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Crossroads

Alone, sitting in the middle of the class, the boy wondered, miserably, at the giggles around him.

A knot in his stomach tightened as the battle in his head raged on. Learning and work or friends and fun. It seemed an obvious choice, but he knew it wasn't.

The steep cliffs of learning could be agonisingly frustrating, yet he was already beginning to appreciate the thrills it could bring.

The camaraderie of being in the gang and their admiration at his antics was such fun, yet it sometimes seemed so pointless.

His parents obviously wanted him to work more, but what did they really know?

Wayne and Jim wanted him to sneak off to the woods, but what did they really care?

Jam today or jam tomorrow. That's what they said. Was that the choice? Is work all dull? Is play all fun? It wasn't even that easy. The ahas of learning and pride of achievement gave a great buzz, but so also did being a rebel and chilling out. Work could be deadly boring. Doing what Wayne wanted could even more frustrating than doing what Dad wanted him to do.

'I want to be me!' his mind screamed. 'But who is that?' replied another voice. Who do I you want to be. That's the real question.

He squinted, desperately, into hazy futures. Outside, an older boy leaned against a lamp post.

The teacher frowned. Wayne winked.

Two worlds waited.

In the end, he thought, it's my life. My life. He felt that he stood on a teeter-totter with the world watching.

And almost casually, like millions before, he chose.

 

***

 

~by David Straker~

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