There was a fork in the sidewalk, I say this without sentimentality because it was just a thing in a place as most everything is. I don’t mean that there was a decision to be made or that there was something profound that would change my life in any given way, there was just a fork in the sidewalk, there it was. I stood at the foot of it, dirtied up shoes teetering over the edge this way and that, rocking back and forth from toes to ankles. The day was cool and calm out, and I don’t know why I decided to stop right here, in the middle of a ravine, where they found that girl a few days ago. They said she was only fifteen, and someone had dumped her in the crevice right in front of where I was standing, the shadows from the sun alluding to the deep ditch below. I stood there for a long time and thought about her, thought about the fork on the trail, or the sidewalk, or whatever.
There was nothing here really, a building with old grafitti on it that had started peeling away from the winter weather. Old couples strolled by on their walkers, coming from both directions and looking at me funny as I teetered right on this spot. I wonder if the guy ever thought about it, thought about which way to go before charging forward and just leaving her there. I turned around, willing myself to go back home before anyone saw me in here and told my mother; she had forbidden us to go into this place after they found her. I started walking back, passing overgrown trees that melded with the fences so you couldn’t separate them even if you tried. Branches popped out through the chain links and in some places the trunk had swallowed the fence whole.
We all do it, I guess, try to fit ourselves into situations and into places, not really thinking of the other people that had been there. I wonder if that guy thought about it, thought about the kids who would be biking around the next day and would find her. I wonder if he thought about the fork in the road at all.