I’d still be old now, but maybe I’d have had a chance to be young. I’d have exchanged this solid, predictable ground that’s been beneath my feet my entire life for the feel of my own weight ebbing and flowing as I left this ground far behind. Instead of looking up to see the grizzled sky that snarls above us, I’d have looked forward to see a strange sun glinting on the edge of a strange land.
I’d never have spent all these decades spending half my day doing the same task so I could take my wage to a home that’s seemed to shrink with every passing year.
It’s true that I might not have had those decades at all. Who knows what sharp edges and dull fevers might haunt a strange land? I might not have survived beyond an hour of setting foot on it.
But I might have done.
And now, my son, you’ve been offered the same choice I was offered once – and only once. It’s not for me to say whether you should seize that chance as I did not. But if you make the same choice I made, pledging yourself to this ground beneath us, the day will come when you find yourself speaking to your own son as I speak to you now.
All I ask is this: that you take a moment to consider my words. Look at my face to see how deep they run in me. And now, in this moment, make your choice.