This is the second part of something I wrote 2½ years ago. It was something I enjoyed at the time, and always meant to go back to. The first part is here, please read that first if you would like – and if you enjoy, read this one after.
I have taken to sharing something that has caught my eye during this time, somewhat related, perhaps, to what I’ve written. The below video shows the differences between labels and people – and what values we attach to both.
I have had only my notebook and whiskey for company this week, so to see the fruits of a rapidly unravelling mind, perhaps, please enjoy the below:
“My favourite thing about you, was always your ability to surprise me”, he was outwardly unmoved except for a wry smile. A neutral observer would even see a hint of regret, perhaps a degree of disappointment, a man who had played all his cards being dealt out the next round. Yet there were no neutral observers, there were none. Only one pair of eyes across the table; they knew his cards were yet to be revealed.
He had no anger nor could it be described as surprise. It wasn’t excitement; desire; aggression; there was no panic in his mind or his manner. For the smallest degree of an infinite amount of time, he felt nothing. As she held his hands, he was without her; he was on a solo journey on his train of thought.
Every moment in life is a Choose Your Own Adventure. Go left? Go right? Should we speak or be silent? Should we lie? For the first time in his adult life, he didn’t know which page to turn to. What would someone else do? What would anyone do? Could he pick a page at random, and see how it played out? You can’t turn it back once you’ve moved along. Faced with an internal disunion, suddenly the gravity of every decision he’d ever made (and will ever make henceforth) became painfully clear.
The thought of throwing a pause into the story and keeping the moment, averting his next step, was an appealing one. Although, if he had that power, there were plenty of other, more alluring, times he would have done so. Action and inaction are not opposites. They are virtual synonyms; they are both responses to an event and have consequences. The two choices are exactly that. Choices. So what is the opposite? He did not want to choose. He did not want…consequence.
He, simply, did not know what to say. In a continuous spectrum of emotion, words were rather inadequate. One phrase could turn a tide; create joy; forge sorrow. He would have no control over the events once a word tumbled out. If a wrong one slipped into her ear, it would poison her mind. They were starting their trek out of their purgatory, their limbo; but it was a hazard-ridden path for the both of them.
In no time at all, his locomotive brain was running in circles; with each lap the right stop became difficult to spot as it went past.
He no longer knew the rules to the game they were playing.
As she looked at him, she saw every encounter they had ever had; everything that had brought them to this point. For all of its contrariety, here they both were. There was no word one could use other than ‘inevitable’. In a world of infinite possibilities, they had found each other. Their lives had one way or another, become ineffably intertwined. She was momentarily disquieted by this idea of determinism, but instead found comfort in the peace it had brought her.
Her silence was different. He was lost, she was held tightly; enrapt by it. He had spoken last, but still she waited. She was holding a fragment of empathy in her hands. It was fragile; not like a baby, nor like a china doll. This was a time-bomb counting down. Before she could say her piece, she needed to be sure it would fit, or else risk detonation…damnation.
Her mind was still; despite its surrealness, this really was a perfect moment. She added it to the ethereal album she kept of his face. Despite his gaze not meeting hers, she kept this to treasure in the future.
She no longer knew the rules to the game they were playing.
They would both have to make it up as they went along.
Once upon a time in a much happier tale, they had understood one another, but perhaps they could again. He shook his head to himself, before nodding; smiling at his own resolve he found the strength to meet her eye.
“There’s only one thing left to do then.”
“It’s all just….a little too late, don’t you think?”
As his answer, he stood and took a step towards her. He gambled on it being the closest they had been. He outstretched his palm; looked down at her face watching his, and spoke his three most heartfelt words:
“We could run.”