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Settler

August 18, 2011

She was a means to his end. She represented everything for which he had been looking, a woman with whom he could finally see spending his lifetime.

Everyone was shocked that it had lasted this long; they didn’t see it. She didn’t look like his other girlfriends, but it wasn’t just that. She was muted, somehow. All of the other girls he brought home, loved and then proceeded to hurt because he wasn’t ready for the commitment, they were all strong. Loud. Challenging. Not her, things had always been easy with her. Like gentle waves, soft breezes, perfect summer days. No questions, no worries. Seducing him into a security he had never known. She was his for the taking.

Maybe it was the fact that he was 32 now, and maybe it was the handful of Christmases spent listening to his mother groan she would never have any grandchildren to spoil. Perhaps it was the comfort of having someone warm, soft – endlessly available – next to him in the bed. Maybe it was the easy way she held a baby, perching it perfectly on her womanly hips, which made him want it so bad. She didn’t know much about children, but already he could see that she was born to be a mother. And he believed it was his path to be a father, not that he was sure that he’d even be any good at it.

He loved her enough, the connection they had was enough and they were happy enough. She wasn’t the kind of woman he’d dreamed of for years, but she was the woman he had, real and in front of him. And she was special, in her own way. He could be special to her too, if he tried. And they would be friends far more than they were lovers, roommates more often than soul mates. But he could live with that. What surprised him about his situation was that he never knew he would be a settler. Not a settler, exploring new lands and setting out to create a new life. But a settler, settling for what he had instead of wondering what else was out there. She was enough.

stairs, flights of stairs

Photo courtesy of Becky Lai

He pushed all these thoughts out of his head as he walked up to her tiny, one-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor. The elevator was down, so he took the stairs.

Up. Up. Up.

Her eyes would be bright when she saw him, she would be surprised to see him, yet she’d be expecting this surprise. It had been two years, after all.

Up. Up. Up.

She wasn’t as career driven as he thought she was when he’d first met her. This surprised him, as he thought she was passionate about her work. He thought she wanted to make a difference. But the more they talked about having a family, he found she wanted to stay at home with the children instead of working.

Up. Up. Up.

He loved the way she laughed and the way she teased him, and challenged him sometimes. She challenged him more in the beginning. Nothing was easy; she was a conquest. Now, she was a given.

Up. Up. Up.

He could almost see the white picket fences, family reunions, breakfasts in bed, changing diapers, coming home to the same smile, the same dimple in her right cheek. She loved him unconditionally, and he hoped she always would.

At her apartment now, standing in the front of the heavy wooden door.

He lifted his hand to knock, and found it trembling.

Today he would ask her to marry him. And his life would begin.

**If you are thinking, “What the heck did I just read? This isn’t Simply Solo!” then please let me explain. I would like to begin sharing more of my creative writing with you all. I started this a little last week with I Want Romance, and I’m hoping to share more creative/fictional/non-autobiographical writing about once a month. I hope you enjoyed this piece and I would love to hear your thoughts. As you can imagine, it’s a little scary to put my writing out there for the world to see!**

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.


56 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2011 8:43 am

    Oh Miss Catherine, I loved this! Exactly puts to words how I feel about my ex getting married. He chose someone easy, just like him, who would budget out the next five years of their life. While I know he’s with the right girl there’s always a part of me that will think she’s boring as hell and safe. Almost that they’re settling for each other. Beautifully done!

    • August 24, 2011 8:25 pm

      Thank you so much, Mandi! It’s funny, after I wrote it, I thought of your situation a little bit. Although I think I wrote the first draft of this back in March and I’m not sure I had discovered your wonderful blog yet 🙂 Appreciate the kind words.

  2. Kristy permalink
    August 18, 2011 9:01 am

    This was awesome. Keep it up!

    • August 18, 2011 10:21 pm

      Kristy,
      I will – appreciate your reading and commenting! I’m looking forward to sharing more!

  3. mom permalink
    August 18, 2011 9:39 am

    Beautiful, what happens next 🙂

    • Zak permalink
      August 18, 2011 9:57 am

      Personally, I liked how Catherine stopped just in time to let me decide which path the story took. Of course, if she writes further, I’m going to enjoy reading that just as much.

