Writing Prompt: Stranger

I spend a lot of time day dreaming. I wonder what would have happened to me and where I’d be if I had stayed in California and not moved to London. Would I have ended up in a different career? Would I see my parents more? I wouldn’t have my best friend. I’d have a different cat. (yes, I’d still have a cat).

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to start over again. I was talking to someone the other day and he reminded me that you only live once. I’ve tried to pack in as much as I can in my time here on earth. I’ve squandered a fair bit.

I don’t believethat average people are free. We are trapped by the choices we make. I know that the truth is that we make our own luck. You make decisions and you live with them. I’ve heard people say that you can’t run away from your problems. Would it’s be something to at least try? I’ve wondered what it would be like to pack a bag, clean out my bank account and light out for the territory. Not go to work, tell no one, leave no note, and close down all of my social media accounts. How liberating would that be? The only thing that stops me is knowing that even when I’m sat here feeling desperate and sorry for myself, my disappearing in a puff of smoke would affect some people and that’s a stretch of selfishness too far even for me.

Titch is asleep at my side. The sun is shining over the garden. Later, I’m going out to see some friends I’ve known and loved for years. Over the years, we’ve grown apart. If I search my heart, I know that there is almost nothing left of the person they met over 14 years ago. I wear a mask when I see them and it only slips when I’m alone or in the company of people who only graze the surface of me.  I wear the mask so that I won’t disappoint them with what I’ve become. I like them to think of me as how I was, bright and naive, believing anything people told me, happy to talk to strangers and unable to grasp irony. I barely remember that girl at all.

I believe each of us a stranger living in us. It’s the person capable of anything, of great and horrible things. I catch glimpse of her in the mirror in the lift at work or as I pass the reflection on a shop window. I turn away and drop my sunglasses over my eyes when that happens and press forward. I feel her breath on my neck when I’m on the treadmill and I run faster. She is the cold hand that reaches for me when my feet drop from the bed to the floor in the morning.

I suppose a fair few people think about these things, but never do anything about it. I’m curious about the ones that do. Which one is the stranger, which one is the real person?

Think about this: few of us are the people we thought we’d be when we were young. What are the pivotal moments in your life when you suddenly became someone different from your earlier dreams?

Write about the other you.

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