Alternatives

A monster is slowly settling into the empty cavities inside my chest. It comes in the forms of violence and regret, of wondering what might have happened had we all made different decisions. In a million different universes, those possibilities are currently being played out. At the moment, we only get this one brief glimpse.

A string of actions that we perceive lead up to certain events. Moments culminate in movements of arcs of our lives. But in the end, only the moments — brief and instantanous — actually exist.

Moments like being drenched in a sudden downpour on the wrong side of the river. Moments like standing stalk still in the middle of the night staring up at the full moon blotted with hole-punched clouds. Moments like hand in hand on an autumn night seven years ago as a train passed, loud and close. Moments gone like sand in a sharp wind cutting cold across my face.

I wonder how this life would have changed had one of the seemingly simpler aspects of an inane action — like playing a jack instead of a spade — could have altered the entire projection of a life. A slight breeze to the west instead of the east. A red shirt instead of black. Raincoat instead of gloves. Minute little changes and substitutions that could create vast differences in our outlooks and positions.

If I had gone back one step and turned, would I have seen the picture differently entirely? Would the shapes have coalesced inside my head in such a way as to form completely new images.

I thought, tonight, for the first time of a moment where this minor alteration could have been indescribeably useful. I won’t express which one it was. I’ll keep it close to my chest where the lightning is.

You can, if you get dare get close enough, lean in and hear the thunder sound. But, be warned. You’ll feel no warmth. It only glows ever so tiny on the inside. And water comes up from somewhere to feed these plants, to store their succulent limbs and plump, bloated stomachs. But from where? I don’t exactly care.

I have things to do.
Watch the thorns and pokers. They’ll get to you.

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