A Man’s Choice

About two years ago, there was a town called West Creek. In this town, everyone knew everyone. It was like the whole town was in its own pocket. Within that town, there lived a boy and his family. The boy lived with his parents and little sister. Their lives were great and largely routine, with the parents teaching their kids to value the control they had over their lives, no matter how little it may be. The problems didn’t start until the last year of high school for the boy. It was his senior year, and he was starting to wonder what he was going to do with the rest of his life. However, that problem was a year away, so he didn’t give it much thought. It wouldn’t be long before this dismissiveness would get him into a lot of trouble.

During the second to last month of the school year, his parents and teachers started to ask him about what he was going to do after high school. The boy still wasn’t sure what to do, and it was here that the problems began. 

The boy said, “I’m not sure what I want to do yet. I’m having trouble deciding whether to get a job in town, or go to college.” 

His parents laughed at this, not realizing the boy was being serious. After dinner, the boy went up to his room and started to research nearby jobs and colleges.

At school the next day, the boy got a surprise. One of the colleges he looked up had sent him a request; asking that he join their school’s drama class if he applied. The boy had been in the drama club at his school, and had a leading part in most of the plays they put on. Realizing this could be the boy’s chance, his teachers started pushing him to sign an application to go to the school. The boy finished the application, and mailed it when he got home. A week later, he got the letter back and found that he qualified for the school; and he just needed someone to pay the admission fee. 

The boy brought it up with his parents at dinner. He asked, “Mom, Dad, I got a letter back from the college I applied to, and I was wondering if you could help me pay the admission fee?” 

Once again, his parents started to laugh it off. Then the boy asked for an actual answer, and they realized he was being serious.

 His dad asked, “Son, why would you ever want to leave?” 

The boy replied, saying, “I want to see what I could do in the world, and I think that college may be fun.”  

His parents started to get nervous and said, “If you go to college and move out of town, you could lose control of your life. The world is filled with possibilities, and you could end up somewhere a lot different than where you want to be.” 

The boy contemplated this, and realized the potentially dangerous situation this could put him in. If he went to college, he wouldn’t have anyone to rely on for support, and if things fell through, he may not be able to pick himself back up.

After settling the matter at dinner, the parents thought they had nothing to worry about, but this was only the beginning of the issue. Upon getting to school the next day, the boy was called down to the principal’s office. When he got there, the principal assured him that he was not in trouble, and that he had just been called down because of his scholarship application. The boy asked the principal why his parents hadn’t been called in, but the principal waved him off, and said that they would be called in good time. 

Then the principal started to explain herself, “I’ll be brief with the conversation. I, and most of the faculty, actually want you to accept this chance and go to college. While many people in our school have gone to college, none of them have brought the school any fame, but a student with a famous acting career could be our chance to get noticed.”

The boy saw where this was going and said, “Mrs., while I would love to bring our school some fame, I’ve decided not to go.”

The principal asked him why, and they talked about the conversation the boy had with his parents the previous night. 

Once they finished, the principal sighed and said, “I suppose it’s time I admitted that this was why we didn’t bring your parents into this meeting.” 

The boy was confused and the principal started to explain, “Your father was the son of a student who did end up going to college, but during the man’s first semester, a fire broke out in the school, and the man wasn’t one of the lucky survivors. When your father had realized what had happened, he tried to cut out any unnecessary variables in his life, and gain as much control as possible. He moved to the town you’re in right now, and tried to get settled into a ‘pristine routine’ as he called it. In this he succeeded, and managed to raise a family in the uneventful environment. It was only a few days ago that he started looking into what you were doing at school.” 

After finishing the story, the principal urged the boy to leave and pursue his passions without his parents hindering him.

After school, the boy began to head home and think on what the principal had told him about his dad, and the choice he could make. On his way home, his best friend came up to him and asked what was wrong. The boy told him everything, and asked for his opinion on what he should do. 

His friend was surprised that he wanted to leave, and said, “I’m not sure if you should go, I’ve heard that friendships don’t usually last long distances like this. If you leave, we probably won’t be able to stay friends.” 

After seeing the disappointment in his eyes, his friend relented, saying that it was his choice and he would support him in it.

A few minutes later the boy was home, and still indecisive on what to do with his life. He found his little sister playing in the living room, and asked her what she thought of the situation. 

She replied “I think you should go. It would be fun having a famous actor for a brother.” 

He was surprised that she didn’t want him to stay home with her and their parents. 

Once again, she replied, “I would miss you, but I still want you to be happy. If it’s an acting career you want, it’s an acting career you should pursue.” 

He thanked her for the advice, and went upstairs to confront his parents.

He could come in. They allowed him, and he explained what his principal talked to him about at school. His parents weren’t surprised to hear this, and asked him about what he thought of the situation outright, they thought that he would be scared about what happened to his grandfather. After this, he explained that he wasn’t finished, and told them about what his friend and little sister had told him. Now his parents started to get worried, they thought that he would say he wanted to go to the college, and try to leave. 

He announced his decision saying, “while I don’t want to live in a shell my whole life, I also don’t want to go against your wishes, even if I don’t achieve anything special in life.” 

At this, he left the room, and went down to start preparing dinner.

Weeks passed, and the boy’s parents noticed that he didn’t seem to be into anything he was doing anymore. His teachers called them, saying that he wasn’t motivated in his classes anymore. He still got his work done, but he was easily distracted, and didn’t seem to care about what was going on. His sister noticed the change too, she realized that he didn’t seem to do too much anymore, and she asked their parents what was wrong with him. 

They replied “We aren’t sure, we’ve never seen him like this.” 

It wasn’t long until they found out what was going on. One night, he brought in the mail and said he threw something out besides the magazines, but he wouldn’t say what it was. His parents looked into it and found a letter from the college he applied for, saying that if he wanted to attend, he needed to pay the admission fee in the next week. The thing that alerted them, was that the letter itself was crumpled up, like someone had tried to rip it, but hadn’t succeeded. After this they knew what they had to do.

That night after dinner, they called him to their room and explained what they found in the letter, and their concerns for him. 

He said, “I don’t really know what to do anymore. I have nothing to strive, or work for. Anything I do here comes easily, and there just isn’t anything to do other then watch the days go by.”

His parents let out a sigh, then they said, “if college is what you really want, we will pay the admission fee.”

He jumped, and asked, “why are you okay with letting me leave?” 

They said that they couldn’t allow themselves to keep him here, after seeing how he was suffering with not having anything to work for. They always had a feeling that he would want to go to bigger things, they just never planned on confronting him about it. The boy thanked them and got a good night’s rest.

Two weeks later, at the school graduation, he announced that he was going to college, and he would be leaving by the end of the summer. After summer vacation, he had all of his things packed. He said good bye to his friends and his family, and wished them well. After one last hug from his parents, little sister, and his best friend, he got into his car, and went on his way, stopping and looking at the small town one last time before leaving the state.


Five years later, an older couple sits, watching a film that came out a few weeks ago. Next to them, is their teenage daughter, who is taking care of them at the time.

She asks them if they think he will ever visit, and they say they aren’t sure. Suddenly there is a knock on the door. The teenager goes to answer it, and finds her big brother waiting on the porch. They hug, and she lets him inside to say hello to his parents, as they watch the end of the first movie that the man starred in.

By: Philip Cicchinelli

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