Things That May Happen That Never Do

Unseen Hurt and the Life of Plan Swirling

I hit my lip right between my lower incisors and the metal bar. It didn’t hurt at first and the hurling bus covered my instinctual recoil.

It stung.

Between the metallic taste filling my mouth, and the need to see what my face now looked like, I tried to type an update to my friend Femi about the closest bus stop we could connect at. We each had a 10-minute walk whichever way we looked at it, which made it a little harder to successfully find a middle place that, as we discovered while texting, would have a place to eat.

We had already spent 45 minutes simply seated and moving stop by stop by stop towards each other. I still remember the monologue I had when I forced a cautious driver to probably sigh and shake his or her head at my inability to run through the road fast enough. The banana I’d eaten had melted with the hot summer air. My digital wallet didn’t look good either.

You either have time or money, they say. I had none. Not enough of any, anyway.


I started picturing all the conversations I’d have because of my cut lip. It was going to be funny — for them. I’d make sure of it by laughing at myself.

I’d be laughing at the images that flashed through my mind in this very conversation. At my attempt to kiss my wife later on and twitch. I’d be laughing at the thought that I may never kiss her again or that I may never eat the spicy food I love so much.

Laughing at how I spent such a long time picturing the future of the cut, instead of feeling the fill in my mouth. The sore, red, warm, spreading pain.

Is it because of my high pain tolerance? My need to explain everything? My overthinking brain preparing scenarios that never come to pass?

Could I have pictured this yesterday when I picked a random location on the map simply because it was new and midway from our respective directions?

How could I have pictured my bleeding lip, hungry stomach and confused geography yesterday?

How often do we prepare for things that may happen and they never do?

Am the only one who does this? Who has to tell himself: it’s not going to be as bad as you think.

And it’s easily the worst-case scenario for me. I anticipate the flaws in my story. The missing pieces.

I wish I didn’t do this. I say my paranoia has saved me more than it has hurt me, but that’s not true. I’ve never, ever accurately predicted anything.

Except for my farts.

My life seems to be a series of somewhat predictable coincidences cobbled together by spaces of pattern recognition.

Life’s plan seems to swirl harder when I try to predict it instead of living it.

But I never learn.

Do you think it’s possible to ever stop this overthinking we seem prone to?

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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