Pathways

“You and I don’t meet, in this timeline.” She is unusually cold, but so is the sterile blue maze we are in.

Did I do something wrong?

There are only so many paths to completion, and unless one is a guru or has bird’s eye vision, the end of any one beginning is a mystery. It’s not like you can work backwards—that would be cheating. So it becomes about having the guts to step where answers are not.

She steps away from the path she represents, to my right, and comes halfway to me. “You know what to do.”

Master the skill.

I’ve always wandered without looking, thinking it was better to be on a “predestined” path than to make alterations that might lead to ruin, or worse. But just because you don’t choose something, knowingly, doesn’t mean you haven’t chosen it implicitly—wearing a blindfold just means you don’t see the choices before you.

In front of me is a simple, straight hallway, and once, I would have taken its apparent simplicity without question. After all, everyone wants an easy path without unnecessary trouble, if they can help it. But now I look deeper, and see that ahead lies a fork.

“Do you want this enough?” Me.

Each option is equal, except for the people who stand before them, and to my left I see a friend of mine.

“Time in time through time; meet me in my time.” Her words are jocularly cryptic and playfully earnest.

“Do I have to choose between the two of you?”

She looks over her shoulder at the path behind her: what little of it I can see is complex and meandering, with twists and turns everywhere—and that’s just the beginning.

“You were so sad together.” Her face is sad, too, as she says this. It’s as if she knows how little we had together, and how we clung to everything but the space in between.

I look at her. “He is safety and security, comfort and familiarity; everything I want.”

“Really?” she asks evenly, and a flash of dark, personal feeling crosses her face for a second. “Then go to him. See if it is.”

You can’t have everything.


He is standing next to a playground in the inner city and I stride closer.

Unlike with her, I never know how to begin the interaction. We are both always waiting—waiting for the other to offer something we don’t have. It’s not like we lack it, just that it cannot be summoned on command.

Love isn’t always illuminating, and I guess neither of us was ever sure. “Nice weather,” I finally say, of the autumn leaves blowing in the wind.

“I don’t have what you need.” He looks emotionless and I know my feelings don’t show either.

I am not the one.

“I can’t give you what she can.” Swirling wind and a heart that bleeds love with every beat.

“I am not brave, not like you. You would have to give everything up.” Lose what you have worked for.

“I don’t need much. We both—what we want is simple. If you would just try…”

He frowns. “I cannot be there with you, in those moments; I can’t hold back the dark.”

“I can do it myself,” I say truthfully. This is how it feels, always: together, but alone. Similar, and complimentary…but not enough.

He shakes his head. “You are strong. But what is coming”—the wind picks up, and leaves fly at us—”even you will want a human connection.”

“I wish it could be you; everything would be so much easier.”

“I’m not your equal,” he says firmly. I’m not her.

“Are you asking me to let you go?”

He grabs my hands now, something he never does. “Don’t let me go—keep me in your back pocket. A backup option you can use if it doesn’t work out.”

“I’m selfish,” he goes on. “But even I know better.”

“We could hide,” I say stubbornly. “Sometimes that’s all I want.”

“You don’t,” he chastens softly. “More importantly, the world doesn’t.”

It is a time of truth.

I sigh. “If it hadn’t happened this way…You are a fit for me, in many ways. I feel comfortable with you—is that so wrong?”

“Challenge makes you grow,” he says, with uncharacteristic certainty. “I’m sorry.”

“I’ll come.” I pin a set of flight wings to his chest.

“Whenever you call.”

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