Sunday, September 27, 2009

The list

Melinda stared at the piece of paper in her hand. The paper stared back at her, almost taunting her.

"Things to do." Such a simple title for the list she held. One would think that a title like that wouldn't be so overwhelming. After all, everyone has things to do.

Unfortunately, this was more than just a regular 'to do' list. It wasn't full of things like, 'wash socks,' 'take out garbage,' or 'buy more detergent.' This was the list of things that Melinda planned to do before she turned thirty.

Of the ten items, two had been crossed off.

"Get a tattoo." She looked down at her ankle and smiled. She had done that almost ten years ago, just after she started college. It had been a spur of the moment decision. Melinda and Jackie, her roommate and best friend at the time, had gotten matching butterflies. True, it wasn't particularly original, but it was a tattoo. At the time, it had seemed like the best idea in the world. Today, it was still pretty, so Melinda didn't regret it. In fact, she was rather pleased with the decision - their other choice had been a cartoon character, and Melinda was quite sure that she would regret that one today.

"Write a book." Melinda grinned at that one. She had written a novel about three years ago, with the help of a group she had found online. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, had a group in her area, and she had signed on. For thirty panic- and caffeine-filled days and nights, Melinda had written like a madman. At the end of it all, she had a first draft of a manuscript. She hadn't gone any further with it, but really, she didn't need to. All that Melinda wanted to do was to prove to herself that she could indeed write a book.

The rest of the list, however...

"Go skinny dipping." Melinda wasn't quite sure why this one had never happened. She'd certainly been at her share of pool parties with alcohol present, but the opportunity had never arisen. She had lost her bikini top in the ocean once, but that didn't really count. Definitely one to work on.

"Go horseback riding." A true city girl, Melinda had always wanted to ride a horse. But horses weren't in great supply in the middle of such an urban landscape, and Melinda rarely left the city. Even when she did leave, it was generally to go to another city, so again, she never really had the chance. Melinda looked at it again, then set down the list and reached for the phone book.

With just a few minutes of searching, Melinda had found a ranch just outside of the city limits. She reached for her phone and dialed the number. Moments later, Melinda grinned happily as she penciled in a horseback riding session on her calendar. "One more down," she said to herself.

The next item, though, would be more difficult to tackle. "Get married."

With just six months until her thirtieth birthday, Melinda was quite sure that this goal would not be met. She had no fiance, no boyfriend, and no prospects. She sighed. Her mother would be shaking her head if she were there. After all, Melinda's younger sisters had all been married for at least two years, and none of them were even close to thirty.

Frustrated, Melinda crumpled up the list and tossed it across the room. "Stupid list," she muttered, crawling into bed.