This isn’t one that came from my 642 Things to Write About book; rather it was just a title suggestion in another writing notebook I own. I wrote it a while ago, but as I entered it into a Writer of the Year thing I didn’t want to post it until I’d back from that – as it was, I was unsuccessful, but it’s still one of my favourite pieces of writing.
It gets harder and harder to choose. Every day I ask myself the question: “Should I stay or should I go?”, and every day I find myself unable to answer. I’ve tried countless times to figure out the correct answer, including writing up pros and cons list (the pros of going always outnumber the cons. Always.), or coming up here in the dark and spending hours looking at the midnight sky and thinking. More often than not, it’s the latter. I find it more peaceful at night–time; there’s no traffic going by, no people robbing you of your thoughts as they try awkwardly to make idle small talk. At night, it’s just you and the stars, and you can be alone with your thoughts. You can be free.
It’s this freedom that I really love – you don’t have to act a certain way, say certain things. You don’t have to pretend; there’s no–one around to see. There’s no–one around to care – but is there ever? I don’t think so, at least there’s not for me. It’s this peace and tranquillity I’ll miss the most when – if? – I go; there will be none of that where I’m headed, I’m sure of it. And yet, I’m not bothered – it’s what I crave, what I desire, so surely these brief patches of night–time respite are worth giving up, in the end? It’s not like there’s anything or anyone here who would miss me, or I them, anyway.
I find myself thinking, strangely, of the stars, and all at once I realise I’ll miss them; I’ll miss my nightly excursions out here, and I’ll miss my midnight musings, but the stars… They were my last glimmer of hope, the only bright thing in my otherwise dark life. Even as I think this, I realise there are less stars out tonight than usual and although I know that it’s just because they’re not all out yet, I can’t help but feel this is some form of cruel sign from the stars, or fate, or whatever you want to call it. It’s typical, even the stars, who I liked to think were watching over me, don’t care anymore. Any hope I thought they had for me has diminished, perhaps immediately, or perhaps it was a gradual thing, with less and less stars every evening, but I was too stupid to notice, too caught up in my thoughts and my own hope that maybe, somehow, everything would be alright.
Suddenly I realise that I know the answer to my question, and it has nothing to do with more pros on a pros and cons list. Instead it just feels like this is the right time; before I’ve always had something holding me back, pleading with me not to go, but now there’s nothing – just the comforting feeling that this is my time, this is right. It’s the best choice, for me and for everyone else. At last I’m put at ease, and I stand up from my little space in a corner and climb up onto the edge. There’s a smile on my face and I finally feel at peace.
As I stand on the edge, I ask myself for the last time: “Should I stay or should I go?”
And I choose to go.