      Great story. Thanks for sharing.

      • August 18, 2011 10:20 pm

        Thanks, Zak. I like the concept that you all can create the ending for yourself too 🙂 I appreciate your reading and the kind words.

    • August 18, 2011 10:20 pm

      Thanks, Mom. It’s up to you what happens next 🙂

  4. August 18, 2011 9:42 am

    Beautiful! Great job! Keep sharing!

  5. August 18, 2011 10:10 am

    Ew girl, you just rocked the pants off of some short story! Excellent job. I know it is terrifying to share a different style of work, but I really hope you’ll keep sharing!

    • August 18, 2011 10:19 pm

      Thanks so much, Tori 🙂 It was terrifying — I know it’s not what you all have come to expect from this blog. But I gotta get out of my comfort zone, and this was my first step. I’m really glad you guys liked it – so encouraging!

  6. August 18, 2011 10:19 am

    Beautiful story! I love the ending especially, because it leaves you wondering..makes you think, makes you come up with the rest (even though, I’m sure we’d all love to see what happens next). 🙂
    Thank you for sharing and please keep writing! Keep writing no matter what!!

    • August 18, 2011 10:18 pm

      Thank you VERY much OleVolta! Your comment made my heart hurt – I want to keep writing, no matter what. I am so fortunate that I had the reason to start this blog (even if it was such a bad reason as cancelling a wedding). I’ve rediscovered this passion, and I can’t wait to see where it may lead!

  7. August 18, 2011 10:41 am

    Beautiful!!

  8. August 18, 2011 12:01 pm

    That was amazing…please keep sharing your personal writing…I loved it!!

    • August 18, 2011 10:17 pm

      Thanks, Melissa! I plan to do so about once a month – intimidating but worth it! And, it’ll keep me writing. I appreciate your kind words 🙂

  9. 2newbeginnings permalink
    August 18, 2011 12:34 pm

    Well done! You finally listened and starting sharing some of your writings. On a side note, kinda makes me sad for the girl and wonder how much happiness they would have. I don’t want anyone to just settle, but it happens all the time. Keep the writing coming!

    • August 18, 2011 10:23 pm

      2newbeginnings,
      Yep, I finally listened 🙂 I’m really hoping to share something like this about once a month.
      I felt the same way for the girl when I first started writing it, but then thought about how we are only hearing his side of the story. Maybe she isn’t head over heels for him. Maybe she’s also willing to accept what they have. And at the end of the day, is it OK if two adults both want to settle? Is happy enough — enough? And who knows… will she even say yes? I have so many thoughts about how this could go. I really like leaving it open ended!
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  10. August 18, 2011 1:30 pm

    This is really solid writing. I love the structure. I’m not big on romance, I play the obligatory jaded misanthrope role. However, I like this. Keep writing. And when you run out of things to write, re-read what you have written and write it again, whether it needs it or not. It often leads to something new.

    Best of luck.

    • August 18, 2011 10:13 pm

      Josh,
      Thanks so much for your thoughts and for reading. You are so right – there’s a ton to be gained by rereading what you’ve already written and writing it again. That’s actually one of my favorite parts of the creative process. Thanks again – glad to hear someone who really isn’t big on romance/relationship writing liked this piece 🙂

  11. August 18, 2011 1:51 pm

    Loved it! I want to know what happens when he gets to the door!

    • August 18, 2011 10:10 pm

      Thanks, Livvy! I’ve thought a lot about that – maybe a companion piece about the woman behind the door. He seems so certain he has her, but who knows if that’s actually true? Maybe she’ll say no? That’s my favorite thing about writing about relationships…they can be so complex and there’s almost always more than meets the eye.

  12. August 18, 2011 1:54 pm

    Nice work! Hits a little close to home, actually…

    • August 18, 2011 10:09 pm

      Thanks, TM. Glad it resonated… maybe it helps clarify things?

  13. August 18, 2011 2:14 pm

    Excellent! If this was the first page of a book, I would definitely keep reading!

    • August 18, 2011 10:09 pm

      Thank you undertheabaya 🙂 It’s funny you say that about the first page – I’m trying SO HARD to just write that first page of my book. The first page is the hardest for some reason!!

