I stopped working for a bit in the evening and looked outside. From nowhere, in particular, an opportunity of a thought appeared in front of me. What would life be if certain things went a bit differently, not in major ways, but small, almost accidental ways? Owing to the kind of errors that possibly arise for no one’s fault, only out of randomness. What if I had arrived a bit earlier to some places, a bit too late to others, and what if I had chosen to stay in some? Especially the third one, I reckon, especially that in so many places—just a day more, or sometimes, even a second sometimes.
I stood there, facing the thought and the comforting pink of early October evening, and I thought I could do it. I could talk my life down as if it is some consolation prize, some participation trophy, as if this day is not the main event and these years are not the main series of events anymore, that it all branched off somewhere without my realising. I could do that and tell myself that. Most people are convinced this is the case, too. They are confident that they live in some substandard copy, some knockoff product at the corner store, a facsimile with a glaring error only existing to be discarded without a thought, a faux version of the real thing. I could do that; I could tell myself that and water it all down. I could tell myself this sunset should not exist, that this evening should be stricken off the records of this universe. I could strike it all off on my own if I wanted to, but would it be fair?
Yes, tell me, would it be fair to pick one laughter over another, replace one sorrow for the next? Could we be as proud to trade in these extravagant entities? If you put a sky beside another, would you be able to tell them apart? It seems easy, in theory, to want things to have transpired differently. But to lose this life, to lose every little moment, to never meet the people I only met because I was too late, too early, or because I was stuck in the rain, is an impossibly insane idea.
Having pleaded my case and convinced the jury of one, I sipped my coffee and began working again—nothing changed, as nothing should.