Authors: Christina Casinelli
By Christina Casinelli
The availability of student loans has drastically increased access to higher education for lower and middle class Americans, but with $1.2 Trillion in outstanding debt and a difficult job market, our generation is struggling to make those monthly payments.
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Copyright © 2014 by Gradible Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. Reviews may quote brief passages in reviews.
Disclaimer. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying or recording, or by information storage and retrieval system, or transmitted by email without permission in writing from the publisher. While all attempts have been made to verify the information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretations of the subject matter herein.
The day had finally come. She was trying so hard to hold back her tears as the ever infamous tune came roaring out of the church organ and her father grabbed her trembling hand in his. They assumed their place at the back entrance of the church. She stared ahead at the double doors, which were still slightly swinging after the last of her bridesmaids had started her trek down the aisle. ‘One foot in front of the other,’ she thought. ‘Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.’ She looked at her father and smiled nervously. He looked back at her with sharp eyes and pursed lips, linked her arm in his, and with a collective deep breath they began to walk toward the altar.
She spun the tiny diamond that rested in gold set on her left ring finger and began to wonder how it was she came to this point in her life. This was not part of her plan. This wasn’t where she had pictured herself five years earlier. Memories of girls’ weekends and college reunions, faces of past loves and lovers all floated through her memory as she carefully placed one foot in front of the other, cautious not to be walking too quickly. As her mother had consistently reminded her, a lot of money had been spent on her wedding gown, so she better let everyone that was there get a good look at a dress she was only going to wear once. Buried under layers of taffeta and tulle, she let her mind wander as her father led her forward.
James. He had had a very handsome, chiseled face, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a sparkling white smile. They had been high school sweethearts, but after graduation he enlisted in the Army, and they had agreed that it was best for both of them if they called it quits. They had kept in touch briefly after she had gone away to college, but it had been years since she had heard from him, never mind of him. Knowing James, he was probably married with kids and settled down. That had been his plan anyway. He had always wanted to be a husband and father. She secretly thought it always had something to do with the fact that his own father was never around. She also believed that was one of the things that would make him an amazing parent and partner.
Then there was Nathan. They had met during her second year of college and they were soon inseparable. They had joined student government together. They ate almost all of their meals together. They studied together. They were head-over-heels in love with each other. Well, at least she had been head-over-heels in love with him. However, after a year and a half of (what she perceived to be) bliss, he stopped meeting with her for meals. He started skipping out on their study dates. All this happened so abruptly, and she couldn’t quite understand why. That was until she met Jenifer. Jennifer was a very tall, very beautiful, very popular graduate student. And they had met for the first time when she had finally gathered the courage to show up to Nathan’s apartment unannounced. Needless to say, she saw more of Jennifer than she had ever wanted to see. Nathan had begged her to forgive him, told her if had just been that one time. He called, sent flowers, tried to enlist the help of her friends in his efforts to win her back. Even Jenifer tried to talk to her and apologize. She wasn’t having any of it. She sank into a deep depression. She almost failed out that last semester. She considered dropping out and moving home. But luckily, she had amazing roommates, who, through late night talks and numerous bottles of wine, slowly stitched her back together.
Over the next couple years there had been minor relationships, but they weren’t anything too serious. Nothing that lasted more than a couple of dates. Nothing she was willing to get too invested in. Then she met Kyle. They were introduced at a party through mutual friends after she accepted a new job and returned to her home state. He was a big guy, a Providence police officer, and had played football in high school somewhere out west. He had followed his high school sweetheart to Rhode Island when she had been accepted to RISD, and even though their relationship had fizzled, he had fallen in love with the state and never left.
There was something different about Kyle. He had a smile that just lit up the room and drew her to him. He was exactly what she needed, but had never known she wanted, in a boyfriend. He was thoughtful, but not too mushy. He was sarcastic, but not in a hurtful way. He kept her on her toes, but was never condescending. They got along wonderfully, hardly ever arguing, and after two years they decided to move in together. The year that followed in that tiny, one bedroom apartment was the happiest year of her life. They cooked meals for each other and read together in bed at night. Well, at least the nights that he was home. There was always a case that needed his attention, or a promotion he was chasing. Eventually his job took a toll on their relationship, and they decided to take a break. Or, well, she had decided. After the third week in a row of him pulling extra shifts she had slowly packed up her belongings and moved in with an old friend from high school. He had barely noticed her belongings were gone until she came back for her collection of books and the sofa.
