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On his way back to the apartment after meeting up with the band, Russell looks into the diner to see if Beregond has been in.

"No, honey, haven't seen him."

He decides to take food back, as they've been living off pizza and fry-ups for days.

"You got any of that mushroom lasagne left, Martha, to take out? Maybe salad? For two?" He grinned as Martha nodded, and sat down at the counter to wait. She had that look on her face as she sorted out his food.

"Okay, I know it's gonna cost me, and I dont't just mean the money! Make them quick ones!"

"Well, what's the most important decision you've made in your life and why?"

He thought about it for a couple of minutes before replying.

Most Important Decision

"I guess that so far, the most important decisions I've made in life are to leave – places, people.

I left home to go on the road with the band,

I left Penny alone, when I could have tried to get her back

I left the band.

I left the band because it was falling apart around me, and I couldn't find a way to hold it together. And, as I was constantly told, it wasn't my band, it was Jeff's. I could have left earlier, could have walked away on a high note, left after the confessions on the plane made us all look at each other in a different light. But I stayed, and watched as the people I had come to think of as family began to hate each other.

So I left.

And leaving your family is hard, no matter how dysfunctional they are. Living, working, playing, eating, sleeping, laughing, crying, drinking, tripping together. Leaving all that wasn't easy, but it had to be done.

I guess that the biggest decision I ever will make is still in the future. The decision to stay. When I finally come to feel that I have found my home, I'll stay, and make it work, no matter how hard I have to try. And maybe that day is closer than I thought."

Martha considered this for a moment. "One more?"

"Okay, but only if you throw in a bag of cookies for free!" Russell grinned

"Deal! If you could change one moment in your past, what would it be?"

"These are getting a little deep!" Martha just shrugged, and held up the bag of cookies. "Okay."

Which moment of your past would you change if you could?

"Hard to decide between two moments. Both would have saved people I cared about, someone I loved, a whole lotta pain.

If I hadn't got together with Lesley first, maybe me and Penny would have worked out differently. And maybe if I hadn't met Penny, maybe me and Lesley would have stood a chance of making things work.

No, actually, it's not hard to decide. Given the choice between having had Penny in my life, and never having met her, the one moment I would change is meeting Lesley."

He gave Martha a pained look.

"Now can I go?"

She handed over a bag full of cartons, and smiled.

"You can go, and say hi to Beregond for me!"

"Will do Martha. See you tomorrow!"
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September 2004

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