A Fork in the Road
For Mamie, beginnings were just another fork in the road. It was a continuation of the journey she had always been on. It was a turn down the path to the left just because the left had more sun, and so, might be more delicious. At least that is what she hoped for, deliciousness.
As she walked into the sunlight, she took a deep breath of relaxation, her shoulders dropped, and she felt a security that this choice was right. The soft touch of warmth told her so. She left behind the constant questioning of her choices and chose the uncertainty of the unknown.
As she stood at the fork, she was not focused on the tree-shaped dark and light shadows that lay on the ground in front of her, or the forget-me-nots in masses of blues on the sides of the path.
Her thoughts were enveloped by an imagined large divide in the earth’s surface. The side where she stood was known, and the other side was unknown, what was yet to be.
The image of crossing the divide blossomed before her. She saw herself upright in her desk chair, with her laptop, in lap, typing her way as she wafted over the divide onto the other side. She could feel her hair fly in the breeze as she was concentrated on finding the right words. There was a sense, or rather a hope, that her molecules were getting reorganized as she drifted into the story that would be her future, leaving her past behind and keeping it only as a resource, an encyclopedia of information when needed.
The future held excitement and fear, just like life as she now knew it. She wondered who she wanted with her on this journey, and who might show up. She was trying to prepare for something she knew nothing about and held the image of Dorothy, innocently dancing down the yellow brick road with the tin man, the cowardly lion, and the straw man, all looking for healing.
Some days before Mamie was approaching this fork in the road, she became deeply anxious with worry about making the right choice. Out of deep anxiety came her wisdom, like sun bursting out from behind a cloud, and she finally realized the truth, that she did not know the right path, she could not know. All she knew was that she wanted to talk to Dr. Henry Moon, a cultural anthropologist, her life consultant and her mentor.
For Mamie, Henry was like the character at a carnival, in a booth spewing out fortunes, but he did not spew and did not give out fortunes. She just liked to think of him this way, exotic with a great beard, donning a turban and having a thick middle eastern accent. His magic was in offering the simplicity of understanding what was true, not analyzing or weaving stories for the sake of drama. The truth was magic for Mamie.
She texted her Dr. Moon and heard back immediately. “Yes, let’s meet.” Though it was by text, she could feel the energy of his excitement, and she could tell Henry had something to tell her.
They met at their favorite Cafe Blue, ordered espressos, and Henry proceeded to share his excitement over the image he had had just before she texted him. It was of a penny on a railroad track, laid there by young boys, wanting to flatten it. Instead, the small penny derailed the whole train, putting lives at risk. Mamie felt her face scrunch into quizzicalness. She knew this image was for her but she couldn’t wrap her brain around its meaning.
Was it the train she was on that was getting derailed? Who would put a penny on her track? The answer was obvious. And, she also knew how easily derailment could happen to her. She was reminded once again of her mother telling her she needed a thicker skin. Again, though her mother was trying to help, Mamie was reminded that the words of “needing a thicker skin” sounded like gobbledegook, words from another country.
She returned to her present, which just before looked like her future, as now she had landed on the other side of the crevasse. Red-cheeked, with hair a bit tangled, she looked down the sunny side of the fork in the road and saw more of her future.
As she viewed what lay before her, she saw what looked like a game board like Candy land, or Shoots and Ladders. One path was a dirt road, straight in front of her. The other was a path to her right, yes made of yellow bricks, and wound back and forth as it led into the future. With an anxious tightness in her stomach, she started on the straight path right in front of her and kept the windy road on the right, always in her peripheral vision. Always remembering Dr. Moon’s advice, “Just put one in front of the other and do the next right thing.”
It was as if she needed to keep it in her awareness, in case something cropped out that she was not expecting, something scary or something fun, who knew?