Your many possible pasts

They lived in Killarney, where Fiona grew up with an urge to torment her schoolmate Arnie. For reasons she could barely understand herself, these feelings strengthened in her adolescent years. 

On a chill morning in October, the body of 17-year-old Arnie Murphy was found decomposing in an abandoned peat bog, a thin knife protruding from his back. A suspect was never identified. Fiona soon moved from her home in southwestern Ireland to Volgograd. 

Fortunately, all that never actually happened.

The two classmates were good friends and had very nice childhoods. Fiona loved all whom she met and gratefully decided on a life of service to God as a nun.

Arnie became known as “Blarney Arnie of Killarney” for his tall tales, and did stand-up comedy in Dublin.  

Of course, both could have followed very different paths. If Fiona had actually taken that summer job in London, and met a man she loved, she might have become a mother of three who enjoyed taking her children on picnics by the Thames. 

And Arnie, if he’d paid more attention in school, might have indeed gone to Trinity College, as his parents wanted, studied ancient history and archaeology, and become a specialist in prehistoric Ireland at the National Museum in Dublin. 


Our journey in life forks at many places, and our choices depend as much on happenstance and impulse as on deliberate planning. 

So look at people you know, and ponder all the lives they could have lived. 

Just imagine. Your friend could have been stuck in a dull office job instead of pleasing passers-by with beautiful music while he enjoys the great outdoors.



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