Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A very short story

I frequently correspond with a young friend about subjects such as goals, motivation, and life in general. Last week she emailed me a meme:
If you could go back in time, what advice or words of wisdom would you give to your younger self?
"Would love to hear your answer to this one actually..." she wrote.
My reply:
I think you already know my answer, but see below. Part of this is true.

We stood toe-to-toe. Looking at him gave me the sensation of looking in a mirror… his face was thinner and free of the lines that the last few years had wrought, but I was, in the end, looking into my own eyes. His jaw dropped and he took a half step back.
“Calm down, dude,” I said, nearly shouting to be heard above the din of the music and the crowd. “I’m not your evil twin, okay? I’m here to help.”
He shook his head. “Help? How?”
“I have two things to tell you,” I said. I paused. “Are you listening?”
He nodded.
“First… you’re going to have to choose soon. You’re going to have to choose between everyone telling you to be practical and go after the money and the white picket fence and the BMW, or going after what you know you really want. What you know you should do. That practical money-chasing shit will not end well. You take your own counsel. You decide what path to take. Do you understand me?”
He was quiet for a moment. “I do,” he finally said.
I smiled and clapped him on the shoulder. It somehow made perfect sense to treat one’s own self in such an avuncular fashion.
“What was the second thing?” he said. “You had two things to tell me?”
“Yeah.” I looked past him, towards the dance floor. “See that girl?”
He turned to behold a beautiful young woman, small but lithe, with long, flowing chestnut hair. She danced alone to “Take On Me” near one of the huge speakers.
“You should ask her to dance,” I said. “You will never see her again, but you will always remember her.”
“I can’t dance,” he said to me.
“I have a feeling she doesn’t care,” I replied.
He looked at me, wordless, unsure what to do.
“There’s one way to find out,” I said.
He gave me one last look before he approached her. I watched for just a moment as he spoke to her. Her smile was just as beautiful as I had imagined over the years.
I turned and disappeared into the crowd.