The Dilemma

Grandpa’s eyes twinkled, “So why are you looking so gloomy? At your age I was such a strapping young man who only spread cheer around. I never stayed at home brooding over something.” Jake was eighteen, going on nineteen. He loved his grandpa too much to get riddled or annoyed by his words. They were best friends – friends who celebrated together as well as friends in need who always stuck together. Usually Jake was ebullient and enthusiastic like a ten-year-old, but today somehow he shed his demeanor of a child and was acting like his dad. Brooding and thoughtful. The whole day he kept to himself and was quiet to a fault. Grandpa left him alone and gave him ample time to think for himself. Jake’s family lived in the town of Bloomsburg. Jake’s great grandfather was one of the original residents of Bloomsburg which was established in the late eighteenth century by one of the pioneers. The town fell in the Columbia county of the state of Pennsylvania and was now one of the oldest towns still known as a town whereas other similar towns have graduated and risen to the ranks to become cities. “Grandpa, I am facing a terrible problem. I am in a dilemma.” Finally, he blurted out what was bothering him Grandpa smiled at him indulgently, "If there is a problem, there must be a solution. No one ever made locks without keys!” He backed his supposedly wise saying with a hearty laugh. This was enough to force a smile on Jake’s sullen face. Grandpa followed it up further, “Come on Jake, tell me your problem. Share it. There is nothing you and me together can’t solve.” Jake's hesitation was gone now. He said, "Grandpa, you know I am old enough to attend college now. I don't know if I should go to a far-off university for better education, or stay here.  I want to join the New York University, and if I don’t make it then  any good university on the East Coast."  He stopped for a moment, thinking. Grandpa was looking at him intently. Grandpa spoke up and asked, “So what’s the dilemma in this?” Jake began explaining, “You see Grandpa, many of my friends are joining the nearby Bloomsburg University. It is nearby and they can continue to live here with friends and community. You know how much I love you, the people around here, the places that we go around. The whole place is a home for me.” “Yeah, sure it is, Bloomsburg is home,” Grandpa replied, “Do you know that the ships are safest in the harbor, but that’s not what they were built for.” “But Grandpa, I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to stay away from Mom and Dad too.”  Jake protested. Jake was too shy to tell Grandpa that one of the most compelling reasons was Nancy, with whom he fell in love last Christmas.  Although they had studied in the same school they were not friends earlier and hardly knew each other. “Hmmm, is that all.” Grandpa looked at him, “I will give you the solution, don’t worry.” Grandpa fished in his trouser pocket and took out an old silver coin. "See this Kennedy half-dollar? It was minted in 1976 to mark the bicentennial of our country. I always carry this coin as a good luck charm. It always helps solve my dilemmas.” Grandpa gave an indulgent smile. Jake sounded interested and curious, "How does this coin solve your dilemmas, Grandpa?” “I just flip the coin!” Grandpa’s smile widened. He continues, "What goes on in your mind before you flip the coin? You assign "Head" to the option that you really like and assign "Tail" to the option that you like less. Isn't it?” Jake nodded. “Let me reveal to you the secret now,” Grandpa said with an impish smile, “When you toss the coin in the air, then you would desperately wish to fall it on “Head” or whatever your heart chooses between the two alternatives you have….” Grandpa let the words trail off. “Oh, Grandpa!” Jake screamed in joy and relief, “Let us toss the coin now!” Grandpa looked at his face, shining in delight. He flipped the coin in the air. Before it could fall to the ground, Jake grabbed it in the air. “Grandpa, I have the answer to my dilemma.” He returned the coin to Grandpa, “I have made my decision!”   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!