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The Colors of Life…

Excerpt from the novel Uncommon Bond by C. L. Gillmore

As I sat down at Paul’s desk in our home office, I saw the reflection of my face in the blank computer screen. Who was that older woman staring back at me? The hair was still blonde, the eyes still green but the face just didn’t seem to match. I certainly didn’t feel 60. I didn’t think I acted 60 and until today, I didn’t think I looked 60! But in just a couple months, 60 would indeed happen to me, Rose Allison Flynn.

I typed in my password and checked emails and Facebook messages and was proud of myself for getting so electronically savvy in such a short time. I had used computers at school for several years but only to perform school-related tasks. Some historians have said that the advent of home computer and Internet use is as big a change as was the automobile. There is no doubt that my life has been changed by computer use, but then again, over nearly 60 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes.

The biggest change for me was living in an empty nest. I found myself at a fork in the road and at a place where I could decide on a new direction. That I was even aware of this choice is amazing in and of itself. I think many women just continue down the path of least resistance, the path that is familiar. It doesn’t seem to matter that the path has become so familiar that all the surroundings have lost their color, their smell, their flavor, their appeal. Society tells us that this is how it should be as one settles into the final phase of life, especially for women. Just when we need a boost, a change, some color, we are told that this is normal and this is how things should look.

Except for the garden on my patio, I had been walking down this colorless path for a very long time. I wondered how many thousands and thousands of women were walking the same path. Women just like me who never made their own plans and became part of someone else’s dreams. They accept this without realizing they have a choice for something different, or maybe they don’t want the choice, choosing instead the familiar.

But I know there is a choice and the choice is a personal decision. Change is difficult. Scary. And the older one gets, the harder it is to even see a need for change, let alone make that change. It may be impossible for some to choose another path simply because of the way they’re made inside. One has to have felt that difference a long time ago, somewhere along the line, even though it might have been buried in the day-to-day existence. One has to have been that person long ago who asked, “Why don’t I fit into this family? Why can’t I think like they do? Why am I able to go places in my mind when others can’t?”

These are the people who give up good jobs to pursue what they “like” to do instead. These are the people who leave everything familiar behind and move across the country, the world, to places unknown in search of a new direction, a new path, to see color once again. These are the people who look at their marriages of 30 or 40 years and decide for happiness instead of routine familiarity. I think these kinds of people are like the explorers and the pioneers. They are wired differently. I knew early on I was wired differently.

Sometimes fate or providence or divine intervention or just plain luck happens and events are set in motion that defy time and explanation. I got an opportunity to step out, and reach out to something and someone who became the trigger for my remembrance of something more, something that was left behind a long time ago.

Without a real plan for what could happen, I made an effort and reached out for a chance meeting with someone who gave me a glimpse of the color again, if only for an instant. But in that instant, I saw it. I remembered it. And I wanted it. Someone stepped back through time and into my life again…and everything routine, mundane and colorless changed.

This someone knew about my plans, my hopes, my dreams. This someone knew the person I had been when I started out. This someone knew me and because of that, I could clearly see a different path that I wanted to walk down. A path that was filled with the colors of life once again. He had been my friend, my soul friend, a kindred spirit. He had been my lover.

Forty years ago.

His name is Jake Richardson.

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