We are human beings. Passionate, fallible, generators of wishes, dreams, regrets. We will, in the course of our lifetimes, fall in love many times – with people, with ideas, with passionately held beliefs. We will inevitably get our hearts broken when those people or those ideals break under the weight of our expectations, never quite living up to the potential which we had envisaged for them.
That’s when the choices come, and make us face them. The choices that arrive after we shed our illusions and look the hard truths squarely in the eye. The choices that matter.
What if you were offered a fabulous and ideal job, everything you wanted in every way… but you had to move three thousand miles away to claim it, away from your friends, your family, everything you know, and you had to go alone? Would you have the courage? Is the dream that strong? Would you shy away from it, afraid, and then spent the rest of your life feeling hobbled by the fact that you had this opportunity and did not take it, that you could have grasped your dream but did not have the strength to try? Are you afraid enough of failure to turn your back on something that is not a guaranteed success? (IS there such a thing as a guaranteed success?)
If you were offered fame and fortune – would you take it? Could you handle it? Would it become onerous? Would it start to be a burden to you that you could not go out for a quick cup of coffee in the local coffee shop because if you tried there would be a mob of adoring fans kneeling at your feet, or following you home? Would you reject it – and then spend your days wondering what it would have been like, to be that famous? Do you truly covet the lifestyle of the rich and famous or do you just think you do? (Are you sure you aren’t just a titch grateful for the chance to have a bad hair day and that nobody would really notice or take an incriminating photograph which would surface on the Internet and haunt you forever more?)
If you had split from the love of your life when you were younger, but had since settled down with somebody else whom you might have come to care for – what would you do if your first love came knocking at your door and asking you to run away with him or her to live by some wonderful exotic waterfall in Hawaii? When do you stop loving someone – can you stop loving someone? Are you rejecting your heart and soul, or just temptation?
If somebody wronged you, once, and at the time you did nothing except take it – would you jump at the chance to do it over, to pay it back in kind, or to simply wreak an elegant revenge years later? Is there a statute of limitations on forgiveness?
We are human beings, you and I, and we’ve had our own choices to make along the line. Ones we were happy with, ones we regretted. We made those choices, and carried on. And yet, it is also ever so human to look back over our shoulder, to have second or even third thoughts, to remember, perhaps to grieve, perhaps to sigh in gratitude. It is human to choose. It is transcendently human to wonder – perhaps for years, perhaps forever – what would have happened had we chosen the OTHER path when we had come to our particular crossroads. And I think that most of us would find it almost irresistible not to take up an option of going back and walking a road again, coming up to the same crossroads, being given another chance.
Life doesn’t offer do-overs, and often we can only look at other people’s choices if we want to glimpse alternatives to the ones that we ourselves have made. Life doesn’t… but story does. And five people walked into my mind one day, sat down in a place which I remembered vividly from my own youth (yes, Spanish Gardens was a real place…), and demanded that I tell of their own choices, made at the end of the world, in a place where only truth could be told.
In their place, what would you have chosen?
And what, from where you stand right now in your own life, are YOU going to choose next…?
A year is ending, soon. A brand new year will begin, filled with new opportunities, new tragedies, new dreams and hopes and fears and catastrophes and disappointments and achievements – with new love, and new hate, and new understanding.
Read an excerpt from “Midnight at Spanish Gardens”: http://dragonmyfeet.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/excerpt-from-midnight-at-spanish-gardens-by-alma-alexander/
In closing – a few words about me, and a few more about the book –
My main website is at www.AlmaAlexander.com (take a look at the bibliography page!) and I also have a website dedicated to my YA series, Worldweavers, at http://www.almaalexander.com/worldweavers/, and you can find a book trailer there, as well as excerpts from those books and also ordering information. I blog regularly at http://anghara.livejournal.com and if people want to get to know the real me that’s the more dynamic site right now. I’m also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/alma.alexander, or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alma-Alexander/67938071280) and if you want to read more literary and writerly essaylets you might visit www.StorytellersUnplugged.com on the 30th of every month and keep up with me there.
If you want to look into purchasing any of my books, you can go to several places:
(if you are after actual books) or
(if you’re after a Kindle ebook)
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/anghara for other ebook editions (and go there to keep an eye on the Alexander Triads project, themed collections of short stories…)
Or visit your friendly neighbourhood indie store and ask them to get my books for you if they don’t have them…