One day, as me and my two friends went home from school, one of my friends had an idea, instead of going through the usual path we take, why not try others for a change. I was confused at the sudden suggestion and a little annoyed, why bother doing something random.
“Why bother doing this?” I asked the question in my mind to my friend with the random idea.
“Nothing, just for a little fun,” He said grinning. “Don’t you guys want to see a different scenery whenever we go down this path.”
I glanced at my Quiet friend, who only shrugged his shoulders and went along.
Thus we took a different path. Although we were going to take another path; it was actually one way that branched off to different ends, like a tree, on the center in front of us is a familiar concrete road that led straight forward to home, we always walk through it everyday from home to school and back; on the right was dirt road that curved and snaked around, it had many trees and shrubs that surrounded each side, on rainy days there would be spots of mud puddles; on the left was a bridge that led to another path that was next to a river.
“Okay let’s take this way,” My Adventurous friend pointed at the dirt path on the right, then proceeded towards the way.
Beside me, my Quiet friend frowned but still followed after him, I went along as well.
We trekked on the bumpy and uneven dirt path, with trees and a variety of shrubs and flowers on either side as we passed, making left and right turns now and then from the curve. While we went on, my Adventurous friend kept turning his head around admiring the scenery of nature; birds chirping and flying by, squirrels and forest rodents skittering in the shrubs and the occasional butterflies fluttering on the flowers.
I had to admit it was a nice little change. We ended up arriving near dark at our homes, courtesy of my Adventurous friend taking more time admiring the surroundings we passed. I ended up getting scolded a tiny bit, for nearly being late.
Later at night while doing my homework, I checked my phone to see my friends sending messages in the group chat. My Adventurous friend decided that we would take the path on the left tomorrow next. My Quiet friend just sent a single answer of affirmation and I replied yes.
The next day, after school was done we headed off and took the left path this time. We walked along the wide river that flowed gently, it’s crystal clear surface revealing some fishes we couldn’t name.
“Wow! It looks fun to swim around! Oh! I know, how about take a dip.” My Adventurous friend exclaimed, looking ready to dive in excitement.
“Don’t, swimming was not on the plans,” I discouraged him. “We also don’t have a guardian and you never told your parents, they’ll get mad if something happens.” Although truthfully I also wanted to swim as well.
My Quiet friend then pointed further ahead of us, there, a group of boys, slightly older than us, wearing swimwear were in the river. I then realized they were the other student from our school who were part of the swim team. A man who they recognized as their guardian and coach was directing their practice.
“Oh, hey their kids, what are you doing here?” The Swim Coach asked when he saw them come near.
“Hi sir! We just thought of taking a different path home and ended up here,” My Adventurous friend greeted him enthusiastically.
“Why are you practicing here when we have a pool at school?” I asked curiously.
“I’m teaching them the difference in swimming from a pool to a real moving body of water,” The Swim Coach explained. “It should help them develop more stamina and strength.”
“Hmm,” I replied vaguely.
“Oh, you best be on your way then, be careful,” The Swim Coach bade them farewell, and they left.
The next, after school we went home. Upon arriving at the winding path that split into three, my Adventurous friend had another idea.
“Alright! This is where we go different ways!” My Adventurous friend declared.
“What? We aren’t going home together?” Me and my Quiet friend looked at him.
“Yeah! Look, my father gave this to me when I asked for it,” My Adventurous friend showed us something he pulled from his bag, it was a camera. “I’m going to take pictures of the beautiful nature on the other path.” With that, he bravely went along the right path.
“Don’t take too long,” I called after him. I had no intention of following, as much as how I like to appreciate the scenery on the right path, it took longer to get home from there.
“Well it’s just us then my friend,” I said to my Quiet friend, then both of us went down the center path. We weren’t too concerned about our friend as we lived in a rather safe town.
The following days, my Adventurous friend kept going separate ways when we reached the branching path, taking pictures of the various plants and animals he captured and then showing them off to his parents and to us, leaving me and my Quiet friend to go home without him halfway. This made me realize he found something that would make him invest his time in something he enjoyed.
At that time, it occurred to me I also wanted to spend my time in something that catches my interest. At home, I brought up to my parents and expressed my desire to join the swim team at school and participate in competitions.
“Are you sure?” My Father asked surprised.
“Definitely,” I affirmed, I wasn’t exactly a great swimmer, but I wanted to try. And so my parents agreed and I joined the swim team after applying. Now this left my Quiet friend alone, but he didn’t mind as he preferred going home early.
Now, the three of us; Me, my Quiet friend and Adventurous friend always took different paths whenever we reach the winding path. Me to the left to practice swimming in the river with my fellow teammates. My Adventurous friend on the right, who was engrossed in his new interest of nature photography, and my Quiet friend just kept going down the center, going straight faster home.
“Hey good of you to make it,” My Less Quiet friend greeted me with a brotherly hug.
“I wouldn’t miss it,” I said happily returning the hug, then greeting his wife and children. “Were only missing our adventurer but he’ll make it.” I sat down as the table was being set for the small dinner party.
I reminisced, looking back years ago. The path that the three of us each took started the same, but brought us passing through different places. My friend’s random idea to walk through different paths for fun ended up influencing our lives; I improved myself in swimming and ended up participating in the professional league. My Adventurous friend became a travelling photographer where many of his subjects were about the beauty of nature. My Quiet friend was now less quiet and has been the only one among us three to settle down first and establish a family of his own.
The paths maybe different and yet still, we ended up at the same destination. Here we are, still living in the same little town.