I hadn’t even realized that I had fallen until I was already standing up again, brushing myself off. I looked back at the path I had been casually walking on and I was genuinely surprised at how rough it was. How complicated it was. I must have been too preoccupied to notice sooner, but now upon careful reflection I saw it through a diaphanous veil of truth. It was winding, narrow, and steep. And whereas it felt like such an easy and comforting route to take, there was actually no easy way through.

It wasn’t until after I let go of her that I realized I didn’t want to. She was already walking away on a path of her own and I, still stunned from the fall, could not think clearly enough to follow. It’s possible that I believed I would be able to easily find the point where our paths intersected shortly thereafter. It’s possible that I believed there would be another intersection soon enough. It’s possible that I believed in anything that would save me from waiting.

But now I’m upright again, moving forward with as much caution as I possibly can. You see, I’m not worried so much about falling as I am about missing the next sudden intersection. With every progressive step I take, I look back at where I fell and wonder if she was going to return there; maybe I should have waited awhile longer.

We all have our own paths that we have to take. Sometimes we walk them because they’re easier, sometimes because they’re harder, sometimes because it’s the right path, and sometimes to avoid another path entirely. I can’t be certain which path she’s taking, I can only hope it runs parallel to my own.