death, it comes in many forms.
some wander off their path and forget the bread crumbs to help them find their way back. so once they are tired of the new way, they can't find their way back. they are stuck with their decision. that one decision, that one footstep in a different direction that really didn't seem so big and important at the time. it seemed alluring, exciting and new. but now they are left with the realization that they will never go back to that old path. they mourn or they become angry or apathetic and return to the place they never really wanted to be but was just curious about. they never knew once a line was crossed that the door closed forever.
it brings to mind the original version of Willy Wonka when he yells half heartedly, "wait, stop, don't do it". with an odd smile on his face. i have wondered about that face all my life until i finally grew up and realized that that small little clip says more about human nature than perhaps most people see. it tricks you, you think he is bad or sadistic or nuts. (i still think he is nuts but it has nothing to do with his ability to recognize true human nature). he knew no matter how loud his voice was it wouldn't matter because human nature is stronger than a loud voice, a pleading woman on her knees or an ambulance to take away the person before they do something so bad that they can't find their way back to their own footstep on their original path.
i had a boyfriend in high school named P. he had anger issues. (funny that i keep picking those types). the first time i went to his apartment there were pictures of him and another girl on his walls. i asked, of course, who this was. he told me it was A. i asked, are you still in love with her, are you dating her as well as me? he got quiet, "she's dead." he said. "we were in a fight driving down the freeway and i lost control of the car and hit the light pole going about 80mph". it was my turn to be quiet. finally, "i'm sorry." i said, as her eyes stared back at me and his stared at the ground.
we dated for a while until i couldn't take the anger and the bruises anymore. one night before it ended, he looked at me and said, "we were supposed to go together, me and A, you know?" his voice began to quiver, she screamed at me while we were driving and said that she loved me but she couldn't take it anymore. so i cranked the wheel... i started to turn to walk away. he said, sobbing. nobody knows. they all think it was an accident. i looked back over my shoulder and said, "it was."
i never spoke with him again, nor did i dig up already settled grief. it had already been 2 years since that happened. ghosts sometimes do not want to be bothered. a few months later i was sitting with a mutual friend of our and in the middle of a bite of my Wendy's burger, R says, "oh did you hear? P killed himself a few weeks ago."
later that night i was thinking again about Willy Wonka. "wait, stop, don't do it". and i swear that odd look came over my face, just like his. was it bad, sadistic or nuts? or was i just recognizing human nature. i don't know, it was in the '70s. i did go to his grave site a few years later. i just stood there. i did notice that he had forgotten to leave any bread crumbs leading outside the cemetery gate.
it really takes just one footstep off the path.