I sat on the back step wearing my slippers, the black ones I pulled from a wire basket at Tesco. The sun setting low into a greying sky gave off the light you see just before an evening rain. I know I shouldn’t have been smoking, but it was one of those days. I changed into my pajamas when I got home and poured the wine. The glass was untouched beside me on the step as I tried to decide what to do next. I pulled my coat tighter around me and weighed up the options.
It’s funny, I’ve always wanted to have the world open up to me and present me with the gift of infinite possibilities. When I got my wish, I felt paralyzed by the fear of what I would choose. In the one hand, I had my life, selfish, immature, open and free from all restraint. You only life once, people always say. You can’t live your life always worrying about what people will say or think or do – it’s all yours, right? On the other hand, I knew that whatever I chose, it would affect others, so I had to be careful. It’s so tempting to live only for yourself, to be selfish with the 70-if-you’re-lucky years you have on this earth.
There are some nights, like that one, when I sit and wonder at how easy it is to do everything normal, to get up, go to work, come home, have dinner in front of the TV and go to bed. Yes, there are some who add a little variety by partying or going to the gym, but to me, these people are already dead. I feel like I’m being smothered by a pillow stuffed with all the things I haven’t done and right now, I’m spitting out the feathers.
I write, I learn, and try to share with the people around me so that I can be reminded that I’ve lived. If you draw a timeline on the wall, eventually, someone will have to add a little dot next to your name. I want an arrow, a gold star for living. It’s a contradiction, I know, to not care what people think, yet want someone to remember me for what I did and what, if anything I’ve manged to leave behind. God Bless human nature.
In the end, I stood from the step having decided very little, but at least one important revelation came to me, whatever comes, I will not regret.