• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 06

One Way Street

And so we meet on a one-way street.
Everyone but me moving the same direction,
Like twigs and leaves, nature’s debris, floating on the surface of a swiftly moving frigid stream,
Never knowing all that moves inches underneath.
You flow north with all the rest,
And I struggle opposite
Like salmon on a quest you can never understand.

“Hey,” you say, “look at us. You’re doing this all wrong.”
I shake my head and wave my hand. “Thanks. I’ll carry on.”

“But the crowd,” you say, “look at the crowd. You’re moving opposite us.”
“For now,” I say, “you are right, but time may change yours and mine and all of our perspective.”

“No!” you shout. “Don’t you see? You’re a child. A fool.
I know what’s going to happen.
You’ll waste your youth on foolish dreams.
Then, in your middle years, you’ll realize what should have been and realize what cannot be and lay awake at 3:00 a.m. unable to fall asleep.”
“It’s possible,” I say. “Who can say which of us right? I’ll carry on and pray in twenty, thirty years I can sleep through the night.”

“Stop!” you shout. “Everyone stop!”
And everyone obeys.
Everyone but me.
The stream no longer flows downhill.
The current has ceased.


One Way Street

“Now,” you say, “pause. Relax. No need to get worked up.
Listen to me, and adult perspective, wiser than you will ever be. You think you move in the right direction, but how can you be right when everyone else moves opposite?”
The others pause and listen, assess your argument.
“For now,” I say, “you–”
“No more ‘for now’,” you scream and rage. “You’re ruining your life. You’re making youthful, arrogant mistakes you can never take back.”

I step aside and I press on the way I’ve always walked.
And others turn and contemplate.
And others take a tiny step.
Another step.
Still more.
Until the stream is flowing in the opposite direction.
Until the one-way street has turned.

Who can speak of a one way street,
The direction one must go?
If you move north and I move south can either of us know who makes the right decision?