RECKONING REALITY TIMES THREE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Reckoning

In a quantum physics sci-fi universe, a three-way choice creates three parallel realities or worlds. One is the current universe where the “me” I am today lives. This is my known reality.

At one point in my life — when I was 18 — a three-way choice presented itself. I picked this path, but as a result, two parallel universes exist based on the choices I didn’t make.

I wonder what became of the other two-of-myself?

Our road is full of side trips and detours. We reckon the odds and make choices. It isn’t the more or less traveled path. All paths have many footprints. We go where we think we need to go or for sentimental or mental reasons. More often, we reckon the best path is the one which will take us most effectively where we want to go, at least as far as we have figured out where we want to go.

Most of us reckon we can change our mind later. Which is true. We can change our mind … but because we are in a different place and time when we decide to change courses, it’s yet another course leaving another two worlds in parallel to the one we know.

At 16, I started college and was required to choose a major. Clueless, I chose music because I liked playing the piano. I thought maybe I should pick something practical too. In an elegant compromise, I became a music major with a comparative religion minor.

Religion, the practical career alternative.

Except, I was really majoring in hanging out at the college radio station. Music was okay, but I wasn’t sufficiently dedicated — or talented — to make it my career. Religion was the intellectually “fun” choice. I knew I was going to be a writer. The radio station gave me an opportunity to write and eventually led to real writing work.

Not to mention I met two out of three husbands to be at that radio station.

Dodging and weaving through the first two years of school, there came an unavoidable day of reckoning. Even a dedicated procrastinator ultimately gets gored by the horns of a dilemma. The summer between my junior and senior year, I wound up at a three-way crossroads.

My old boyfriend — with whom I couldn’t have a civil conversation, but with whom I had exceptional sex — sent me a train ticket to join him at his summer stock theater on Cape May. A sexy summer by the sea was an attractive offer. Not a career maker, but it had perks. Meanwhile, back at the radio station, the guy I’d been dating asked me to marry him.

I liked him. Smart. Educated. Employed. Good-looking in a waspy way. I could do worse.

And then there was Boston. Almost on a whim, I’d applied to Boston University’s Communications program. In 1965, Boston was as cool a town as a kid could want, short of San Francisco. Joan Baez sang at Harvard Square and the comedy clubs featured men who would become the future kings of late night television.

Against all odds, Boston accepted me into the program. Nothing could have surprised me more.

I had a lot of deciding to do.

I married Jeff who was (coincidentally) Garry’s best friend. Four years later, there was my son, Owen Garry, because Garry is not only Owen’s step-father but also his godfather.

Don’t over-think it.

The old boyfriend refused to stay gone. Like the proverbial bad penny, he would keep turning up for 15 more years. He would follow me to Israel when I dumped everything and emigrated there in 1978. Another story for another day.

Marrying Jeff gave me a son, a career, a chance to finish my B.A. and find my feet in a reasonably secure environment. I made friends, got a career going and figured out what I wanted to do.

But there are two other universes from that first triadic choice. In one world, I went to Boston and probably stayed there. Oddly enough, that’s where I wound up eventually anyway. Worlds within worlds.

In the other, I went to Cape May — and I have no idea where that would have gone.

If I should, by chance, encounter either of these other versions of me, I’d love to know what happened.

I bet all of us married Garry. Destiny is unavoidable.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

23 thoughts on “RECKONING REALITY TIMES THREE – Marilyn Armstrong”

      1. Yes it is. I don’t think I could made many different choices because of family. Perhaps I would have become more of a vagabond without the family.

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  1. Interesting. I’m seeing a lot of writing on that theme of “where did I go” in the posts today. You should check out Rory’s post on Where in the World Am I #2. I think you’d be a shoe in to name the ‘place’ he is in that post…. just my opinion. Thanks for an intriguing glimpse into “Marilyn” in OUR version of the Universe.

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    1. I haven’t had time to read much today. I’ve been talking to one customer service person after another. I turned OFF our cable package, untangled my YouTube streaming package … and they are supposed to come tomorrow to pick up the equipment, but they’ll have to wait until they come and plow the driveway because there will be about 10 inches of snow on it in the morning. Going to be interesting tomorrow. Very cold and very white.

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  2. Like “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Borges. MY alternate universe is I kept working for Head Ski and lived the life of an employed ski bum. I wrote for Outside Magazine had no crappy marriages, never got beaten up by an SO(B) and had joint surgery. Can’t escape destiny.

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    1. I think I was going to wind up here, no matter what path I took, but who knows? It certainly was entertaining in a terrifying way, traveling this path. I want one where my body doesn’t fall apart on me!

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  3. That’s a beautiful Sunset!

    “Religion, the practical career alternative.” now there’s a phrase that did not exist in my Universe before this very moment. 🙂

    You can never go back… but Universes can intersect more than once! 😉

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