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THE CHOICE - Mark Curl

THE CHOICE - Mark Curl

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Published by Sam Buhaisi

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Published by: Sam Buhaisi on Apr 12, 2011
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04/12/2011

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THE CHOICE by Mark Curl
PrologueThe young man walked down the mountain path that ran alongside the torrent stoppingoccasionally to look at a point in the distance, down in the valley, which was still immersedin the morning fog.He was descending the mountain with the naturalness of someone who was familiar withthe area and who was aware that the early hours of the morning possessed fragrancesand colours that would no longer be the same once the sun started to warm the ground.The rustling of the torrent was louder than all the other sounds in the woods and itspounding against the rocks filled him with the kind of strength and security that gave hissteps a hurried pace. His ideas were in harmony with the environment, which surroundedand enveloped him, and his thoughts rolled from one stone to the other, leaving a smalltrace of their passage on each stone. The flow of his thoughts followed its own turbulent,and almost unrelenting course, to which the sound of steps on the beaten path were likethe tune keeping of this orchestra. The young man had a handsome face and an intenselook. Each time his gaze fell on something, he let it linger for a few seconds and thenlooked away with difficulty, and one could almost detect a slight pang. The path openedout to the right moving away from the torrent, and then curved brusquely to the left andcrossed the torrent with a sharp angle. In order to cross the torrent, it was necessary tojump with precise leaps over three masses, which were ideally placed, and then to take alast leap to reach the small shore on the opposite side. He repeated these movementsmany times each summer, and he was always surprised that those masses stayed inplace year after year as if they were aware of the importance of the role they played. Theother side was more exposed; the wood withdrew towards the inside as if afraid to pushitself forward too far, so close to the water. The young man now advanced with lessdetermination. His look darted from one side to the other of the path becoming morewatchful as if in search of a particular place. He suddenly stopped and, smiling, he wentwith a determined step towards the inside of the wood walking under a large fir tree whoselower branches hid a small clearing covered with pine needles. The place had somethingmagic about it because the crown formed by the branches did not touch the ground, thusgiving this small oasis a wide area and keeping the other fir trees at a certain distance.
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The area was unique for that wood and, at the same time, it was well-sheltered from thecasual glance of someone walking along the path.The awareness that that summer he had again found the place where he had grown upfilled him with joy; that particular summer, he hoped that a decision regarding what hewould do in the future would have emerged from the harmony of those surroundings. Infact, he had a difficult choice to make before him, a choice that would affect his future lifeforever. He had to choose whether it would it be better to dedicate himself completely tosports, which was giving him much satisfaction at the time, or to dedicate himself toscience, a fascinating world, in which much still needed to be done. At such a young age,it was impossible to know which choice would be the best one to make for the next ten,fifteen or thirty years that were to follow. By definition, every choice requires giving up atleast one alternative course of life, often placing two very distant realities against eachother.So many times his mind had lingered over an impossible situation, that of not choosing atall and to face both possibilities by following both paths at the same time, and as a full-timeactivity. How could he avoid smiling at the thought of such a possibility, with before him theweight of two parallel lives to be lived by the same person.It seemed to be just a game of thoughts, but these thoughts wanted to impose themselvesstrongly and to detach themselves, almost, from the person who generated them, in order to be able to materialize in a separate life. The spiral of thoughts, combined with the twodifferent possible lives, began to produce two streams of thought, which began to separateand to pursue each other, so that each one could finally come out and express its own life.
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Chapter oneThat evening Mark resumed his competitive sports activity as a volley ball player, and thisgave him a peculiar sense of anxiety. The start of the sports season always filled him witha certain excitement, because it was the moment in which he had to prepare himself mentally for a year full of uncertainty and challenge. The challenge was the mainspring of that energy that would gradually be released in the form of complex athletic activitiescarried out with the naturalness that derived from having acquired the necessaryautomatisms. And, that year, he particularly relished the challenge, because the choice of playing volley ball had become the choice of his life, a life dedicated to sports, almost amission and a message to be transmitted to young people, even when he would no longer have the physical strength to play at the competitive level. That choice had caught hisparents unprepared. Perhaps they would have preferred a life dedicated to study for him,with the possibility of having different, yet similar prospects as those that had beenavailable to his brothers.Meeting with his team mates was always a pleasant moment. New faces were welcomedwarmly and with the dread of having a new competitor. There would be time to discover the worth of each individual, and to see a group take shape, in which each one would haveto accept the capabilities of the others. Like every year, reporters formed a ring around thenewly arrived players and the comments that the veterans always exchanged with eachother were a learning experience: “It seems incredible that at the start of the season theglory goes only to the newly arrived players, even if they still have to prove their worth!”,said Patrick sententiously. The others laughed and began to go towards the locker roomcarrying their bags over their shoulders. During that time of the year, everyone in the grouphad very well-kept tans and very short hair, and like every year Mark thought they could allbelong to a paramilitary group. In fact, you could think of them as military men because,from that moment on, they would all have to observe only one important rule, i.e. that allother sports activities were banned for the next eleven months, so as not to jeopardize theprecious work of the entire group.In his heart, Mark smiled, but at the same time, he was proud to be one of those boys andto be able to say he was there too. Like every year, the coach was all ready and waswaiting for everyone at the entrance to the indoor stadium; he shook everyone's hand andwished them well in their work. Mark looked into the coach's eyes for a second and, asalways, he saw the will and determination to do a great job, in order to succeed in getting
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