Some other Icarus

He lay his thoughts out carefully, fitting them around the shape their conversation like he was playing a game of scrabble, ‘You know how some people say that everything in your life has already been decided?’

‘You want to do this now?’

‘Humour me, Harry,’ he smiled encouragingly.

‘Okay, well then sure, some people believe in a predestined existence.’

‘But not you?’

‘I’m not convinced that a team of cosmic micro managers have packed us off to this world with a lunchbox of lessons to be learned,’ he checked the time on his phone, ‘Sam, where is this going?’

‘Nowhere, it’s going nowhere. The door is shut behind you. Go to jail, Go directly to jail, Do not pass Go, Do not collect £200.‘ He drew two words into the last remnants of spilled coffee, ‘And you have no choice, not once you’re here, you just have to do the best you can to live up to some set of undisclosed rules.

‘So you’re a victim, I get it, can we just go now?’

‘Not yet,’ Sam sat up, ‘let’s play with this, let’s imagine that the route of your life was already punched into the Satnav. But you took the wrong turning, you ignored the frantic recalculating, you didn’t go where you were supposed to go. What do you think would happen then?’

‘We all get to choose how we live our own lives, even if it’s messed up, it’s still ours to decide.’

Sam shook his head slowly, ‘I’ve bargained my way around those same words all my life, and I just can’t seem to make them work.’ He glanced over to the door as the car horn sounded again, ‘What do you think would have happened if Icarus had decided to become a chef when fate had decreed he would be building his destruction out of feathers?’

‘Can’t we talk about this some other time?’

‘I’ll tell you what happens, Harry. When you don’t go where you’re supposed to go. Nothing. Not a damn thing. That locked in life just carries on running along all by itself.  And you don’t get to drive, you don’t get to punch in a new postcode, you don’t get to say…’ he held his hand over the words he had written on the table, ‘you don’t even get to pull the train whistle.’

‘Fucking hell,’ he leaned in, ‘Sam, are you having second thoughts?’

‘What if I were? What if I told you that I wanted to pull the plug?’

‘Then I think she’d hunt you down like a dog and kill you.’

He drew a circle around one of the words, ‘Icarus would fail, and he would be dragged back to his old life to crash and burn just as fast as he could say, Did anyone check that the gas was turned off?’

Harry grabbed his arm, ‘Sam, I need you to focus here. You’re actually saying you don’t want to go through with this?’

He looked up, ‘I can’t be that other Icarus, that other person, any more than if I’d never been born at all. And trying to be him is like screaming into a vacuum.’

‘If you’ve waited till now to tell me you’re gay…’

‘I’m not gay, Harry.’

‘But you actually want me to stop this?’ he stood up, raking his hand through his hair, ‘Shit Sam, I never in a million years, shit.’


‘Then what the fuck is this about?’

‘It’s just second thoughts like you said,’ he pulled on his jacket, ‘Come on, let’s light this damn wedding up like a firework.’

‘And that?’ Harry gestured to the two words written in cold coffee, ‘Is that second thoughts too?’

Sam just smiled, ‘It’s all second thoughts buddy, that’s the problem.’