I was walking home not too long ago and I couldn’t help but be incredibly frustrated. I had multiple papers due in a few weeks, my house was in disarray thanks to my rambunctious puppy and I had little time to do anything but attend work, class, and sleep. I was spent.
I couldn’t help but think what life would be like had I taken the road less travelled, so to speak. I imagined if all those years ago I had moved on with the silly thoughts of college.
There is a concept of a multiverse, which basically says that when you pull back out of the cosmos there are parallel universes that we tend to inhabit. So right now there is a different version of me somewhere out there.
I’ll bet he is wearing a heavy flannel jacket somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. He is standing at the edge of a wooden dock that sways and creaks with every swirl of water beneath it. Trees reach into the sky all around the large hidden lake. This secret kept so well by time and nature. He looks out and takes a sip of his coffee early in the chilly morning. The smell of dark roasted coffee beans stinging his nose. He seems so small compared to his surrounding but he understands that they dance for him. They sway for him.
His own private show in these quiet hours.
I’ll bet he finishes his coffee and goes back inside where his wife is finally up. She sits reading the paper in one of his old shirts and a pair of shorts. She is concentrating so hard on whatever it is that she is reading that she doesn’t even realize he has come in.
He kisses her on top of the head and wishes her a good morning as she turns her face towards his with a smile.
I’ll bet he puts the cup in the sink and begins tip-toeing through the old log cabin that he bought years earlier. I’ll bet he is looking for someone.
He turns each corner cautiously until a tiny figure jumps out and screams, “BOO! I got you daddy!”
“Yeah you did, bud,” he exclaims as he hoists the tiny young man up on his hip.
I’ll bet he takes the young man into the kitchen and sets him in the chair next to his mother. There is a window above the sink where he sees out over the placid lake where fog creeps slowly from the warm water into the cool morning air.
I’ll bet he makes a quick breakfast for his family and then they all go outside.
The young man plays in the yard with a chocolate lab. They run together in zig-zag patterns.
The mother and the other me walk through the woods talking about whether or not they should go to town today, what the weather is like, how it used to be, and maybe about how much they want to have another baby.
The sun rises and sets on this day. The man enjoys a meal he prepared and they all go out onto the same wooden dock as before. The young boy throws a tennis ball into the lake, which signals the dog to sprint off the dock. He retrieves it over and over, always coming back to his tiny companion.
The mother gets cold and decides to go inside. She kisses the other me and heads towards the illuminated log cabin that peeks through the wooded fortress around the home.
Their shadows blend into the dark night and he hears the front door creak shut and latch.
The sounds of bullfrogs croak from somewhere distant. Crickets chirp ethereally from all around. It encompasses him.
He is surrounded and enveloped by nature.
He looks up into the night where millions of stars shine in the sky. Planets cast their technicolored twilight down. Cosmic dust swirls in the depths of space.
After a while, his mind wanders away from this beautiful place filled with such interesting flora and fauna. He begins to wonder what life had been like if things had turned out different.
He loves his family and his life but what if?
I’ll bet he wonders what if he had decided to go to college. I’ll bet he wonders what all of his friends that went off to college are doing right now. Are they married? Are they alive?
I’ll bet he wonders what life would be like to be a little freer. To be able to expand his mind and wrestle with concepts that seems so foreign to most.
He ruminates on this for hours until the cold night sinks to his core and he saunters back into the warm cabin.
I’ll bet he thinks about this until he begins drifting to sleep.
I’ll bet, just before he lets his mind rest for the night, he wonders if I wonder about him as much as he wonders about me.