Five years ago, on a weird and oddly tiring afternoon, Katie Chavez made a wish. It wasn’t really the first of its kind – the dream had been there all the years she could dream about her future. The wish though – the one that seemed to change everything, was weirdly specific. Instead of the generalized dream, this one named the man and their future life of beauty and chaos, with a specificity that surprised her.
In the years before that day, with a dream so long deferred, she had grown weary of hoping it was still possible. She held it in her hands more than once, only to have it slip away. You get to a point where you know you need to keep the hope alive, but you don’t know if you can do it anymore. That was Katie. Though outwardly she spoke of hope, inwardly, she was losing it. Even still, she made the wish that afternoon. She pulled herself up by her bootstraps and dared to hope again.
Society doesn’t do us any favors. It told her that her dream of being a wife and mom had a time limit. It told her it needed to look a certain way to truly be the dream. Five years later, Katie has never been so thankful she chose to ignore what society thinks.
Five years ago, she wished for this life of hers. In an odd moment, in the middle of a normal day – a mere minute of her life changed everything. She wished for the life she has now – with her husband Connor and their children. The two were nowhere near that phase of a relationship, which made it even weirder. But somehow it felt right. Their lives were never the same from that day forward.
After more than one flight delay, Katie pulls into the driveway, later than she’d intended. She quickly grabs her purse and carry-on bag – having stuffed her weekend’s worth of clothes into it. The girl’s trip this weekend was as weird as she expected. It’s always going to be this way, she knows. When you don’t have to fight as long and hard for the life you’ve always wanted, you tend to not appreciate the little things in quite the same way as those who have. She loves her friends, but they spent the whole time complaining about their husbands and kids. Katie spent the whole weekend wishing she was home with hers. “I hope the kids are still up,” she says, as she opens the door and drops her bag and purse inside the entry way of the home she shares with Connor, their kids, and more pets than she cares to admit.
The second the door clicks shut, chaos ensues. Connor sees her from the kitchen island where he stands holding the baby – their toddler son wrapped around his leg. Their eldest, a four-year-old girl, who thinks she runs the world, is on top of the island dancing to music playing on the TV. In typical Connor style, he announces her presence in the most obnoxious way possible – causing one of their three kids and their niece who is now living with them, to scream in excitement and run toward her. “Mommmmyyyyy!!!” Their three dogs join the kids. Amelia, their eldest, steps onto the barstool at the island and jumps to the floor. Note to self, she thinks – find a way to talk to Connor about the kid dancing on the island. She hates sounding like she’s correcting his parenting. He’s the best dad. He just does things differently than she would sometimes. Thankfully so. She shakes her head laughing at the mess of crazies racing toward her.
In an instant, she is covered in kids and dogs. The kids are all talking at the same time and everyone but the baby is repeating the name she used to think she’d never hear – mommy. Mommy, guess what? Mommy did daddy tell you where we went? Mommy, did you bring us anything?
There’s this funny bit from a cartoon about a weird family. The mom is laying on the bed. The kid is saying mom’s name and then switches to various forms of mom. It’s nearly 30 seconds of him calling out to his mom. She lays on the bed, motionless – likely exhausted and overstimulated. He keeps going and then she finally yells, “WHAT?” He replies, “Hi,” and then laughs and runs away. Katie thinks about that scene when the days are long and the kids are sick or her husband is traveling for work again. When she’s tempted to roll her eyes, respond in frustration, or question her sanity for having little ones at her age – she reminds herself of the wish she made five years ago, alongside of the man she loved. She reminds herself that the two of them are their kid’s whole entire world. Every moment of chaos and craziness is a gift and they’re raising these wild little people to be strong, capable adults who will go on to do great things and maybe raise their own crazies.
The fatigue from her drive, after a long weekend away from her family, melts away in that instant. “One at a time,” she says patiently. Connor reaches her with their youngest, kissing her and handing her their mama’s boy, who just survived his first weekend without his mama. Oliver’s arms hug her neck tightly and she kisses his cheek. “One at a time,” she says again, when all the kids start talking at the same time as if she hadn’t said it the first time.
“They missed you,” Connor says. “I missed you.” He slips his arm around her waist. “Why don’t we let mom get in the house and sit down?” he says. The kids race back to the other room, the music still playing on the television. Connor pulls her close, Oliver between them. He kisses her again. He still turns her inside out and while they have their moments as everyone does, they are and always will be, designed for each other.
“I missed you, too,” she says. They pull apart though she wants to stand there in his arms a moment longer. “Can you grab my bag? I have stuff for the kids.” Katie walks into the family room to the kids turning somersaults and dancing – an hour past their bedtime. She watches the shenanigans of their overly stimulated, long past tired children and is already dreading getting them up in the morning.
Connor sets the bag on their coffee table and stands next to her, his hand resting on the small of her back. “It’s just one night,” he says, reading her mind as always. He has always known exactly what was on her mind. He smiles that smile that has been her obsession for the last five years. She smiles back because she cannot help herself when it comes to her husband.
“You’re right – as per the usual.” Katie sits down on the floor, sets Oliver in her lap, and reaches for the bag. Connor sits on the couch and turns down the music. Tears rise in Katie’s eyes. They’ll pay for this tomorrow. But for now, this man, the one she knows she was made for, and their family – are everything she ever wanted.
And this man and their family are precisely what she wished for.
Short Fiction by Elaina M. Avalos
5 thoughts on “The Wish”
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Love it. Keep writing short stories
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I’m going to do an alternate reality version later. Lol.