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Road Warrior

Life is the journey. Everything else is background noise.

By Mark GagnonPublished about a year ago 3 min read
3
Road Warrior
Photo by Andrew Maranta on Unsplash

A man with a limp stopped on the shoulder of the seemingly endless road to rest for a short time. There was no reason, other than habit, for him to rest at the shoulder instead of the middle of the road since he had learned long ago that he was its only traveler. Other roads existed; some ran parallel with the road he traveled, others occasionally intersected it, but most went in a totally opposite direction. The only similarity that all the roads had was each one took its solo traveler to wherever their eventual destination might be.

As he rested, the weary traveler gazed back down his personal road toward its point of origin. He had traveled so far and for so long that the starting point he searched for was shrouded in the fog of time. Not lost forever, an occasional memory would shine bright and clear, as though the event had just happened. Then slowly the memory would fade, only to be re-wrapped in the fog. When he discussed his diminishing memory with fellow trekkers, the man discovered his condition was common among travelers that were similar in age. The knowledge was not comforting to him.

There was one thing he was certain of; this wasn’t the road he had chosen to travel. A random turn at a critical intersection, a missed exit, a poorly thought-out route. These were all events that contributed to placing him on this road. Overall, this thoroughfare wasn’t as bad as some he could have taken. Yes, there were switchbacks and unexpected detours, but he had skillfully navigated them all.

His leg throbbed enough to cause him to limp, but not enough to incapacitate him. When he started this journey, he had no aches and pains. In days gone by, the traveler could leap over pitfalls, quickly sidestep potential problem areas, and always stride forward with confidence. His confidence remained—his agility was gone.

Using his walking stick for a prop, the man with a limp pulled himself up. Those days of springing to his feet were behind him. Perspectives change over time. Now the aging road warrior was happy to simply stand on his own and continue forward.

Before returning to his journey, the traveler glanced back one more time. There really was no need to look back into the murky past when the future still held so much promise. Sure, there were things back there that he never wanted to forget. A woman he loved, children that called him dad, trusted friends and amazing experiences. All things that placed him on the road he was now traveling.

Not everything in the past was worth remembering. Lost jobs, debt, betrayals also contributed to him traveling this road.

The children and friends moved on and continued to travel their own roads. Their paths would briefly intersect with his road occasionally, then veer off again. The woman’s highway ended several years ago, forcing him to continue his travels alone.

The road ahead appeared smooth until it reached the distant mountains. Of course, nothing on this highway is ever as it appears. As a seasoned road warrior, he was prepared for the unexpected.

Conquering those distant peaks would be a challenge. He knew it would demand all his physical and mental strength to reach the summit. However, once over the top, it would be all downhill—downhill to what, he had no idea. It really didn’t matter what waited for him on the other side of the mountains. The man with the limp smiled and said aloud, “It’s not the destination but the journey. That’s what is important.”

humanity
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About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling the US and abroad. Now it's time to create what I hope are interesting fictional stories.

I have 2 books on Amazon, Mitigating Circumstances and Short Stories for Open Minds.

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Comments (3)

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  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a year ago

    This felt like one of those stories that turns out to be a life lesson or a metaphor something greater. I specifically liked that you used the road as metaphor for the journey that life takes us on, explaining how everyones journey is different and how not all roads are built the same. This was so clever and well thought out!

  • Mark Gagnon (Author)about a year ago

    True, this aging thing is a mixed bag. It's been a lot more real for me lately, but that's life.

  • Tina D'Angeloabout a year ago

    Ouch. Growing old. I can't remember when I first feared it. This was a wonderful read. Loved and hated it at the same time.

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