If Your Obituary Was in the Conditional

I read this article in The Hairpin and loved it so much that I wanted to write my own.

C. would have gone on that year-long backpacking trip across Europe the summer after college. She would have stuffed her eyes with wonder. She would have gone to see the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, the ash-coated bodies of Pompeii, gotten on her knees at the foot of Vatican City. While walking down Oxford Street in London, she would duck into a pub to escape a rain storm. There, she would meet a man who would become the father of her children. She would take up painting and grow tomatoes in her backyard, fat with the promise of summer.

B. wouldn’t have listened to his father and would have majored in art instead of engineering. He would have developed a love of teaching and would have filled his classroom with the works of Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso. He would have spent his Sunday mornings in the company of a discreet yet literary dog hiking sun-drenched fields. His students would have adored him.

P. wouldn’t have had the baby. She would celebrate everyday she was free, unbound, irresponsible. She would have pursued a degree in law and worked her ass off for eight years to pass the bar. She would have loved her career passionately and host potlucks for all of her friends. Her house would be bursting with experiences, photographs of her on the beach in Praia do Sancho, a sculpture a lover once gave her, books on Buddhism. She would never have once regretted her decision.

M. would spend more time listening, less time rushing. He wouldn’t have worked 80 hour weeks at the office and missed his daughter’s soccer games. He would have eaten more peaches (he always loved the taste of peaches) and would have garnished the Christmas tree with his wife every year. He would have taken more pictures, bought that puppy and memorized the profile of his kids’ faces as they slept.

J. would have taken more risks. He wouldn’t have moved in with that one woman who lived in the blue house. He would have visited the doctor recommended to him by his parents and would have taken the medication prescribed. Life wouldn’t have been so dark, he would have seen the light hiding in the far corner across the room. He wouldn’t have given up on hope and wouldn’t have bought that gun.

What would yours say?

2 responses to “If Your Obituary Was in the Conditional

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