I continue down my everyday path. I have not recently experimented with different ways of living, just carrying on everyday as if it was just another day. There are things, hopes and dreams inside but I always fall short of them or pursuing them fully. I live in Los Angeles I want to be a performer. I take classes, I try to meet people, and I’ve even started a theatre company. Next, I started a small business, first making whimsical t-shirts, then jewelry. My studio is now stuffed to the gills with a variety of different crafting wares. I’ve now moved onto writing. I’m an idea man, that’s what I’ve become. Pulling magical ideas out my top hat and just letting them blow in the wind.
An opportunity has now come upon me, I barely recognize it, because I don’t pay close enough attention, or when we’ve met before I just let him pass me by. After 5 years of staving off being laid off, it has now happened. Since August my hours have been reduced and now I haven’t been to work in 2 whole weeks. But this is opportunity, welcoming me with open arms. Come to me, he says, this is what you’ve wanted, as he holds out his hand. I stand and look at him and shrug and follow behind him.
So, with opportunity now in the lead, the journey begins.
Of course I’m hesitant to arrive, I’ve wanted something for so long. What I’m not sure. But jealousy and fear has clouded my judgment before but now I see a path to take.
Shortly into my journey I come upon a tall rickety structure over a never-ending gorge. The water below is churning with delight waiting for its next victim.
I gingerly step onto the bridge, as it creaks beneath my weight. In the distance I spy a dark caricature approach, she has something in her arms, but I cannot tell what it is. She, the other, is dressed in a heather gray hoodie that covers her face; a long black dress covers her legs as well as thick cable woven tights with sandals on her feet. As we reach striking distance, she calls to me. “Excuse me, would you be so kind as to hold the end for a moment?” A little in shock, I reach for the rope without so much as a thought. “Thanks, says the deep hooded voice, “now hold on for the ride”, as she hurtles herself over the edge. Shocked at what has just taken place and how quickly it has happened, there is no time to think. I feel a jolt as the other has reached the end of her rope. What am I doing here? I think to myself, why can’t I just be selfish. Just once! Why does everyone have to like me?
“Don’t let go”, I hear the voice call to me, “I am yours and you are mine, we’re in this together.” “But why, I call out to her, “ I don’t even know you.”
“Of course you know me. We’ve been to the same parties, ran in the same circles, I know who you are”, the voice chides, “but you always ignored me, thinking you were better than me, that you didn’t need me.”
I stand at the edge of the bridge braced against its thin railing straining beneath the force of the rope, trying to recall this stranger’s face. Her weight pulls at me, it makes my arms ache; yet I hold on.
“I don’t think I can take this much longer,” I cry out. “I am yours and you are mine,” the voice responds.
I have been sitting here for what seems like an eternity and no one else has come upon me and my “friend”. My burden and I sit, waiting, not talking. My cell phone rings, it’s opportunity wondering where I am. I try to explain, but opportunity has no patience and hangs up on me.
I yell, I scream and curse at the other, but she just sits, dangling calmly over the rushing waters, never uttering a word.
“What do you want from me?” I yell to her. “I want you to be safe,” she says. “Safe from what?” I ask. “From yourself, of course!” she replies plainly.
I sit and ponder this, still now knowing who she is and wondering if opportunity will wait. After what seems like weeks, the other speaks.
“Hey, I’m kinda getting tired of hanging around. A little help?”
“What? You expect me to pull you up now? Help you? Why don’t you just cut yourself loose or untie your end?” I yell to her, just a bit pissed.
“I can’t do that, she replies, you have to help. As I said before you are mine and I am yours.”
“That’s ridiculous, I think, how can that be? I yell”
“Look, I know you remember me, you’re just ashamed and embarrassed to admit it. I’ve always been looming in the back of your mind, but you never put much thought into me. You used to be so fearless, so brave, so bold. You’re a shadow of what you used to be. I miss you. I’ve enjoyed my time in the sun, but it’s such hard work, I’m so tired, I can’t fight anymore.”
“I vaguely remember, I don’t know exactly when I lost it, I still want things, I really do, I’m just scared. Scared of wanting them, scared of trying to get them, scared of failing, scared of actually getting, then scared of trying to keep them. Ok, are you happy? I’ve said it. I’m scared! Ok?”
“That’s it?” says the other, “that’s all you got?”
“What more do you want from me, I screeched, blood, sweat, I’ve cried and cried, what more is there?
“More? It is ever enough, you should always want more. I want you to dream, I want you to strive, I want you to be what you used to be. A force of nature that was to be feared. A tornado, always moving, always churning, ripping across the country side. Can you do that?”
“I don’t know,” I whispered, “I don’t know”.
Again, the silence was thick. As I sat there, I could hear the hum of the wind through the rickety bridge. The weight of this entire situation tires me; I don’t think I could fight anymore.
“Your call big shot, what’s it gonna be?”
“But what will I do without you? You’ve been my shadow, my companion, my nemesis”, I say.
“You know those moments when you just wanted the world to end. The pain to stop and end it all, you remember? That was me. I’ve been with you all this time, and yet you’ve never followed through. Just let me go, so you can just be. If I could cut myself loose I would, but is up to you,” the other says.
We sit in the stillness of the wind.
“See the bag beside you? Open it. There’s a knife. Just do it, set us free, end it all” she whispers.
There not more than 5 feet away is a gray backpack. I hold it for a second, and then open it slowly. There in the front pocket is a silver knife. I open it. The shiny edge catches the sun. It sparkles in my hand.
“End it all, huh? Could it be so easy?” I think to myself. Another eternity goes by as I make up my mind. I hold out hands and yell to the other. “Fine. You win. Good-bye.”
“Good-bye, cries the other, don’t miss me, just be brave and bold, I love you, I always have.”
The sound of the knife is all I hear. Then a faint giggle in the distance. The world goes black.
I am awoken abruptly, being shaken and splashed with water. “Come to me silly, what have you done? I’ve been waiting for what feels like years in the pub across the way. I wanted to go, but something kept me there. Then when I called and you didn’t answer, I got worried and came to find you again. It’s time. Are you ready?”
I stand up in a panic. What have I done, where is she? Where am I? I look around and notice that I am no longer on the bridge, but on the beach on the other side. I look into the watery graveyard below and wave. Good-bye dear friend, I think to myself. I feel like grieving but can’t. The tears are gone. I brush myself off, turn around and look squarely at opportunity. “Time to go, I say”