The Path Less Traveled

I hate strategy games.  I always have and still  I somehow managed to get a job where I played one every day.  Even something as simple as saying “Hi” to the Boss was a mind boggling exercise in frustration.  Say “good morning” and risk being noticed and singled out to complete some asinine project he won’t even remember asking for.  Ignore him and risk the dreaded “Not a Team Player” label.  It was like walking a tight rope every day, while juggling flaming bowling balls.  I hated it, but I played it well, rose through the ranks and was a top employee.

Sitting at my desk at work, I wondered what the hell I was doing.  I was miserable, the work was piling and time had stopped.  I sighed, put my head in my hands and closed my eyes.  I thought of my favorite walking trail.  It was a beautiful winter day and walking always cleared my head.  I traced the entire route in my mind, breathing in the remembered sights and sounds.  As I rounded the bend, there it was, my favorite spot.  The fork.

I don’t know why I loved this spot so much.  Maybe it was the way light streamed through the trees.  The way the wind seemed to blow from every direction, cooling me after the long uphill hike.  I breathed in the fresh air, ready to make my normal right hand turn, yet I stopped, paralyzed.

I stood there, at that fork, for what seemed like ages.  The wind blowing through my thick, wool coat.  I wrapped the scarf around me and pulled out my mittens.  I should go right.  I always go right.  The trail was well worn.  I wouldn’t get lost.  I could follow in the footsteps of so many before me.  The final destination calling out from the end of the path.  I could see it from here.  Right was the easy answer.

Left though, it was suddenly so tempting.  It was wild and unkempt.  The tree limbs and weeds obscuring its meandering trail.  Few had come this way.  I had no clue where it went.  My mind started envisioning so many possibilities.  The path could lead to untold beauty.

I suddenly laughed, scaring the drone in the cubicle next to me. My vision of the path ending in the greenest meadow I had ever seen was funny for some reason.  The daydream even included a young fawn nibbling on the emerald grass.  Ok Sarah, get a grip, it could also end in a swamp with both of your feet wet and cold and you suddenly lost.

Why was my daydream even contemplating this?  Go right, get it over with and get back to work.  Yet I didn’t.  I went left.  Through the overgrown bush, my mind creating obstacles that my body was finding ways around.  I pushed through the entwined branches, through the thickets and thorns.  My coat ripping, the scarf long gone caught somewhere behind me.  I’d never been determined like this.  It was frightening, yet I couldn’t stop.

In front of me suddenly was brick building, a bakery.  What the hell?  I’d never seen this before.  And suddenly I knew.

I picked my head up.  Grabbed the closest legal pad and scribbled down those 2 words.  I grabbed my pocketbook, my coat and walked out the door.  I was finally going left.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Grace O'Malley challenged me with "I Hate Strategy Games" and I challenged Mare with "I never looked back".

2 Replies to “The Path Less Traveled”

  1. Oh I love this!! The daydream tying into real life is wonderful…how many tmes have all of us wanted to write down those two words to purse the dream? Well done!

  2. I loved your description of the left fork: it held all the things that make the woods scary and could be applied to things in our real life such as quitting a job, trying something new.

    Lovely piece

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