An Unforeseen Path

by Samuel Irvine

I wonder quietly down the winding, twisting road. I walk aimlessly, without purpose and with no destination. I travel alone, and even my shadow has left me. There is no end in sight.

As I trudge along, I start to think. First, why am I here and what am I doing? I quickly realise there is no particular reason for my presence here and I lack anything else I may wish to do. Second, where am I and how did I reach this place? I do not know the answer. Finally, I ask myself the most important question: where did everything go wrong? This, I do not know the answer to either, but only because there are oh so many possible areas where a different choice might have brought about a different outcome. I am unsure whether these outcomes could have possibly improved upon the result I find myself with now, but the chance haunts me.

What would I change, if I had the option available, you ask? A better inquiry, perhaps, would be what I would not change, as this would take up far less of your precious, limited time. To start, maybe I should have slammed the door in his face, and prevented his entry into our lives? This, however, is unlikely. At that point, I had no idea what he would later do and it is not in my nature to turn away those who come seeking my help. Then, what of those who searched for him? Should I not have barred the door, and let them in to take him? He seemed harmless, while those seeking him had a certain, unsavoury, reputation. Should I have listened and paid attention to the whispers swirling in the murky depths of the city’s rumour mill? Possibly – though we all know the value of unsubstantiated gossip. Should I have noticed that a few people I knew were no longer walking the streets? I thought I simply missed them in the crowd.

Then, perhaps I should have noticed that we seemed to be missing a single knife from the storeroom?

The point being, I could go and on and on. I could go far beyond the points I raised here. Yet, I did not see any of these chances to enact change and prevent a certain outcome. Therefore, this placed me on a certain path. A path that led me to where I am now. Not by intention and, certainly, not by my design.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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