Have I had a good life? As a boy, my parents were always kind towards me, never struck me. One day in second grade, I got into trouble for punching Keith Sutherland right in the face. In my defence, Keith was bullying my friend, Matty, calling him a disgusting hobo for wearing ragged clothing. It wasn’t his fault. His family was going through a difficult time, that’s all. When my parents found out, they didn’t yell at me. In fact, my father said he was proud of me.
In high school, I met her, the woman I would one day marry. Christie Lowe. She was quite the tomboy back then. She was the type that took what she wanted. One time during recess, she went up to me, grabbed my hand, and said, “come with me.” We’ve been together ever since.
Have I had a good life? The year I found out I was going to be a father was the same day I lost my own. It was a difficult time for all of us. My mother became obsessed with ties. Windsor. Boutonniere. Cavendish. She knew how to tie them all and every time she made one for me, she’d sob just a little. On my wedding day, I wore the classic Windsor knot, just like my father used to. Before I knew it, I had a family of my own. My son was starting his first day of primary school and we welcomed my daughter to the world.
A couple years later, a man that I had not seen in a long time was at my front door. His hair had lines of grey but seemed like he was in good health. He was wearing a suit and a smile. He thanked me for standing up for him all those years ago. We had dinner and talked all night, about the old days.
Have I had a good life? The day of my promotion came. It was a double-edged sword, a promotion meant higher pay but longer hours in the process. My wife and I fought a lot about the latter. I noticed our anniversary was coming up, and I wanted to do something special to end the fighting.
I reserved a candle-lit dinner at JJ’s Bar and Grill, where we had our first date. My mother had the kids for the night and I was on my way home from work. I could picture Christie getting ready, trying to decide which outfit to wear. Sitting on the passenger seat was my gift. Plane tickets to our honeymoon, ten years in the making. I was determined to make this right again.
The next thing I knew, the world flipped upside down. Red and blue lights shone from every direction. My vision was blurred, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. There was only one thing I knew I could do. I closed my eyes. Have I had a good life?