Man vs Road

One time as I was walking through the road, I realized that I didn’t know where I was going. I was moving forward and gaining ground on a destination I hadn’t decided on. Wherever it was that I was headed was not of my choosing. I had been on the road for as long as I can remember and the thought of having no direction made me feel more tired than I’ve ever felt before.

I didn’t like walking in uncertainty so I decided to stop. Once I did, however, a strange thing happened. I kept on moving. Some unquestionable and unyielding force made sure that I couldn’t stay still and pushed me forward. I was not in complete control, merely a slave to the will of the road.

The stage I had reached on my journey had a dull luster. The air was cold and clouds had gathered above me and I could barely see the sun. It was a darkness I had not encountered before. I could remember it being sunny once but the gloom had crept in slowly without my notice.

There were other people all around me on the road. There were hundreds of us, thousands, millions even, maybe more, maybe all of the people were there. I watched them as they traveled on their own journeys around me. We shuffled through the road together in a never ending throng. A herd of humanity.

There were all sorts; men and women, young and old, rich and poor, fat and thin, tall and short. All moving forward. A never ceasing, unending march without a beginning and without an obvious purpose. There was a gentle hum in the air all around. It was the sound of uncertain hope.

Though there were many of us on the road, none moved faster than the another. We all kept the same pace. Some people tried to run and leave others behind but couldn’t. Others, like me, tried to stay in place with similar results to mine. There were others who tried desperately to move backwards to no avail.

Beneath my feet was a path. It was narrow and nobody else walked on it but me. Everyone there had their own little path that they walked on. The great road we were all on was made up of all the individual paths intertwined but distinct. All forming a little part of the whole.

Among us, in between us, above and below us, all around us, was everything. Everything that is and ever was. I looked around as I moved and stared at it. I could not believe how beautiful it was. I took it in for a while and felt at peace. The thought of my own plight could not allow me to enjoy for too long though. I was compelled to look away.

Then I looked at the people around me and saw that most of them walked with their eyes focused ahead or staring at other people and missed all the beauty to be had around them.

I looked some more and noticed some people were trying to step and walk on other people’s paths but of course they couldn’t. This made them angry and their own paths faded with every attempt. Many other people kept looking behind them as they walked and tripped and fell, sometimes getting lost.

There were others there who looked tired and worn out from their journey, their paths looking rugged and somehow steeper than most others. With every step they seemed to stumble, sometimes they would fall. Some of them were strong and stood up each time. A few of them were helped by those around them to get up and keep walking before they found their own strength again.

Some poor souls stumbled, fell and stopped moving forward. With no one there to help them up, they slowly disappeared and their paths vanished from the road completely. One or two actually managed to stop moving of their own accord and they also immediately disappeared.

Some seemed to arrive at their own destinations and their paths branched off from the great road and headed elsewhere. Somewhere the rest of us couldn’t see or follow. Though somehow each of us knew that we would find out someday when we reached our destinations.

Some walked alone on their paths as I did, while other people’s paths seemed to converge. Some people’s paths seemed wider and crossed many other paths.  I looked back at my own and as far as could see it was mostly narrow and had converged with others but only briefly. I don’t know why but this made me sad.

I remembered seeking for company on my path. I’d find someone walking like me and we’d talk and walk together for a while. But I’d always grow tired of them or they would get bored of me or we’d start heading in different directions and our paths diverged. Leaving me alone once again.

The great road stretched forward into a pale nothing that was ahead of us all. There was a dull light at the front that only illuminated the place our next step would fall. To our right and left were clear and behind us was clearer still. We were all afraid of the nothingness and what it had in store for us but still we all headed unrelentingly towards it.

Some people lied to themselves that they knew what was ahead but the truth was that none of us knew. None knew because there was nothing to know.  The naught was too much for some. They were usually the ones who stopped short on their paths and disappeared.

The more I looked around at the people, the more I realized that the darkness around me was not felt by everyone. The clouds above were only mine. There were those enjoying the sun and it was so bright that I could see it reflecting on their faces and sparkling in their eyes. This made me jealous and angry at first but then it filled me with determination.

I decided I’d not let the darkness falter me. I’d break though the doom and gloom and seek out my sun.

I started walking again with a new conviction. Slowly the clouds began to shift and the murk began to break. Soft rays of warmth struck my face as light teared past the clouds. It was as if a new path had formed beneath my feet and when I looked ahead at the nothing, I felt like I knew where I was going.


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