Alright.

A positive mind can conquer anything. Dwelling on the past can lead to a person’s demise. Looking forward and keeping your head up is the right way to live life. Just ask Robert Walnuts.  Robert has always been a positive person since the age of reason. Even when he was a young boy, he knew that complaining and whining wasn’t the way to go through life. His parents raised him properly.

On his fifth birthday, Robert almost complained for the first time. It was his first birthday party. All his friends and family members were there to help him celebrate his lively five years.  He had told his mother that his favorite flavor of ice cream was vanilla and she should get vanilla cake for his birthday. That was all he wanted. But his mother misheard him. His parents gave him chocolate cake.  Robert looked down at the cake disappointed. Robert hated chocolate. He would rather have not had cake at all than eat chocolate ice cream cake. Everyone watched him as he was about to cut the first piece. All eyes were on him. He knew it was better to just eat the cake and not complain. As he ate the cake, he thought to himself. “Alright. This isn’t too bad.  Some kids don’t even get cake. I can’t complain. Next year I’ll get the cake I want.”

Robert went through most of his teenage years without a single incident of negativity. He coasted through school with straight Cs. He was alright with his grades. With each test, he passed, he let out a sigh of relief. The worse was now behind him. He helped his mother at home and never opened his mouth when he was asked to do chores. Robert never had a reason to complain about anything. Then she happened. Robert had taken a liking to one of the girls in his class. He wanted to take her to prom. He had had a crush on her for quite some time. Robert wasn’t the best looking fellow. He was portly and balding at age seventeen. He would try comb over his orange hair but it still looked pretty bad. He had no problem with it, but the girl did. Her name was Stephanie Stefanski. She was quite pretty. She had long blonde hair and eyes you couldn’t forget.

She thought she deserved better than a portly balding acne ridden boy. Stephanie was not a nice girl. Some would even go so far as to call her a bitch. Those people would be right. Stephanie had heard rumors that Robert was planning on asking her. She didn’t like this one bit. Robert thought he was in her league. He wasn’t. So she decided to play a cruel joke on him to teach him a lesson. When Robert asked her, she told him yes. Upon hearing this, Robert was the most excited he had ever been in his life. He told his friends. He told his parents. He even told his barber. He started exercising more so he wouldn’t be as portly. He bought himself a hat to wear at the prom. He needed to look his best for what could be the best night of his life. Prom night was going to be a night to remember for Robert but not for the reasons he thought it would be.

So then the night came. Stephanie said she would arrive at Robert’s house at 5:00 pm then he could drive both of them. Five became six. Six became seven. Robert grew worried. He called her house but there was no one there. He drove to her house and knocked on the door. There was no one there. Robert decided to go to the prom. Maybe she had gotten a ride with a friend and forgot to tell him. Robert would later wish he never went.

Robert drove to the prom.. He was late to the prom. He said hello to his friends and asked them if they had seen Stephanie. His friends told him that they hadn’t seen Stephanie yet but they would keep an eye out for her. They didn’t need to keep an eye out for long. Stephanie arrived shortly after Robert.

Stephanie arrived in the arms of another man. That man was Carl Delione. Carl was twenty three years old. He was a high school drop out with slicked back black hair and rock-hard abs. There was nothing portly about this man. Robert stared on as the two of them exited Carl’s car. The two embraced right before Robert’s eyes. It was here that Robert’s positivity almost ended. He wanted to walk over and yell at Stephanie for lying to him. He wanted to punch Carl in his pretty face and rip out his hair.

But he didn’t. He just whispered to himself, “Alright.” Then he went home never mentioning what happened to his parents or his friends ever again. It would be some time before Robert would try again at romance. It was about five years. He met Jane outside a grocery store. Robert almost ran Jane over with his car as he left the store. He promised to make it up to her by taking her to lunch.

The two of them hit it off. They both went to same college and they didn’t even know it. Their lunches became a regular thing. The two of them became quite the pair. Robert brought Jane home to his parents, but Jane refused to do the same. She never mentioned her parents. Robert was alright with this. He didn’t pry. He didn’t want to make her unhappy. Then Jane told him one day that she would take him to her house to meet her parents for dinner.

The “dinner” lasted five minutes. Robert got into the house and sat at the dinner table. Jane’s father demanded that Robert leave on the spot. Jane broke up with Robert the next day. She let him down easy. She wasn’t allowed to date men who weren’t Asian. She apologized to Robert. Robert shrugged his shoulders and told her it was alright. Robert had planned to ask Jane to marry him, but it was okay. He could always find another girl.

He didn’t. But his parents did. They found him his future wife. She wasn’t the best looking girl. She wasn’t a good cook. She’s wasn’t very bright. She didn’t even like Robert that much, but she didn’t want to be alone. That was a good enough reason for her and Robert to get married. Robert never felt much of anything for this woman. She was just there. She felt the same about Robert. The two of them were twenty six when they eloped.

Yesterday, Robert was eighty-six years old. It was his birthday. His positive way of living has been the same after all these years. Last week, the doctor told him he didn’t have long to live. Robert had inoperable cancer in his kidney that would kill him. Robert asked his doctor how this happened. Robert had always been a light drinker. His doctor didn’t have an answer for him. Robert just nodded his head as he was given his death sentence. He had lived a long life. Some people don’t even get to live this long. He had lived long enough and he was happy about that.

Robert’s birthday party was just like the ones that had come before it. There was a small gathering of his friends and family. Each year the gathering grew smaller and smaller. Robert had no children as his wife was barren. This year it was just him, his wife, and two of her nephews. All of Robert’s friends and coworkers had already moved on. Robert’s wife had gotten him a cake. They filled it up with eighty-six candles. Robert looked at this cake and realized this could be the last birthday he would ever have. His wife had gotten him chocolate cake. She hated vanilla cake and always got Robert chocolate for his birthday. Robert looked down at this cake. His last birthday cake and it was his least favorite flavor. He felt all the years of turmoil boil in him. He felt the anger from when Stephanie had played with him. He felt the frustration from being laid off his last job due to cutbacks. He felt the anguish from not marrying his dream girl. He felt the sheer rage of wasting his life with a woman who never cared for him. He felt the annoyance he didn’t let himself have at age six.

And then he felt the cold hand of death. It was quick and sudden, but it felt like an eternity. Robert was finally going to let the world know how he really felt. He was going to just lose it. But death took this from him. He gasped for air and collapsed on the ground. His wife shrieked. The world spun and started to fade out. Robert realized that this was it for him. He was never going to live another day. He would never get the vanilla cake that he wanted. He would never speak his mind. One last thought shot out before Robert left this world.

“Alright.”

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