Spoiler alert: this piece contains a bit of spoiler for the movie ‘Sergio’.
The man came into consciousness underneath the rubbles. His face dusty, half of his body buried underneath the concrete.
As he laid dying there with his friend who was also trapped underneath the ruin, he started to get flashbacks. Life events leading to the moment where he now found himself.
“Last 4 months,” he had promised his lover.
4 months and he’s out.
It was supposed to be his last assignment. His last job before he finally ended everything and spent his old years with the love of his life, living near the sea.
And now he found himself half buried. Taking gulps of his last breath…
It was supposed to be his last 4 months before they finally quit the whole thing and moved to the little house by the sea.
She had held on to that hope.
“Last 4 months”, he had promised her.
Somehow, life led them down a different road where she found herself filthy and dusty. Her clothes covered in sand, her skin with scratches. Tears streaking her face.
“I love you. I love you. I love you,” she said repeatedly like a broken cassette record, her voice broke as she shouted those words to her dying lover through a gap in the ruin where she could catch a glimpse of him, heard a soft whisper of his I love yous echoing back to her.
Her lover was buried under the rubble and there was nothing she could do. Nothing.
Nothing saved repeatedly told him she loved her.
It was supposed to be his last 4 months on the job.
That scene from the movie Sergio threw me back to one of the conversations I’ve had with one of my best friends.
“You know, your mom’s sudden death has really made me think a lot about my parents and ultimately helps me decide to move back home and settle there,” my best friend had said.
“They are not young anymore and life is so unpredictable. I want to be near them,” she explained.
I listened and thought to myself.
Would I have stayed back? Lived closer to my mom had I known her days were numbered?
If I had known, I would have.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t kiss and tell.
It knows what it knows and we just have to be content with being let in on the secret when it decides to let us in.
Life is uncertain and I would have never stayed, waiting around for something I didn’t know for sure when it would take place.
I play the best way I could with the cards I’ve been dealt with.
I have roamed the world, lived far and away. I took my chances, opened my door to endless opportunities.
Would I have gone home and spend the last months of my mother’s life with her had I known?
Yes, of course.
But that’s life for you.
You can’t see what’s coming.
“Go. Go and see the world. Spread your wings and fly. I will come visit you when you finally settle down and have kids,” my mother’s voice echoed in my head.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from my mom’s sudden death, it’s that life is short.
Life is too damn short not to go out and explore, to see what the world has to offer, what life has in its open palm.
I could have stayed. But I wouldn’t have met my husband.
I could have stayed. But I wouldn’t have seen the world and realized how lucky I was to be alive, to be born in the family, the place I was born into.
I could have stayed. But I wouldn’t have learned all the valuable life lessons I had accumulated over the years.
We all have choices to make and when I make mine, I accept that with my choice, I let go of every other path I could have taken.
I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.
— Cheryl Strayed
Samantha Lazar’s quote prompt jumped out at me.
Oh, how truth reveals itself upon us.
It was important and beautiful and not ours.
There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.
The path I had not taken.
That path had never been and will never be, mine.
And it’s okay.
Some paths are more difficult to choose than the others.
Make your choice and let the ghost ship sails.
I’m going to end this piece with one of my favourite poems. A poem I have carried with me everywhere I go —
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
It really has made all the difference.
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