tim was, he didn’t have a date for the Homecoming dance yet. He thought it was better to wait and make the girl ask him. But Tim decided to make an exception this year. Tim looked straight into Jimmy’s eyes: “You don’t have the balls! I’m going to take her to Homecoming because you don’t have the balls!”

Both Tim and Jimmy knew what Tim shouted was true. Tim was certain to shout loud enough so the entire cafeteria would hear. Tim stood up and walked over to Leta with the swagger of a man who knew he could get whatever he wanted.

“Hey Leta, I’m going to do you the honor of letting you come with me to the Homecoming dance next weekend. I’ll pick you up at 6.” Tim turned to walk away, continuing his swagger, Leta told him no. Tim froze, shocked at what he just heard. Tim never heard that word.

“I’m waiting for someone else to ask me.”



“Ha! That boy couldn’t even muster the courage to speak a complete sentence to you. You hear that Jimmy? Leta wants to go to the dance with you. Got balls yet?”

The cafeteria is silent. Jimmy is now experiencing the worst moment of his young life. He wants to disappear. Literally.

Looking back, Jimmy always said this moment was a turning point in his life. Everything was in place, all he had to do was ask a beautiful girl a question, a question he already knew the answer to. Easy enough for those like Tim but not for Jimmy. He stood up, barely, his knees shaking so much he was afraid they might give out at any moment and he would collapse onto the dirty white tile floor.

The fact that the cafeteria was eerily silent did not help. Not only was Jimmy walking over to ask a girl on a date for the first time ever but he was going to do it in front of the entire school!

He’s still not quite sure how it happened. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush he was experiencing like none other before or that in the ten seconds it took him to walk over to Leta it seemed like three years but Jimmy managed to say in a shaky voice with a persistent stutter: “Leta, will you go to Homecoming with me?”

“About time!”

Everyone laughed and that actually put Jimmy at ease. It was at that moment Jimmy first knew, or thought he knew, what love felt like.

Next Chapter: Choice 5