All roads lead to Rome. Even the ones we never took…

Sometimes I sit and I consider consequences of actions I never took. I think of the myriad paths I never followed, and I wonder where I would be now if I had taken some of them. I think about theories of infinite possible universes where all possible actions are played out, and then I start to postulate that if such a thing as fate exists, then those unimaginable infinities must surely converge at some point. I wonder if God has a game plan…. then I remember that she’s a crazy lady, and even if she did, she certainly wouldn’t stick to it.

Herein are described some of the what-ifs, should-haves and never-weres which I have been thinking about recently (in roughly chronological order).

What if I’d avoided Gemma Kauffman? You know the story. You’re in high school, and there’s that girl you like. The one you have to have. And you think that she likes you too; at least she gives off that impression just enough to keep you interested, to keep you on the hunt. Heh, “on the hunt”, that’s a joke. I was the prey all along. So for years I chased after Gemma. A few times I sort of caught her too. A kiss here, a lost evening there. But as you probably know, those girls you chase after in high school, they see you as playthings. She was the first girl I loved, and the first to break my heart. She got mad when I eventually decided to force myself away from her. Like she only started really wanting me when she realised she couldn’t have me (crazy ladies – I worship one, remember?). So what would have happened if I’d have decided from the outset that I had no interest in her? Would my school life have turned out differently? What if I’d listened to Lucy Dickinson, when she told me right at the start that Gemma was bad news? What if I’d actually told someone, anyone, that actually I really liked Lucy more than anyone else?

To be honest, I don’t think much would have changed. I’d have still been the dumb 17 year old without a clue what life was about, and besides, after I went to university I’d have left my school days far behind…

So what if I’d decided to stay in Leicester that night? That weekend when I was 18 and I caught the train back to Coventry to see Vicki. What if I’d never hooked up with her? Well that would have made a huge difference. You see, Vix and I spent years together. I never fully put roots down in Leicester because I was back in Coventry every weekend to see her. But I never had time to properly put roots down in Coventry either. So when, years later, Vix left me and moved out, I was suddenly left alone in a house I couldn’t afford, with years of my life seemingly stolen from me. But if I’d have stayed in Leicester that weekend it would have been different. I’d have probably stayed single. I don’t know what that would have meant, but I DO know that I would have had time to adjust and develop, and not feel like the world had been ripped out from under me when she left…

What if I’d not quit drinking when I was 16? I’d have become my father… That’s something I don’t want to think about.

So the final musing is this: What if I had never endured the heartache, pain and suffering that I’ve been through? What if I’d made “the right decision” every time? What if nothing bad had ever happened. The only thing I can say for sure is that I would not be the person I am today.

Our suffering defines us. Take strength from that.

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