Potential; is a scary word, he thought. It is like a room, an old locked room, in an alley rarely visited. You are walking towards it, in the dim yellow light of the street-lamps, the moon peeking at you through the clouds. And you reach the front door, with the key in your hand, staring aimlessly at the spider-web covered door. Inside the room , lies your potential. If you gave it everything you had, every bit of energy, every neuron in your brain,every drop of sweat and blood, and toiled towards your best, this is what you could have got. He has thought about it often. He thought about it a lot when he was in college; he thinks a lot less now. He is settled, as they call it. A big apartment in the heart of the city, a decent paying job at a tech firm, and a grand wedding planned in late December. The room, is something he has always dreamed of. He would open it, when there was enough money, and things were secure. There is enough time,he thought. But that’s the problem, Satan’s little trick… you think you have time.
He would have never thought of it if he hadn’t received the letter. It had arrived the previous evening, and it still sat on his desk , unopened. It was from an old high-school crush. He didn’t have to read the name, he knew from the handwriting. Natasha Spencer, was the most beautiful girl in school. They were good friends , but hadn’t been in touch once school ended. He had moved to New-York, she stayed back in the comforts of the small town. It had been almost twelve years since he last spoke to her. She could have called, texted, mailed; but no——she had to send a letter. She was always a bit eccentric that way, one of the many reasons why he found her so adorable. He wanted to rip open the envelope and see its contents, like a five year old wants to see his birthday gift. But he couldn’t get himself to open it.
She had always wanted to roam the world one day. They had made plans in school, the icy chills of Alaska, the elegant grace of European cities, the mystic air of the Himalayas ; they had wanted to see it all before they died. And this letter brought it all back. Perhaps she had decided to take that trip. Perhaps they could take it together. It would be beautiful, yet , nothing scared him more. He was at the doorstep of the room, with the key in his hands… And he didn’t go in. It would be forgotten, she’d believe the letter was lost, and they would probably have a laugh over it as they spoke of it at a reunion another twelve years down the line. Life is good. Life is average. maybe even a bit better…the letter could make it great, but maybe , just maybe , it doesn’t have what he thinks, and he can’t stand that thought…
Maybe he never wanted to go in. To know after all these years that the room wasn’t what he had envisioned. The room could have a gold throne, with cushions weaved from the softest satin and wool;and perhaps flamingos serving wine to Victoria’s secret models amidst the lingering smell of sandalwood floors and the gazillion reflections of crystal chandeliers.That is potential. Or he could find ;when he opened the door,a dingy room, an old gray cat, with grumpy black eyes, mewing at him from the mattress-less rusty iron bed it sits on; as a cocaine snorting hippie cuts his nails in one corner. Potential is a scary thing he thought. It would be best if he kept it untouched. And so he takes the letter and puts it in the old drawer. The drawer that holds his bucket list, the dreams of seeing the northern lights of Alaska, and spending a night in an igloo have a new companion. An unopened letter. There is time, he tells himself.
Inspired in parts by Dylan Moran’s act in Monster(You should see it sometime, he’s great! And even if you don’t like his standup he has a brilliant British accent that you could listen to for hours).
That’s it for now.Adios. Take care. 😀