To The Ends of the Earth

…except the middle east,” he replied to her.

She was dumbfounded.  She was completely stunned by his blunt answer.  She sat silently for a moment trying to take in everything this meant.

“You seem surprised,” he broke the silence.  “When have you ever known me not to give you a straight answer?”

He had a point.  Whenever they had talked, he made it clear his intentions.  She didn’t quite understand the depth of his feelings until that moment, however.

“Are you going to say anything or just stare at me with your jaw on the floor?” he asked, teasingly.

“So let me get this straight,” she started.

“Uh-oh,” he said.

“Shut up and let me finish,” she told him.  “You’re saying, after us primarily talking in text and messages for the past few months, spending just a couple of days in person together, and only last night together…you’d drop everything to be with me in Chicago?”

“Last night was pretty amazing though,” he laughed.

“That isn’t the point,” she snapped.

“Okay, you want me to be serious then?” he asked in the form of a statement.  He continued, “Yes.  Because what we have is undeniable.  And I would have come to Chicago a lot earlier if I could have been sure it just wasn’t some freak thing in an unusual moment that would fade away with time.  The connection was there before we could be together, and then there was last night.  Last night sealed it for me.  Besides, I love deep-dish,” he said.

“Deep-dish?  There is more to moving halfway across the country than pizza,” she said trying to sound angry, but stifling a laugh.

“Deep-dish is pretty amazing though,” he laughed.

“You’re crazy!” she said.

“Crazy for you,” he countered.

She then started belting out the Madonna song Crazy For You, and laughed as she fell back onto the bed beside him.  He was laughing too.  Then silence overtook the room as he stared into her eyes.  He brushed a stray strand of her hair from her face and kissed her.

She pulled away after a few seconds and asked, “Are you really serious?”

“Look, I don’t need you.  I want you.  Going after what I want is what I do.  If that freaks you out, and you want to run away, then I will not chase you.  But if you lead me to you I will follow,” he told her.

They kissed again.  After a few minutes, she again pulled away.

“So what if things don’t work out and then you’re in some city away from your home.  Do you really think you’d be willing to accept that?”

“I can make a life anywhere.  If I go there, and we don’t work, I can either stay if I like it, or go somewhere else.  Maybe I’ll just move to wherever your sister lives,” he said as he made his evil joking grin.

“Asshole!” she exclaimed falsely as she moved in to kiss him again.

This time, there were no interruptions.  They kissed and things progressed as they do when two lovers are kissing in bed.  The morning’s passion was even more intense than the previous night’s.  After both were completely satisfied, and on the verge of exhaustion, she looked over at her clock and realized she was running late.

“I’m going to get in the shower, I can’t be late again,” she told him.

“Yeah, I’m sorry about yesterday,” he said.  “I didn’t know that so much time had passed by while we were talking at that coffee shop.”

“I’d ask you to join me, but I really need to hurry,” she told him.

“I know,” he said as he laughed.  “I’m going to shower back at the hotel.  I’ll just grab my clothes wherever they are and get a cab.”

“I’ll drop you off, it’s on the way,” she offered.

“Okay, as long as it is on the way.  Have you seen my pants?” he called to her.

“Try behind the couch,” she answered back from the shower.

“Got it, thanks!” he shouted.

“What?”

“Found your Spanx!” he shouted.

“What?  I don’t wear Spanx!” she yelled.

“I was messing with you!” he shouted back.

She walked out of the shower and dropped her towel.  He instinctively turned away.

“Nothing you didn’t see last night.  And this morning,” she teased him.

“I know, but you are getting dressed, it is just a respect thing,” he defended.

“Well, I think it would be more respectful for you to look,” she said.

“And more frustrating all day,” he told her.

“Exactly!” she smiled.

She got dressed and they headed back to his hotel.  She kissed him deeply as he opened the door to her car.

“To the ends of the Earth?” she asked him.

“Definitely.  Except the middle east.  No offense to anyone there, just scares me,” he answered with a half-smile.

“You’d go there too for me,” she said.

“Oh, don’t you have an ego?” he joked with her as he climbed out of the car.

She smiled as he shut the door.

He walked in to the hotel and went to his room.  He took a shower and sat down on the hotel bed.  He grabbed his cell phone.  He called his company’s switchboard and asked for the HR manager of the Chicago office.  Once connected, he asked for a meeting, informing her who he was and what he did for the company in Seattle.

The HR manager told him she had an hour open in 30 minutes.

He took the meeting and thanked her.  He ended the call and rushed to get dressed in the best suit he brought.  He was ready in about 15 minutes.  Luckily, his hotel was only a 5 minute walk from the office.

The meeting went great and he could tell that she was really impressed with him.  They began talking about him transferring his current position, but the HR manager informed him the Vice President of Product Development in Chicago was leaving, and that he would be a perfect fit.

He signed the offer letter including a massive pay raise, and the equivalent of the position he coveted in Seattle but knew he likely would not get any time soon.

He walked out of the office building and got a text.

“Call me?” it said.

He smiled at his phone because he couldn’t wait to tell her the good news.

“Hello, I’m so glad you called!” she said.

“What’s going on?” he asked her.

“Did you really mean that thing you said?  About following me to the ends of the Earth?” she asked.

“Yeah, in fact-” he started before she cut him off.

“I’m being transferred to Tel Aviv.” she said.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

18 thoughts on “To The Ends of the Earth”

  1. Irony!

    Although I wonder how a reader from the middle east might take the commentary about their homeland. It’s one of those “No offense” + [here’s something offensive] dialogue moments that your character enacts. Just worth considering.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sure, but the reliance on a stereotype–that the entire area is violent–from a writer we can reasonably assume is not from the area, creates some problematics worth considering.

