Backwards Walk

Contributor: Lacy Lalonde

- -
It was not that Sara wanted to be different, even though she really did. And it wasn’t like she wanted people to notice how different she was, even though she really did. It was just that she wanted to do things in a way that nobody else did, and she never liked to do the same thing the same way twice. She always took a different route home, even if it meant just walking on the opposite side of the street, it was still different. She was still seeing it from a different angle. She was still walking on new ground.
It all had to do with a poem, that Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken.
It is a poignant poem. It is a dangerous poem. It changed her life.
History has shown us the power literature can have on the human mind. There are countless examples of this, Plato’s Republic, the Communist Manifesto, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Mein Kampf, just to name a few. Society not only subjects their most fragile and temperamental young minds to explore the vast wonders of literature, but also forces them to understand it, analyze it, and then grades them on how well they best understood the overall message behind Tolstoy’s reasoning of death and what it means to truly live via the fictional manifestation of Ivan Ilyich.
It was one of those assigned readings that you have to do in school, and Sara was only 13 when she first read the poem. She had no idea what she was getting herself into. Nobody seems to truly believe that literature can indeed change a life. All books and poems and plays and essays should come with a warning label. WARNING: READING THIS MAY FILL YOUR MIND WITH NEW IDEAS AND NOTIONS YOU NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.
Well, for Sara, the ramifications of reading literature were immediate and life altering. She was never the same after reading The Road Not Taken one Monday afternoon.
First she read the poem at home in her room, speaking the words only in her head.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both

She liked that it rhymed and didn’t go on forever like those poems by Anne Askew. She had learned in class that poetry was a living thing that needed to be given a voice and an audience. And then she read it out loud because she remembered that is how poetry is supposed to be read.
She spoke it quietly at first, whispering the words out.
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could

But as she continued the words churned something inside of her, a sort of self-revelation, and her voice grew louder until by the last stanza she was shouting out
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Her parents rushed into her room with worry on their faces. Why was she shouting, they wanted to know. Sara, with tears in her eyes, read aloud the poem once again but this time for an audience. She held onto the small book with one hand while her other waved itself around in tune with the words.
She learned the words by heart and then took them to her heart and kept them there forever. She strived to do things differently than they were used to being done. She read her books frontwards and then backwards. She would have an orgasm and then make love. She wore glasses with varying prescriptions so she could see the world in different ways. She hated when it didn’t feel right. She loved when it didn’t feel right. She stayed. She left. She ran. She walked.
She lived her interpretation of those words in every aspect of her life: You only have one life but there are different roads. Why not take as many as you can?

- - -
Lacy Lalonde is a 25 year old masters student living in Montreal. She loves to write fiction and secretly hopes it makes her famous one day. She has published a handful of her short stories, consisting of both genre and non-genre fiction.
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -