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Updated: Oct 15, 2021

I'm not sure who was the first to say life is a roller coaster, but they were accurate. All of the tragedies and triumphs are hills and dips that we have minimal authority over, but it keeps things entertaining without a doubt. The voyage begins the day we are born and doesn't slow down until the end, and all we can hope for is a long ride.

After a quick stop at Hilltop Florist, I headed over to my girl's house with some fresh-cut flowers. It wasn't a special occasion, but I wanted to surprise her before going to school. Since I was sixteen, we'd dated off and on, and things had gotten serious about two months prior. It was a big kick in the face when I saw her ex-boyfriend's car in her driveway. If I was going to be honest with myself, I should have seen it coming.

I've always thought closure was a bunch of bs. Once it's over, it's over, and the best we can do is move on. Finally, I got it; I understood why it's crucial. One last look in her eyes should set me free, and if I didn't do it, then I'd surely regret it later. After sitting in the road for a solid twenty minutes, I stepped from my bright red Sonoma. My stomach was in knots as I passed his car in the driveway and approached the front porch. She opened the door, and her new boyfriend was standing beside her. After telling her goodbye, I walked away, doing everything I could to fight off any emotion.

Closure can go to hell. Seeing her one last time was a mistake, and I felt nothing but pain after the final encounter. My class didn't seem important anymore, so I drove right past campus and headed to Dunbar Cave. After parking, I looked down at the bouquet in my front seat and stared at it for a while. Throwing them in the lake sounded like a good idea, so that was my new plan. After grabbing the doomed daisies, I hopped from the truck and headed toward the water.

Before even strolling twenty yards, I noticed an attractive blonde woman headed my way. She smiled and said, "those are beautiful." Thinking quickly, I handed the arrangement over and replied with, "It's good you like them because they're for you." She laughed, knowing I was full of crap but decided to walk with me anyway.

"I'm Tami."

"Nice to meet you, Tami; I'm Chris."

"You need closure."

"Wait, what?"

"I could tell you were on a mission with those daises; you should finish."

"You're observant."

"Damn right I am, now take them and do what you came here to do; you have to."

She pushed the plants forcibly into my chest and gave me a look of reassurance. We stood at the mouth of the cave for a couple of hours, discussing loves, hates, hopes, and fears. I took my time tossing the flowers over the fence into the water. Each time a petal landed, it caused tiny ripples, and I couldn't help but think of the circumstances that brought me to the park that day to meet Tami. My friend explained how she was in town for about five more days visiting family and how she'd love a little company because she was bored out of her mind. I told her that I was serving at the Catfish House that evening and would like to see her.

Tami did stop by to see me that evening, had diner, and met me after work. We got along just fine and saw each other every day before she left. We said our goodbyes, and I was thankful she was around to make my circumstances tolerable. It felt good to have a temporary connection with no strings. We weren't even planning a long-distance thing because neither of us wanted to spend the time and energy after a five-day whirlwind romance.

Several months passed, and I'd all but forgotten about Tami. My buddy Natalie stopped by to pick me up for an evening of stealing pumpkins and drinking afterward. As soon as she walked in the door my phone rang. Tami was on the other end with some shocking information. The conversation lasted about three minutes before I hung up and took a seat. Concerned, Nat asked me what was wrong. "She's pregnant," spewed from my mouth with no explanation as I fell over on the couch. After a couple of minutes, I let her know that my life was over. Luckily Nat talked some sense into me and convinced me to go forward with our evening plans.

(Listen to me tell the story here)

On the way to meet our buddy Matt she told me to relax, and things would work out because they always do. After our talk, I felt better and was thankful to have a small group of close friends who I knew cared about me. She laughed and told me I'd better start saving my money because I was going to need it. I chuckled along with her but took every word seriously.

Soon after my phone call with Tami, I received an order to get a paternity test. I'd already come to terms with my ordeal and had plans to drive out west to visit the blonde hair blue eyed baby girl. Tami and I had spoken several times on the phone about my expectations, and we had everything worked out. Marriage would have been insane, but I was determined to be part of my daughter's life.

After saving money for months, my trip was about a week away. It felt good having all of that cash in my savings account. Of course, it wouldn't be around for long, and I'd have to get used to part of my weekly check going to Tami. It never bothered me because it was the right thing to do, and I was getting excited to meet my child. Life was changing for me in a big way.

Like any other day, I walked out to grab the mail around two in the afternoon. Most of the pile was junk except for the official-looking letter addressed to me. I wasn't sure how to feel after reading the note. Finding out I was not a father was as much of a shock as discovering I would have a baby. Tami let every call go to her answering machine and never got in touch with me again. I never knew I could be relieved and disappointed at the same time. After that strange twist on my roller coaster, I decided Florida would be a terrific use of my week-long vacation. I needed a break from those ripples, and some time in the sun did me good.

**I hope those of you who read my stories get something out of them. My goal is to remind everyone none of us are really that different. It was important to share this particular story to illustrate how one thing can lead to another. Those tiny ripples are no joke! Also, when I write about old relationships or ancient conflicts, none of that stuff even phases me anymore. It's part of my story, and if I don't tell it, no one will. Of course, there are two sides to every tale, so no one is the bad guy here. Again, thank you for reading a little about my life. As always, you can hear me tell every story I publish in my own words at the

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