        Even a character reflects on his or her writer if readers are not provided with a character who serves as a counterexample. I enjoyed the story, but it caused me to (momentarily at least) not relate to or sympathize with the plight of one of the central characters, which can be troublesome if that’s what you want as the writer.

        Writer ethics, man. Always something we all struggle with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay…fear of an area’s near constant war-zone status is not reliance upon a stereotype. It is the equivalent to taking a different road on your way to work after hearing that a random bystander was hit in the crossfire of a gang shootout at the street a block over. (I know a place that actually happened.) The people of that city are not bad. The people of that area are not bad, but a person has reasonable fear to not want to drive by and end up like the bystander in his car on his way to work. As long as it is a gang war zone, it should be avoided. In the middle east, the gangs are governments and non-government factions along with their proxies, (which sadly, my country is one). The vast majority of people there are great people, I’m certain…but that doesn’t mean I want to walk into a war zone. So, if that character reflects on the fact I don’t want to go to a place where people are launching rockets at me, (whatever the justification), then let it reflect.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Okay, but referring to the whole of “the middle east” is what’s problematic here. Not every area is equally dangerous, violent, etc. but it’s an American stereotype to equate all portions of the middle east into one “violent” zone.

        Crime might centralize in a city with a population the size of New York City, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire city is violent or even that the entire country is. Statistics might show, for instance, that you’re more likely to be shot by a handgun incident in America than blown up in a gang war zone in the middle east, but that doesn’t mean I’d feel comfortable, necessarily, as an American reader if a middle eastern writer who’d never been to the country had a character who proclaimed, “I’d never go to America. There are too many handguns there.”

        You see what I’m saying? It’s not as if your character is described as the kind of person doing in-depth research on the area to justify his claims with researched evidence. He makes an offhand comment that, if I were from the area, I might be offended by. I’m not even necessarily arguing that the comment’s not accurate. I’m raising the question of whether writers have the right to make those kinds of unbacked assumptions through the mouths of their characters.

        And I do so as a caring, invested reader who wants your story to succeed, not as a troll whose looking to drum up controversy or as an opponent looking to bring you down. I like your work, Josh Wrenn (if that’s your *real* name 😉 ). I wouldn’t have started the conversation otherwise. Consider it?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I would not be offended (As an American) if someone was watching the news in my hometown and said I do not want to go to there because of the crime there. The whole of my town. Fine. With an inept government response to the violence there, I don’t care if some neighborhoods are better than others, it wouldn’t offend me if someone said, it is too violent. Or all of Chicago. Or Texas is too theocratic. Or Washington is too much of a nanny-state. Now if someone said, everyone from Chicago is scum, or all Texans are right-wing nut-jobs, or all Washintonians are liberal hippie pot-heads, I might get offended. I know you aren’t a troll, yes Josh Wrenn is my real name, and I enjoy your work as well. But people being so easily offended that they see a fear of a region known for its violence and at the very least for the large amounts of fundamentalism (which I avoid regardless of religion or location) as offensive is the reason there is such a backlash to the good intentions of political correctness. Especially in regards to the arts.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I wouldn’t necessarily say being considerate of the feelings of your readers counts as “political correctness.” Sensitivity is an important part of the arts; it constitutes an understanding of how incredibly powerful and impactful words can be.

        And just because *you* wouldn’t be offended by the example I gave doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t be. As a published writer, I care deeply about not appropriating or exploiting other cultures for my own artistic gain. To me, art and ethics aren’t divorced.

        One side of coin says people shouldn’t be so easily offended; the other, people shouldn’t be so easy to dismiss offense. Consider which side of that coin you’re on, whether it constitutes a level of privilege that you can willfully be worry-free in how readers of other countries might approach your work, and what it might be like for you to be associated with the stereotypes of your region. That’s all I ask, sir.

        Because our debate here is getting so far removed from the intentions behind the work–which, as I said, I on the whole enjoyed–I think it’s worth calling it a draw. I understand your position; I only wanted to provide you with something worth considering. I take from your defensive stance that you have no intention of reconsidering your character’s words, and that’s your right as the author.

        Thanks for causing me to think about the topic in more depth.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. And vice versa. One more thing I would like to add though. I hear after every idiotic school shooting our country has from Europeans and Australians (in particular) about never coming here due to our culture of violence or gun laws. I can’t blame them. If I lived in a peaceful society, I probably wouldn’t either. But if they said all Americans are fat, lazy, gun-loving idiots…I could get offended. Places are not people. Have a great day, and thanks for your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Okay, but of course places *are* associated with their people, though. Places aren’t inherently violent (unless you’re talking about the weather or something). It’s the people of an area you’re calling violent when you call an area violent. Your character doesn’t identify warlords as his fear; he identifies the *whole* of the middle east.

        *Your* level of offense (or not) doesn’t matter here. Your readers’ does. I just want to clarify that because you keep falling back on “I wouldn’t feel…” etc. I am your *reader.* And I communicated a feeling that you’re actively choosing to dismiss and defend your work against.

        I guess I’m not sure why, but I’m no longer invested in debating the case. I’m disappointed we couldn’t learn more from each other, though I certainly concede to your point that some stereotypes are more offensive than others, and certainly, the more specific, the more offensive.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. We don’t need to debate it. I do write for myself. If readers like it, cool. If they don’t, that is cool too. But it does upset me when someone defines a reasonable fear of an area as offensive. Especially when acknowledging that MY OWN GOVERNMENT AND THEIR CORPORATE “INTERESTS” are as responsible, if not more so, for the violence and strife of the region than the people likely are.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What an awesome read. I love the part about the deep dish pizza. Isn’t it amazing to think that there are still men out there who believe in love ? The story warmed my heart! Thank you so much for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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