No Two Ways

two-ways

I guess the first thing I’ve got to say is – to do the things he did, you really have to believe that you are going to live for ever. Which isn’t exactly true: now is it?

There was no two ways about it, least not at the start.

At the beginning, he was expected by those around him to take the common road, and not the one less travelled. It was for his own good, his comfort, his security, there would be time later on (apparently) to seek out needs and hobbies and loves.

So he took the road expected of him. His loved ones, would tell all their friends and neighbours that their boy was doing so well with his life. Yes, they were the proudest parents in all the kingdom.

And as he travelled down the common road, he would stop from time-to-time to drink a glass of wine or two. For happiness was not part of his travel plans, and he had to find sunshine in other ways.

As he looked over to the road less travelled, he would tell himself, that one day, he would cross over and take that path. He would follow his dreams. But the roads grew further and further apart and soon he lost sight of the other one.

And when he looked in the mirror he saw the ‘someone’ that he expected to see there. The ‘someone’ whom everyone was so proud of and in his emptiness, he drank another wine. He even raised a glass to the stranger in the reflection.

When work became thin on the ground, he came to another crossroads and was almost tempted to take the road less travelled – but the rains came and the snow fell and he felt that perhaps that path was for others, who were stronger and braver.

This common road felt longer and steeper than the last one, but he continued to walk on (what other choice did he have?).

Friends moved away and his parents travelled to that unknown country from where no one returns, but still he walked that road – the common one. Wasn’t he almost there? Wasn’t he nearly at the end when there would be time to rest?

Who had he been walking for? Himself? Had he taken the easy road to keep everyone happy? And now those ‘everyones’ were long, long gone.

It had all been a show for an audience who had left the theatre, and now he never felt more empty.

So one day, one unexpected day, when another crossroad appeared, this time he took the other path; the one less travelled.

He knew he had probably left it later than he should have, but down that road lay sunshine, the real kind, not the stuff you found in a bottle. He loved to walk the path, not caring who knew or who watched. All along the route were toll-booths which took more and more of his money. He came upon a toll-booth one morning when he had no more money, so he gave the man his shoes. ‘Keep them’, he said to the man. ‘I have no need of shoes, a happy man has no use for them.’

He had worried what it would feel like to have no money, no possessions, no home, no work and this troubled the man for a time on the new path.

Then one day he stopped to drink a glass of water, and beside the well was a mirror and in that mirror was the greatest gift a soul could find:

Himself.

 

bobby stevenson 2017

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