Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost
1. It’s dark outside.
2. The roads are slippery.
3. Coffee contains caffeine.
4. I got off work at 5:00. The coffee place is across from work. It will be like driving back to WORK. Gawd.
5. Of the six people supposedly going, only one that I know of actually WANTS to be there. That would be the inviter. There appears to be a contest going on amongst the invitees to see who can come up with the best excuse to skip out.
6. I NEVER win this kind of contest.
7. There might be something good on tv.
8. We could all end up with speeding tickets in our mad rush to get the hell back home.
9. The Starbucks people will probably get seriously grouchy about having to brew a fresh pot of coffee at this bizarre time of day.
10. W will ask me why I’m doing something I don’t want to do, and I will shrug and roll my eyes and not be able to come up with a sane answer. I hate it when that happens.
What W actually wanted to know in this case was whether or not this person could make my life any more miserable than she already has if I don’t show up tonight. Well I guess I’m about to find out, because I’m not going.
If you never hear from me again, it will not be because I drank a bad cup of coffee after 8:00 p.m. So cross that one off your list of clues.
Slaps us sober,
Summer must lie down and die.
His fallen leaves her golden shroud
All things green are disallowed
With harsh cold breath he howls good-bye.
Then he begins his brilliant reign
Red and orange fire his domain
Bright harvest moon
The dark too soon
We gather up, we stay inside.
Watch him weaken growing older
Winter perched upon his shoulder
Gaunt and cold and hollow eyed.
“My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself. What succour, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? When the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with its long fingernails? No. When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed, don’t expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid. What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.” (Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale)
Sometimes I find myself on the very brink of telling someone things that I have never told anyone before. The words are forming themselves into sentences in my head and dancing around in my brain in gleeful anticipation of bursting forth, of flying from my mouth. Panic swells inside me. I will not be able to stop them once they start, and then I will never be able to snatch them back.
I force myself to hesitate and wait for them to recede in numbing slow motion. Their impatience to be heard at last begins to fade and the words themselves drift blissfully away into mist and the recollections of that past are gone. Perhaps they are lost forever. Please, please let them be lost forever. The truth would be too painful for my listener to bear, and what good could ever come of that? I will tell her a bedtime story instead, containing little chips of the truth, but not enough of them to mar the happy ending.