TITLE: If
AUTHOR: Isa
EMAIL: Neve4everr@aol.com
DISTRIBUTION: TKTV, anyone else, sure, just email me with the URL so I can visit it and get all misty
SUMMARY: Inspired while shopping at Target, if you can believe that. Julia thinks about how different her life could've been
SPOILER: Not that it matters NOW but it's basically just mild for everything g
DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters created by Christopher Keyser & Amy Lippman. I simply write all this for fun.....and to amuse my wandering mind G
4/28/00



Two hours.

Two hours until I pack up everything I own and move away with Justin.

Two hours left in my room.

Two hours with Claudia and Owen in the same house. Two hours with the picture of our parents at their wedding on Mom's piano and the first menu Salingers' ever had in the cupboard in our kitchen.

Two lousy hours.

When Claudia and I were packing yesterday, she said something that had never occurred to me before. I've always been one of those kinds of people who just lives their life the way it is and doesn't entertain the possibility of a different path. Sure, I want something else, but I've never played What If.

"Jule?" she asked me, folding a sweater of mine I knew she was planning to confiscate when I wasn't looking. "Did you ever think about what life would be like if you hadn't gone to Stanford?"

"No. Claudia, why would you even--"

"Well, it's just that I was reading through some journals from last year and I realized you met Ned at Stanford, so I was just thinking.....it's just odd."

She was right. It was. If Griffin and I had stayed together and I hadn't gone to school, where would I be now?

I shudder to think........


"Griffin!!" Julia ducked under the makeshift clothesline full of wet sheets and looked all over the clothing/toy/newspaper covered floor for her bag. "Griffin!"

"We're coming." he came out of the kitchen/dining room/laundry room with Nicky in his hands.

"Come on, I'm gonna be late." She kicked a sweater of Griffin's out of her way and saw the handle of her bag peeking out from under a shoe box. She picked it up and tossed one of Nicky's rattles out before flinging it over her shoulder. "I've gotta drop Nicky off at the house before going to school to cash in my classes and still try to make it to work on time, so you'd better be ready."

"I'm ready," Griffin said.

"Yeah, well Nicky isn't." she looked around the floor again and let out a frustrated noise. "Where are his shoes?"

"I got 'em," Griffin ducked under the sheets and came back with two different shoes, both for the baby's left foot. "These'll do."

"Griffin--"

"You said we were in a hurry," he pointed out.

"Yeah, but this is the feet of my child we're talking about. We can spend five extra seconds now rather then two hundred dollars in a year for supports to correct his flat feet."

Griffin dug around in the rubble until he found Owen's ratty old Elmo slippers. He put them on the baby and grabbed his diaper bag. "Let's go." he took their car keys out of the sink. "You can drop me off at the shop on your way."

"Griffin, I don't have--never mind. Let's go." Julia sighed and held her baby while Griffin tied his shoes. She looked around and made a face.

Their tiny, two-room apartment was a pigsty. She hated it, but they could barely afford this place as it was, there was no way to move up.

She worked two jobs - a librarian's assistant at the college during the day and waiting tables at Salingers' at night.

She had a nine-month-old baby and feared she might be pregnant again.

She was pooped.

She never saw Griffin anymore, and the only time she saw Nicky was when she was feeding or changing him.

There has to be a way out of this, she thought as she got into her beat up car with no air conditioning and no radio. "I just don't see one."

"You say something?" Griffin asked.

"Put your seat belt on."


"Julia?"

I shivered when I saw Owen in the doorway. I was so caught up in the memories of my fictional life that I'd zoned out completely.

"You okay?" he asked, not coming in. "You look kinda scary."

"Yeah, I'm fine." I patted my lap. "Come'ere."

He came over and sat down and I sighed. "You're almost getting too big to do this anymore."

"Yeah," he said in the same voice kids always use when you're boring them.

"It's gonna be a few months before I see you again."

"Okay,"

I kissed the top of his head. "I'll miss you, Owe."

"Me too. Can I go play now? Tomorrow is my last day to play with Bobby before I move in with Charlie."

"Sure, go on."

He smiled and ran out, turning back at the door. "I love you."

"I love you, Owen."

He ran off and I just sat there. I'm gonna sit here until Justin arrives with the Uhaul 'cause I wanna remember this part of my life - the part that was real - forever.

The path I chose was bumpy as Hell, but even if I'd wound up alone, even if I was staying in California, even if I was flipping burgers at McDonald's, I think this path was perfect.