  14. Natasha permalink
    August 18, 2011 3:03 pm

    Throw a book cover on that and make me some money 🙂 Awesome job!

    • August 18, 2011 10:07 pm

      Ha! I wish 🙂 …. Now let me write another 150 of these, in one cohesive, interesting story, and we can start talking :). Thanks for reading.

  15. August 18, 2011 5:52 pm

    You are a brave lady! Somehow blogging about my love life feels WAY less personal than sharing creative writing on the internet. Good for you! And loved the piece, btw 🙂

    • August 18, 2011 10:06 pm

      Kat,
      Scary as hell. I can write about my personal life till the cows come home – it’s mine, I own it, it feels like just telling a story at a cocktail party about what happened to me recently. Writing this – and pressing publish – was intimidating because I’d hate to be a semi-success as a “blogger” about my personal life…but suck at actually writing. I’m really glad you guys liked it. It’s great encouragement to keep going and trying new things!

  16. August 18, 2011 9:26 pm

    It evokes emotion, and I’m pretty sure that’s the point. I still want to know what happens next, though. 😉 Nice work!

    • August 18, 2011 10:03 pm

      Thanks, Katie 🙂 It was really fun to write – when I started, it felt like a character profile, like maybe this was an outline of a character/storyline for a longer piece. But I sort of like how it leaves you wondering. Appreciate your thoughts!

  17. August 18, 2011 10:58 pm

    I love this idea! Definitely keep sharing. This is beautiful writing!

  18. August 19, 2011 2:06 am

    Bravo! Well done. In fact, you might have inspired me to share a little bit of my fiction from time to time, as well!

    • August 24, 2011 8:21 pm

      Thank you, Mark! The thing is, you ARE sharing your fiction – IN A BOOK! Way better than some 600-word short storyish 🙂
      But do share more of your writing. I love it!

  19. August 19, 2011 3:24 pm

    Loved this! I’m in the midst of a real discussion about settling, actually, so the timing is great. Unfortunately, it’s especially difficult when someone is caught between two people and insists it wouldn’t be settling regardless of who he chose.

    Le sigh…

    • August 24, 2011 8:18 pm

      Here’s my thing…settling isn’t the worst thing in the world. I mean, say you are of a certain age, haven’t met anymore, and simply want love and to start a family. Maybe you feel like you can do better, but this works. Is that so terrible? It seems worse if only one person is settling. But what if they both are? Then aren’t they adults making a decision? They are buying the generic brand of soap instead of the namebrand – but they know it? The main thing is, you have to be honest with yourself.

      Just something I’ve been thinking about 🙂

  20. Mysterious Neighbor Upstairs permalink
    August 19, 2011 7:47 pm

    WOW honey, this was amazing, Simply Amazing! Love you!

  21. August 19, 2011 10:05 pm

    i liked it very much too Catherine, i liked the up up and i liked the description of the woman.

  22. August 20, 2011 12:25 pm

    you had me hooked- great writing!

  23. August 21, 2011 11:33 pm

    Wonderful story, luvd it. 🙂

  24. Karen permalink
    August 22, 2011 11:16 am

    Catherine, your non-fiction autobiography wiritng is great and I am very loyal reader, but this sort-of-fiction piece feels kind of shallow and phony and for the firsrt time on your blog, I was actually bored. Maybe you should stick with the old you:)

    • August 24, 2011 7:54 pm

      Thanks Karen. Any feedback is welcome – I’ll have to have a thick skin if I want this writing thing to go anywhere! I appreciate your reading and hope that you can just enjoy the autobiographical pieces in between my experiments with creative writing.

  25. August 23, 2011 4:37 pm

    Love it and love that you’re taking the “risk” and putting creative writing up here now too. I was hesistant the first time I put a creative piece up too but was blow away by how receptive people were.

    It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do again.

    • August 24, 2011 7:52 pm

      Thanks, Matthew! It was scary and fun. Now I have to do it once a month – that might be tough! 🙂 You should definitely do it again. You are a great writer!

      • August 25, 2011 8:40 am

        Thanks. I do need to get more up…as I’ve been lacking in my posting lately. Lots going on though, so I should have more things (time) soon.

  26. August 26, 2011 5:05 pm

    Great story! Extremely well written! Keep it up 🙂

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