Spoiler Alert: Answer to Last Month’s Puzzle

Last month I shared a puzzle from Gaia with you, the first of its kind. Here it is again in case you missed it. Try to answer the questions before reading Gaia’s response.

Four friends meet at a crossroads.
Then two unfriends arrive.
A quarrel ensues.
What happens next?

Four friends meet at a crossroads.
Suddenly two off-planet aliens arrive.
Two of the friends can see the aliens, the other two cannot.
What happens next?

Four friends meet at a crossroads.
Two believe it is the end of the world.
They have come to say goodbye.
The other two are sure a new world is beginning.
They have come to invite the others to join them.
What happens next?

What do these three events have in common?

The events have two shared elements in common. The four friends, and their meeting at the crossroads at the same time. They showed up for themselves and for each other. That’s what friends do. They did not know what or who else they might encounter. They did not meet at a fork in the road, wondering which one to take. They met at a crossroads, which means they had at least three other roads to choose from. Each friend had already traveled one of the roads and was able to describe it in detail to the others. The shared details gave all of them a few clues to what would otherwise be unknown.

What happened when the two unfriends arrived? They too, were wondering which road to take. The four friends shared the information they had just exchanged with the unfriends, who chose not to believe it. Untrusting as they were, the unfriends believed they were being tricked. That is when the quarrel began. The unfriends were unable to tell truth from lies as they had been duplicitous too often. Experience had not yet taught them to trust others who were not like them.

What happened when the two aliens arrived? One of the friends greeted them with ease, another was fearful and quickly decided the aliens must be hostile. The two that could not see the aliens did not know what to make of the situation. They wondered why they could not see what their friends saw, or why they couldn’t agree as they often did. The aliens were also uncertain. One believed earth humans were intelligent and friendly. The other believed humans were stupid and hostile. Given the oddity of meeting under such strange circumstances, a crossroads with entirely new possibilities, they all decided not to be influenced by the opinion of others who were not even present. They all extended a hand in friendship.

What happened when the four friends were no longer in agreement as to what would happen next, an ending or a new beginning? Each was confident that they were right but were willing to admit that they might be wrong. Even so, their decision was made. It was final. They decided their friendship would outlast any eventuality, even if they were separated for a time. Two went down the road that led to a possible ending. The other two chose the road that led to a possible beginning. Before parting company, they agreed to meet at this, or another crossroads some other time. They knew they would find each other again.

In each of the three meetings, what would you have done? Better yet, what will you do?

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