He reached the fork and slowed to a molasses crawl, eyeing the left, then the right, then the rearview mirror to make sure no one was bearing down on him. Then, he looked back at the roads, and sighed.
Left or right.
Paved forever or paved-giving-way-to-gravel-somewhere-further-down-the-lane.
Leaning North or spiraling South.
The decision was there, and it needed to be made.
And trundling towards the decision, he was no nearer to knowing which was the right way to go.
His gut told him right, just like he knew it would. There, far far far down the lane, probably in the middle of a busy work day, would be the man he admired, the man he aspired to be like. And then around the corner from where that busy busy man worked, would be a little store—a grocery store—where the wife of the busy man, along with three of the four tykes, would be snagging the supplies for a week’s worth of delicious meals.
A home lay down the right road, where the sky was clouding over like a cataract over the bright eye of the Sun. A home and familiar faces, and cozy spaces and pristine cases of memories frozen in frames, in albums, in yearbooks. In epitaphs.
And down that road is where he knew She was.
And remembering this, he looked over at the left lane, the long long paved one, and his brain did the thinking, sans gut.
There was a chance—down that long road alone—there was a chance that he could be, or find something divine, something classy or classic or neither or both. There was a chance at establishing a new norm, a new home, a family or a place to roam among the hills or beaches or cities—whatever might be waiting there.
Yes, the possibility was real, and the possibility was wanted, and given the dents in the pickup he sat in and the tears in his clothing and the black eye that was deflating to a nauseous green, he knew that it was something that was needed.
But would it be there?
Therein chimed his gut, and gave him pause.
So he looked at the right road, and he remembered Her.
His hands left the steering wheel, while his eyes studied the face of the rear view mirror, for a sign of the coming dust of another traveler. But there was none. And transmission in drive, and foot off the brake, and hands off the wheel, he let the truck amble forward.
Slower than his hopes and far far faster than his apprehension.
Which would yield the best?
That which was known, or the path laden with questions?
He didn’t know, so he let the truck roll forward, and listened to the crickets hidden in the clumped and rotting roots of the crabgrass sing.
There was nothing to be done.
There was no guarantee, no warranty should he choose wrong, should something go wrong further down the line. There was nothing but a past ready to be made present and the fear that that sort of potential pain could yield. There was nothing but the clouded unknowing of a walkway of hopes that were based on dreams and pinned to air; their guarantees bright and flavourless.
“So which way to go?” he wondered.
And he thought on what the Voices, on what the leaders of thought and trend and hype and influence would say to him.
He smirked, knowing he’d not give any of them the time of day.
And he let the truck roll on, the fork, the decision fast approaching.