Welcome to the crossroads of doubts

Sylvain arrives at a huge crossroads.

Many people are gathered in the middle, hands in their pockets, looking in different directions.

Many paths are possible.

Only one thing is sure for Sylvain, there is no way he’s going back on the path he comes from.

It took him a long time to go through it, all these efforts, sacrifices, fears… Sylvain is tired but ready for the next step!

Only one problem.

He doesn’t know the next step.

— Hi!

Sylvain turns around.

— Hi..

— You’re new here, I’ve never seen you before, I’m Patrick.

— Sylvain, he says, shaking Patrick’s hand. I just arrived and I still don’t know where to go.

— Hahaha, welcome to the crossroads of doubt, Patrick answers him with his big voice! That’s what we call it here, I’ve been trying for years to find the best path, you’re not ready to get there, son!

Sylvain doesn’t like the comment very much and already feels discouragement growing.

Patrick continues by pointing to a person coming back to the center of the crossroads.

— Look at him, for example, he’s been trying to choose for three years, I’ve been watching him go in circles all this time. He stops in front of a path, hesitates and then goes to the beginning of another path and so on. But they all end up back in the middle.

— Did any of them manage to leave? asks Sylvain, worried.

— The few who manage to leave don’t come back to give you the solution. All I can see is that there are more and more people here, which means what it means!

The days passed.

Sylvain went to take a closer look at some of these roads.

Some paths are real highways, others are very small trails.

But no sign, no indication, no clue on where it leads.

Sylvain came back to the center of the crossroads, hands in his pockets.

— So, what did this little tourist visit lead to? asks Patrick in a mocking tone.

— Did you ever try to take a path just to see? asks Sylvain.

Patrick gets very close to Sylvain, his face closed.

— You don’t know where I come from and what I’ve been through! I made some mistakes and it cost me a lot, so now I’m thinking twice, you know! When I know what the right path is, believe me, I’ll go for it!

Sylvain remains silent and also thinks about the path he has taken.

What a struggle he has been through. He is not sure he wants to go through something like that again.

Deep down, he would also like to be sure of the path before committing himself.

Months have passed.

People come and go in the center of the intersection.

Familiar faces and then new ones.

The crossroads is not empty.

On the contrary.

One morning, a young woman walks randomly to Sylvain, obviously new here.

They exchange a glance.

— There are a lot of people here, she says to him outright.

— We try to find our way, answers Sylvain on a serious tone, as to mark well his seniority.

— By keeping the hands in the pockets?

The remark stings Sylvain to the quick.

— My name is Anna, she continues, looking away.

— Sylvain.

— Have you been here long?

— A few months.

— I see. Well, I have a path to find, see you later!

Sylvain tried to hide his amazement as he watched Anna walk away.

He follows her with his eyes, sees her hesitating, going from one path to another and at the third, sees her disappear!

The hours pass.

Intrigued by this spontaneity, Sylvain gets closer to the entrance of the path where Anna has gone.

He observes carefully but nothing is visible.

Just as he is about to return to the center, he sees her reappear, her hair slightly different, and her face smiling.

— Oh well, this path was not for me after all! she says while beginning to look at the other ways. Well, which one I will try now ?

Sylvain does not hide his curiosity and assails her with questions:

— What was there? Where was this path going? Why did you come back?

Anna looks at him mischievously.

— You never tried to take a path, did you?!

— No, Sylvain replies, embarrassed.

Anna smiles at him.

— Is this your first crossroads ? she asks him.

— Yes, it is.

— It’s my third, she continues with a vague look. I was stuck for so long the first time that I thought I was going to die there! And one day, an old man arrived at the crossroads, with a smile up to his ears, it was his 53rd crossroads!

Sylvain is shocked.

Anna continues:

— He said to me: “If I have to fail at doing nothing, I prefer to fail at doing something, and something that I enjoy!” Three paths later, he was gone for good! So since then, I’ve been having fun too, she concludes with a smile.

Thoughts are running through Sylvain’s head.

— But how do you know if this is the right way to go?

— I don’t know, I choose a path that I like and then I go there to see, to have fun! And after a while, I see where it leads me, so I either continue or I come back to try another one.

— What do you mean “you see where it’s going”? asks Sylvain skeptically.

— Well yes, once you are on the path, you can quickly see if you like it, if you have fun! And there are signs that quickly confirm if the right path for you, but you only see them once you are on the path! In the end, you’ll see that it’s not the most important thing, what counts is if you like the path.

All of Sylvain’s thoughts are gone in one fell swoop.

— Well, that’s not all, I’m going to try the rope ladder over there, I like it too much! says Anna with the voice of an amused little girl.

Sylvain stays a moment without moving and watches her going away towards the rope ladder.

He comes to his senses when she disappears.

He quietly returns to the center and wonders which way he could go, just to see .

— You’ll see, the little girl, she’ll soon come back to the center, too, Patrick interrupts him. I bet you that…

— I’ll try that one, Sylvain interrupted him, pointing to some stone stairs.

— Believe me, all you’ll find at the top of this staircase is disappointment! You’re really going to go up there without knowing where it’s going to take you?! Patrick replies curtly, turning his back on him.

Sylvain doesn’t listen to him anymore and approaches the stairs.

He hesitates, one foot on the first step.

What if it was not the right way?

— There is only one way to find out, Sylvain tells himself aloud.

He smiles and disappears up the stairs.

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