No U-turns

Do you remember that day as well as I do? I’ve been thinking about it a lot… thinking about how right you were.

We were sitting by the water, pants legs rolled to our knees, me drawing circles in the cold, wet sand with my toes while you were content to bury your feet as far down as they would go.

We were having one of our usual talks-cum-arguments, about life, people, things Mom and Dad told us, where we would go and what we would do when we grew up and moved away.

You were in a weird music phase at the time (well, I thought it was weird) and you told me that Tom Cochrane was right; life really was a highway. I nodded along absentmindedly while you proceeded to school me on the underlying, and no doubt profound, message of the song, all the while wondering why we never seemed to talk about things I was interested in.

You caught my attention when you said that what he meant was life was a journey and that the destination didn’t matter so much as how you got there.

I couldn’t comprehend such Carrollian logic and insisted that where you were going was just as important. I drew a thick line in the sand, telling you – with the kind of faux-confidence only younger siblings can muster – that it didn’t matter how you got from Point A to Point B if Point C was where you’d wanted to be all along.

Sensing perhaps that such an argument might last all day, you quickly reverted to talk of highways and roads while I smirked at my presumed triumph. It took no time for you to get back in your groove, going on and on about off-ramps and access roads, endless detours and gridlocks that went nowhere.

You told me I would encounter stop signs and intersections, yellow yields and stoplights.

‘But you know what you’ll never see?’ you asked in that smug tone you’d acquired since graduating.


‘A U-turn,’ you replied, with a nod towards the setting sun. ‘No matter how far you go, or how long the journey, you’ll never see a single U-turn.’

Copyright © 2012 Layla AlAmmar