The threads that were tied have been slipping loose. Anytime anyone noticed, they were quick to and it was easy to forget. To let slide. To let slip. That, naturally, made it easy to forget that the loosening was not what we had in mind. Easy, natural to let it go – thinking, this is where I want to be. This is what I had planned. Or even, this is better than that: this is all well. This will flow.
That was how it was.
How it is, now, is like having your compass upside down without noticing. Or, skewed somehow. At a rakish angle. And then, traveling accordingly. Tacking your ship in the wrong direction without knowing, on sails that are already ripped and torn from the passing storms.
Anytime you try to turn the compass over, the reality of having gone this far in the wrong direction – the daunting truth of having to try and tack back through that wind you’ve already come through, with sails in the shape they’re in – is far too crushing.
Rather just go on and hope you make it somewhere in this direction.
But this way is the open ocean and the winter and the cold, long nights.
And this way, there is no returning from.
This way is the edge of the world.
And you don’t have a ladder to climb back up it, should you fall.
You could have, knowing this was the way you went.
You could have planned, plotted, known the dangers and the course.
But you never planned to come this way.
You are ready for a spring or a summer, prepared for the heat and the dry and the challenges of the sea in the endlessly glancing spring rains. And yet, as you sit ready for what you thought would come, the storm clouds of the dark and the winter gather heavy and long about you.
You had planned well for the way you would go, but when that way was not your way, was not the direction you held to – how could you have been prepared?
And worse, you have acted so long like this, all along, was your plan that now, you certainly have no way of salvaging yourself.
You’ll have to let the storm and the winter take you.
You’ll have to come to the edge of the world, and simply hope you don’t go over.
If you do, perhaps what’s on the other side is not so terrible as you thought.
It never has been.
It – probably – never will be.
In the meantime?
Sail your ship, just like you did before. Only with the shadow in your heart of knowing full-well now that you go in the wrong way. And, with no choice but to sail on. The right way behind you is far lost now, and there would be no way to pick its course back up. You are too far in, the sails too worn to attempt another journey back and then this same journey on from there – in the right way. You’re supplies, your rations, your plans would not hold on.
All you can do is go on, hoping there is land – not the edge of the world, not death – along the way.