As they clung together in the car park the world span and fell away for him. He felt that he was standing on a mountain peak a thousand miles high and all he wanted was to make that moment last for ever. His heart was pounding until it felt that it literally would burst from his chest and his mind was screaming inside his head. And then, a moment of pure clarity came; it was a mountain ridge on which they stood. He had heard the theories of a billion universes being created by every small decision we take and this was a time of decision like no other he had ever known.
They balanced on that knife edge with two absolutely different universes on either side. One was old and familiar and continued largely as it had. He could see it laid out before him with it’s familiar landscape, the same routines and the same hills and valleys of happiness and sadness, achievements and disappointments. The other was unknown but with sharp peaks of excitement and the pure and simple joy of being a road less travelled. But as he looked down that road he could see strewn across the landscape the wreckage of other peoples lives, the hurt and bitter recriminations and the howl of so many demanding to know why he had taken that path.
And so… he let go… and allowed himself to slip into the universe he knew he must stay in. As he walked back to the car the tears welled in his eyes, Tears of loss and utter despair at what he must do. He stumbled into the car and sat with his hand on the key. He knew that if he even glanced at her now his resolve would fail and the tiny steps he had taken would waver and he would be forever on the other side of that mountain ridge. The seconds felt like an eternity but he had to go, had to make himself come back from the precipice. As his car wheels started rolling he could hardly see for the tears streaming down his face, and as he accelerated faster the scream that grew and then burst from his throat was pure animal. The radio was still playing love songs and he stabbed viciously at it to stop them ripping his heart apart.
And… after miles had passed, eventually he slowed and with incredible irony a piece of music from his favourite film Love Actually played on the radio, and he remembered the film as Andrew Lincoln parted from Keira Knightly and said “enough”… for that was what it had to be. His car rolled onto his drive and he sat for long minutes before he felt composed enough to return to his life. He wanted to try to remember every single moment of the tornado of emotion that had just moved on and left him there, and he thought again of her, so wanting to mend the damage that he had wrought by allowing himself to be swept away, but knowing that to try to do so would be to choose the other side of the mountain.
And later, much later as he tried in vain to sleep he knew that if she would allow, he could make it better, by being the true friend that she deserved. By being there when the dark shadows fell and she needed a shoulder to cry on, by taking part in the things that they had been planning, not as the lovers they never were, but as friends. And by not ever, ever taking her back to that precipice which hurt so exquisitely.