Story: Figuring It Out

By: Russ Bickerstaff


We were all lost. I don’t know exactly when it was that I first made the realization, but we were definitely lost. There really was no getting around it. We were lost and things were starting to fall apart between us. Or at the very least we were lost. That much was for certain. Don’t know exactly when it happened or why, but somewhere along the line I realized that we were lost. And I started to look to the faces of others to see if maybe there wasn’t someone among us who might actually have known where we were.

I suspect that some of the others might well have been looking at me expecting that I knew where we were without trying to look like they didn’t know where we were. They were all pretty good at this. I suspect that the only reason I was even able to notice it in the first place was the fact that I myself was trying to appear as though I knew where I was when in fact I was trying to figure out whether or not anyone was.

“Does anyone know where we are?” I asked. The words just sort of drifted across the group of us. I guess there might have been some sense of relief in everyone else once I actually came right out and spoke these words, but it was difficult to tell as everyone seemed to have some sense of impending dread at the general sense that we might ALL not know where we were. And so we came to a stop and looked around at each other, all looking to follow the lead of the one person who might actually know where we were. There were no hands forthcoming. No one seemed to want to admit that they knew where we were.

Someone had suggested that she’d seen places like the one we had been walking through. I guess we could all agree to at least that much, but there honestly wasn’t anything more than that that we could agree on. Clearly we were all lost. I had suggested that perhaps we might have some idea where we were if we could sort of…retrace our steps and figure out how we came to be here. We all seemed to agree that this was a good idea. We all nodded and made approving tones with our voices. Sounded like a good idea.

Having all agreed that it was a good idea, we all stood there fiercely proud of ourselves that we had figured out a way to figure out where we were. We all stood there with a great sense of accomplishment at having worked it out. Of course, we hadn’t worked it out. Strange that we would feel so completely accomplished just having figured out how to figure out where we were without actually doing it. And I guess that’s kind of where I was when I found myself standing there thinking that I hadn’t even had THIS much of a sense of where I was for a very, very long time.

Then I began to wonder how long it had been and it occurred to me that I had been through as much as I had with everyone else and that’s kind of when it occurred to me that we had been through so much just having gotten to the point where we knew we were lost and I guess it started to dawn on me that we had been lost for so long that it was going to be TREMENDOUSLY difficult to work out where we had been before we were lost.

“So…” I began. “It seems to me that we’re probably all coming to the same realization right now.” Everyone looked around and started to nod their heads when I spoke it. Once again there was a sense of relief that we were making some sort of progress. I guess I sort of felt like maybe we could just make a point of working it out, but at that moment I guess I felt like there might have been some kind of an unrest in an amongst everyone else.

“So, we don’t know where we are,” one woman said, “and we don’t know where we’ve come from. Does anyone know where we’re going?” It was a good question. It was a question that had been lingering around in the back of my mind for a while. I guess I felt like I might have been avoiding that question most of all. And now that someone had actually spoken that question, I guess I felt like I was off the hook in some way. Someone had identified the biggest problem that we had to face and now we could all set ourselves to figuring out what it was that we needed to do.

Of course, we didn’t actually spend a great deal of time on planning. We all just sort of fell into roles. I became that Dad. She became the Mom. There were a couple of others who decided to be kids and neighbors and pets and things. By the end of the day we had it all worked out and even where we WERE seemed to be playing an entirely different role than it had been up to that point.

And we were all looking around at each other. And we were all thinking about what it was that we had become and I guess there was something hitting me in the back of the head about all of this as things settled-in for the night. It occurred to me as I put the kids to sleep that I had been put to sleep myself by a father not too long prior to that evening. And I began to wonder whether or not we had all had different roles prior to getting lost. I thought about the possibility of bringing that much up to my wife. Maybe I would do so later-on.

Categories: Fiction

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