bends on the road

27 mars 2010

Bends on the road used to be romantic. They were ideas of fiction you read about in books, exciting aventures that would happen to you when you’d be older.


Today, you are older. There is an epipen in your fridge, your husband is hitting the bars after working long hours, your wife’s been cheating on you for 13 years, your mortgage is due and you can’t pay. Today, bends on the roads are harsh, they hit you plain and hard, bends in the roads are painful. There used to be joy, there will still be joy one day, and yes, sometimes great happiness waited for you behind the corner, the birth of your child, a lover’s revelation, the smile of a friend, the recovery of a close one. You know there are as many good things as there are bad things waiting for you as you turn on the road, but today, you have grown weary of life. 


You have your own road, in the corner of your mind, it’s a place very real which you haven’t laid eyes on for year. It is small and steep, there are trees and small houses on each side. When people ride it down, they can enjoy watching the sea from uphill, an immense, a dark blue moving mystery.


You only rode it once. That’s all it took for a bend on this one road to hit you hard. You broke your skull, you broke your shoulder, your flesh burned on the road. Your ear was slashed and blood tinted the asphalt. You lost consciousness and thought you were gone forever. There was a friend behind you, on her own bike. She caught up with you, ready for a joke, ready to make fun of your clumsiness, look at you, falling like a child and not getting up again. She left her bike on the side of a ditch and saw your body sprawled on the road. That’s all that was left, unconscious limbs and a growing pain that would never leave you. It is still there today, walking life with you and marking the light with it’s shadow.


When she saw you, your friend thought you were dead. For days she watched you fight, clinging to an invisible rope that got you back to the light. You came back damaged, you came back bitter and feeling unwhole. You too, for many years, thought that a part of yourself was left there. That life had taken something from you it shouldn’t have. That your hopes had died, slipping away from you with your blood  on that particular day. Through the pain, through the years of rebellion, of tears, of resignation, through the time it took you to grow up, your thoughts took you back to this one road that changed your life.


But you never did go back. Until now. 


You took the train and walked along the beach until you reached the small town whose name was burned in your mind. You took your time, the wind hissing in your ears, twirling your hair with sand and salt and life. You sat there for a while, watching the sea, taking the light in. Then you turned your back from it and faced the hill. You walked the road slowly. Your mind empty, your senses taking everything in, the smells, the sharp colours, the sense of peace and quiet invading your soul. 


Today you know that you were born that day. The person you’ve fought to become, who you are today, wouldn’t exist if not for this bend on the road. You may not be who you were set to become, there is a painful darkness laying within you, but overall you feel blessed. Your life didn’t stop. You carried on. You built yourself an imperfect life, as we all do. Your child almost died today, your husband is an alcoholic, your wife will sleep with anyone but you, your house might be taken away from you. You are pregnant after years trying, you just fell in love for the first time, you made up with your mother, your best friend survived cancer. 


You don’t know what is is that is changed in you, you don’t know for sure that anything has changed. You will keep on walking your life with its light and shadows, you will keep on having successes and making mistakes. This road in the countryside looks like any other road, it is meaningless to any one but you. It shouldn’t matter as much, yet you feel there is a slight shift within you, a door opened on peace and a promise of joy. That you will walk towards it remains a choice to be made. That you are there, that you have a choice, that you are free… it is the greatest gift of all.


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