The Road

There I am, standing on a road, looking forward, while stealing moments to look back. There are two ways I can decide to go from this point; comparable to the proverbial “two roads diverged”. Still I am stuck, knee deep in the pain of the past. This pain that was harvested out of opportunities missed, harsh words spoken, the inability to forgive. I still cannot figure out, in the quiet of those mortared memories, where all this pain comes from.

*****

I am ten.

“Are you daddy’s little girl?” he asks.

“No,” I joke.

My father’s eyes grow sad.

This may be the seed.

*****

I am thirteen.

There I am, singing on a stage. I look out into the sea of faces and see my mother.

My father is working. His work ethic is strong and I will, in time, respect him for it. But he’s not in the crowd. And that sticks to me as if it were stuck with glue that can never be washed away.

This is the last time I sing alone on a stage.

The seed grows.

*****

I am eighteen.

I lie a lot about where I am, and what I am doing. But, what I am doing is never bad or rebellious. A movie and dinner at a well known restaurant in the city. The city where they say I will get raped and killed. The city that I should only venture into for my pre-med classes. The very classes I skip to play Gin Rummy in the student center and telnet chat in the computer lab, because my heart’s just not there.

I work. I go to classes (or not). I lie and worry about being waited for when I come in past midnight.

The plant has grown now, and almost ready to bear fruit.

*****

I am twenty.

The love-of-my-life (the one I met in the telnet chat) moves across the country for me. I know that this will be the man whose children I will bear.

I continue to lie. Fights ensue over time spent with “him”. He should just go back to Louisiana, they yell.

I leave.

The fruit is ripe and has been picked.

*****

I am twenty-one.

I am twenty-four.

I am thirty.

I am thirty-two.

I am thirty-five.

Nothing ever changes with age. Their own pain grows and festers within them, not allowing us to heal. Their condescension looms, and I have had enough.

The plant is before me, on the path, where I am bound. With all my might, I grab it, and pull it out, roots and all. I set it down, quietly, so that I may choose which path to take.

So that I may choose the path to take.

So. That. I. May. Choose. The. Path. To. Take.

“And that has made all the difference.”


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