It was during this break that she had met Linus, the man standing up at the altar, waiting ever so patiently for her to reach him and have her father pull back her veil, kiss her cheek, and give her away. Linus was an accountant. He was very tall, very skinny, and very meek looking, yet very strong. Linus was extremely uptight, and obsessed over the smallest details. He wasn’t necessarily a liar per say, but massively over exaggerated the tiniest detail. He wasn’t exactly a prude, but their senses of humor just weren’t in line. They argued constantly, and there were so many things about him that annoyed her beyond belief. Yet he had asked her to marry him, and she had said yes.
They too had been introduced through mutual friends, in a sense. That mutual friend just happened to be a bartender at a local watering hole at which she had become a regular. Linus had been his roommate. They did have the same basic interests. They were both sports fans, even though they never rooted for the same team. They both loved movies, even though she liked to go out to the theater to see new movies, and he was more than content to just sit at home and watch the same ones over and over again, quoting the lines along with the script. A love for music was also something they also had in common, but then again their definitions of music weren’t even close to similar. Yet he had asked her to marry him, and she had said yes.
And now here they were, standing in front of a least 150 of their closest friends and family members, getting ready to make an eternal commitment. Though she wasn’t devoutly religious, she still didn’t believe in divorce. This was it. This was the man she was going to spend the rest of her life with.
He snored. Could she really marry a man that snored? But then again, what’s to say she didn’t snore? Kyle didn’t snore, that was for sure. She stared straight ahead, not at Linus, not at the pastor, not even at the stained glass window behind the altar, but just straight ahead. What was she doing? Why was she doing this? Linus wasn’t the right one for her, she knew that, and half of the people sitting in the pews with tears in their eyes probably knew it too. Her mother definitely knew it, and had been very vocal about this fact throughout the entire wedding planning process. Then what was she doing here? Why wasn’t she running out of the church and jumping on the back of a Fed-Ex truck like Julia Roberts in “Runaway Bride?”
Finally, they had made it to the front of the church. Her father placed her hand in Linus’, pushed back her veil, and kissed her ever so lightly on the cheek before turning and plopping himself down quickly and awkwardly beside her mother in the first pew. Linus smiled at her and she did her best to smile back. They turned toward the pastor, and she took a deep breath. “Dearly beloved,” the pastor began. Linus reached over ever so gently, and lightly placed his hand on the small tummy that she had begun to develop and had been attempting to hide under all of the white taffeta and silk. “We are gathered here today….”
She rolled over to her alarm clock blaring. She had no idea how long it had been going off for, all she knew was that she was running late. She was always late, but today was an important day. Or at least that’s what he had told her. She couldn’t understand why he had to be so vague. After fumbling around on her night stand she finally silenced the screeching alarm. She rolled back over, accidentally slamming her elbow into the shirtless back of Jim. Or was it Mike? Whatever, it was one of her bar regulars and he had been here before. He knew the drill. He’d show himself out. He groaned and flopped over onto his side, facing away from her and toward the window. She had completely forgotten he was there.
Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she grabbed an oversized t-shirt off of the floor and pulled it over her head. She rummaged around in the drawer of the night stand and found a crumpled pack of cigarettes. She popped one in between her lips and dragged a Strike-Anywhere match across the base of the bedside lamp, bringing it to the tip of the Pall Mall dangling between her lips and inhaled deeply.
Stumbling into the kitchen she absentmindedly put on a pot of coffee, leaned against the counter, and stared at it until it slowly began to drip, never lowering the cigarette from her mouth. She really needed to get a new one of those. But then again, she thought that every morning and it had yet to materialize on her counter. She glanced up at the clock hanging on the wall above the door. Fuck! She tossed her cigarette into the sink, jumped into the jeans hanging over the back of the closest kitchen chair, grabbed her moccasins and car keys with sweaty palms and ran out the door.
She jumped into the driver seat of her black Ford Focus, shoving her feet into her shoes as she reached into the center console, searching for the pack of cigarettes and the lighter than lived there. She had about 10 minutes to make it across town, and that was with the token 10-15 minutes he always assumed she’d be late. He wasn’t going to be happy with her. She threw the car in reverse, lit her cigarette, and backed quickly down the driveway and onto the silent fall morning street.
Weaving in and out of traffic she navigated the oh-so-familiar roadways to the same beat up diner she had frequented on so many Sunday mornings.
She knew right where he’d be as soon as she walked in – at the end of the counter, furthest from the door, a day-old
newspaper folded over several times with the crossword puzzle already half-filled in by its previous owner in his hand. Chances are he was already on his third cup of coffee. Given how late she was running it might even have been his fourth. If they had still been allowed to smoke in restaurants, he would’ve had an overflowing ashtray in front of him as well. That was the first thing she had noticed when she had walked into this same diner almost 15 years earlier and found him in the same exact seat.