With Friends Like Him…

Today’s prompt asks us to draw inspiration from one word to write a post. To help us along, we were given a small list of words to choose from. So I did. Rather than going on a long-winded post related to that word, however, I decided to frame it as a short bit of prose. Write what you know, and that kind of thing. I’ve chosen to not explicitly state the word, but I think it’s easy to figure out.

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. We’re not close, not really. Though he’s closer to me than I’d like. He drops by for a visit now and again, to check up on me and remind me of days past.

He knows all my secrets. All the words I’ve left unsaid, all the tasks I’ve left unfinished. He keeps track of them all, waiting for just the right moment (or would that be the wrong one?) to bring them up.

I call him a friend, though that’s not accurate. He’s a companion of sorts, but not one with my best interests at heart. He enjoys tormenting me, I think. But he’s hard to get rid of.

“Never look back,” people say. But I can’t help it. Like the hapless Orpheus of myth, I find myself turning to see the road behind me, to see which branching paths I missed exploring. And there he is. Happily pointing them all out and describing the wondrous destinations they would have led me to.

Whenever I doubt myself, whenever my steps falter on the road ahead, and especially when I stumble, he will be there. Not to pick me up, but to remind me of why I fell.

I was wrong. He really is no friend of mine. But some days, he’s all I have.

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Wrongheaded

What’s my worst fear? My worst fear? Boy, that’s a tough one.

Uhh..wow..I’m not sure. Flying? Lightning? Zombies? Ok, so not zombies.

I’m afraid of lots of things. I’m a pretty awkward kinda guy, so being anxious about stuff kind of comes with the territory.

My worst, though?

Being wrong. About everything.

I’m hesitant to make some decisions, say some things, do some things, because I don’t want it to be the wrong thing. Maybe the person I love doesn’t feel the same about me. I say something sweet, something heartfelt and she just rolls her eyes. How much would that suck? Knowing that I blew it because of my dumb words? Maybe that’s why I’m single.

Or even starting a new job, like I just did. My old job wasn’t great. In fact, it sucked. But it offered stability. They weren’t really gonna fire me unless I did something really unforgivable like, I dunno, punching someone in the face. It was an easy paycheck. But I wanted to actually do something with my talent and be a proper writer. So I found a job I liked, managed to get hired, and said goodbye to my old employer. Man, that was a tough time. I had no idea if I’d just kick started an awesome new career or made the stupidest decision of my life. I thought about going back to my boss and saying, “Look, there’s been a mistake. I think I’m just gonna stay here, if that’s ok.” I almost did just that.

But I took the plunge and now here I am, an almost month-old food blogger. Awesome. Guess that worked out. But what if my future blog posts suck? What if my editor just shrugs and says, “I dunno man. Why did I hire you again?” Or what if she decides that food blogging isn’t what she wants to do anymore and goes off on a tour of Australia or something? I’d be pretty screwed.

So that’s that. I could keep going, listing what ifs and maybes. There’s so much that I wish I’d said or done in the past. Things could have turned out differently. Would they have turned out better? Well, I’ll never know now. But what if I’ve made all the wrong choices? Maybe I’ll look back on my life years from now and go, “Shit”. Or maybe I won’t.

I just don’t know. And that freaks me out.