This is an old writing I did in college about my past and a choice I had to make. A glimpse of the story that has molded me to become who I am today.

All of our stories are purposeful and a Divine aspect of molding our future self’s.

We learn and grow from it all.

A New Life Begins

I awake and start my day; readying myself for school. 

Me and my father are on the move and alone, I must now become more responsible and useful.

I fix myself a bowl of cereal before school. 

The milk seems a bit questionable… not quite as fluid in the pour as I remember. There now appears to be a bit of a “Ker-splat” added in… Meh, milk is milk I suppose and I do love my cereal!

We are currently living in a motel on 28th street, down by the Chicago Dr. overpass in the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was alright.

The motel is just as dingy as it needs to be. What with it being commonly mistaken for a brothel of sorts. With its pay-per-hour option, viable under the visage that it’s for the people who just need a quick “rest” and not in need of the whole night. 

The room was furnished with a single, rickety bed propped in front of a 12” tubular television. The only bit of escapism for most wide-eyed lads.

I was the more adventurous type, braving the busy streets and exploring my surroundings. There was a tantalizing praying mantis across the parking lot, over by a dilapidated, worn-down fence that I was able to hang-out with. I suppose this was enough to explore for a curious 9-year-old for the time being…

me my child choice

A Defining Choice

My dad had just been divorced, or in the midst of it, with my step-mother and we had to stay here for now. 

It was here that my dad asked a question whose answer would define my future.

He exits into the main living area from the bathroom, after getting ready to take me to school and carry on to work. 

He looks much as I do now. With strawberry-blonde hair atop the Rothley family “extended” forehead along with piercing blue/green eyes. Though he was more of a lean, tall figure than I. 

Suddenly, he throws a curveball. 

“Son”, he says,” I have a job opportunity in the Dominican Republic. It’s another country much different from here.” 

I wasn’t too sure where he was going with this. 

“I don’t know if it will be the right place to raise you, so I’ll give you the choice. You can come with me, or I can give you to your mother.” 

Now there’s a choice all 9 year old’s are equipped to answer logically.  To go with your father that you’ve known most of your 9 years of existence to an unknown world, or to a mother I had never known existed. Either answer propels me into the unknown.

I surmise most would have gone with the most familiar and stayed with their father. Ney! Not this strapping young lad! Either out of desire to meet my mother, or some other reason unknown, I choose to join a different family. 

I opted to live with a complete stranger instead.

New Day

The school day passes just as begrudgingly as any other. Too young to understand the weight of the decision before me, I am unaffected.

It’s not until the ride back from school that it sinks in a bit. Taking an unfamiliar left unto Byron Center, down a ways towards a part of town I was not yet privy too. Then a right down into an emerald-green, wooded road. The likes of which I haven’t seen since my distant memory of living with a man named Jeff on some farmlands, set amidst fertile country lands (whose location is lost to me).

Now, I am actually becoming ecstatic by the surroundings I’ll have, we drive on to a set of apartments.

Walking up to the unfamiliar buildings, angst sets in. What would these people look like? Are they nice? Would they be accepting of me? Am I even Wanted?

As I enter the apartment I am greeted by a new, older, brother.

It is a bit of a role reversal, going from oldest to youngest, or the only too youngest as was the case at this time. I now have a big brother, but at least it’s one all the same. 

Along with that is another step-figure. A new person to take on the role of father, who looks much different from the biological one. He stood with a dark, mullet esq perm and large framed glasses all atop the only similarity, a lean frame.

I am an unexpected post wedding gift.

Just a couple of weeks prior was this new couple’s wedding. Shortly after their honeymoon, a 9-year-old child arrives at their door.

The stork has come early for the newly weds.

A New Home

The apartment was a two bedroom, so I had to share the room with my new-found brethren. Along with the new family came a new school, again. West elementary this time.

The situation had a benign effect it seems. I didn’t stay at West Elementary School but for only half a year.

Shortly thereafter we moved to a quaint house in a quiet neighborhood, a stone’s throw from my next elementary school, Parkview (my fourth and final elementary school). 

During my time here, I would get gifts for my birthday and the holidays from my father, as well as a letter with the gift. This lasted for a short while. Apparently my father didn’t stay down there for too long, a few years. He soon moved back to Grand Rapids.

Information which so happened to be withheld from me.

I didn’t see him again until the end of my high school career, just before I left for California for my Marine Corp training.

What could have Been

What could have been from the alternate choice just in this one decision? 

I would have grown up in some Spanish-speaking, less opportunistic society. I would be bi-lingual and cultured by the school system of a foreign country, a Caribbean island. 

Then again, it was a Caribbean Island… Spending my young, curious years next to the translucent turquoise water, with the warm, caressing sand leading into the thick underbrush of jungle vegetation, teaming with wildlife I had not yet seen nor heard of yet. A magical place ripe for a little adventurous chap such as myself to explore. This re-course doesn’t sound all too bad either.

This truly was a fork in the road of life for me. A choice between two distinct upbringings, each with its own means to an end and each a complete 180 degree difference from the other. 

I now have a good relationship with both parents and their corresponding families. Had I chosen to stay with my father, I may have never known the other side of my family or have any relationship with them, nor would I even have the Chwalek namesake. 

To think, what would have become of me had the other course been taken? Sometimes though, you just have to let life set a path for you. Because, unbeknownst to you at the time, it might very well be the best course of action.

Evolving Reflections on the Past

Years Later…

(In the French narrator voice from “SpongeBob”)

So, after watching a movie by the name of “Mr. Nobody”, a very interesting question was raised… Am I just an imaginary aspect of one path taken amongst the forest of infinity? A singular outcome due to circumstances and choices made back when? 

Are there other ”me´s” who traversed different paths and made different choices running around somewhere? 

Those doppelgangers!

I have had dreams, that I surmise as being constructs of alternate realities, showing results and outcomes from different decisions made. The possible outcomes from trotting down a much different path. 

Do our decisions in the present branch off into alternate dimensions of reality that we can then tap into and receive glimpses through dreams? 

These dreams showing us courses or paths that could of been or could still be? 

Does that mean choices not made branch off onto their own path, as if I had made that decision? 

Is our so called “real life” nothing but a dreamscape showing us outcomes and effects of potential choices?

A true Infinite potential, based off individual choice and experienced through conscious observance for the sake of better choices made on into infinity?

Like a majestic dream of the collective, enacted for the betterment of the whole, through understanding mistakes made… and making a better evolutionary course through understanding gained?

I wonder at the potential outcomes that could come from thoughts like this… except for the predominant thoughts of dogmatism and bias-ism that permeates our culture, destroying any chance of rising above the many preconceptions of life that hold us back from our very purpose…that purpose being evolutionary growth, through experience of life itself.

That’s it. 

I hope this perhaps spurred some inner reflection within yourself.

Life is such a mysterious happening. Be grateful for where it has taken you, no matter how you choose to perceive it.

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