by Sara Nash
“If you leave, don’t come back.” That’s what she said.
The lone musician on the concourse plays Auld Lang Syne. Shifting my cello case in my hand, I nod to him as I step on the escalator. Up I go.
At the top, a decision. Past or future? Left or right? Safety or freedom? Past perfect or future indefinite? Which way is destiny, fate? Which way is love, happiness? Are they the same? To be or not to be? I have much less time to decide than Hamlet. Halfway there.
“If you leave, don’t come back.” The memory of the words gives me vertigo, forcing me to steady myself with the rubber rail. The first time she said it, she raged, throwing the ring back at me. The second time she said it, she wept.
My fingers brush the ring in my pocket, reassured that it’s still there, an expensive tether to reality. It’s a reminder that this nightmare is not a dream.
Eenie meenie miney moe. Catch a tiger by the toe… One potato, two potato, three potato, four… Desperation tempts me to let a playground rhyme decide. Maybe a coin toss. I’m not strong enough. I’m not brave enough. I’m not good enough. I’m running out of time.
I step off the escalator. Car horns and firecrackers drown the usual city sounds. My watch says midnight. A new year. Time to choose. This time, I make the bold choice.