The story so far:
This was twenty seventh time Maria Stevens had witnessed this scene. Well, it was the twenty seventh time since she had started counting that she had witnessed this scene. Was this to be her eternity?
“Must I watch it all again?” she cried out to her invisible tormentors. She knew how the scene began, how it ended, and how it began again. She had watched in horror time and time again how her one small selfish act rippled through her tiny town and beyond spreading grief like an infection. She had watched mothers explaining death to small children, delicately placing small white lies over the details they needn’t understand. She had watched morbid angry teenagers cheer the act, contemplating their own potential futures.
Her neighbors cried. Her friends drifted through the grief in various ways. Her brother considered suicide as well, relying on the strength of his children to see him past the anger, the sadness, and the grief. People completely unrelated to her millions of miles of away read of her suicide. Several even tried to copy her attempt. Two succeeded, spinning the world into two more series of completely preventable yet highly toxic episodes of misery.
This was twenty seventh time and the repetition did nothing to inoculate her from the pain she had spread. If anything, each observance of the facts made her weaker and more wretched than ever almost to the point of self loathing. Self loathing… yes, she had reached that point. She deserved the hell she was in. She deserved more. She…
Bling. A light… an interruption…Excuse me, but that isn’t the point.
Maria looked up and found herself in a perfectly white room facing a fairly ordinary looking individual.
“Www… What?” she stuttered.That isn’t the point. You mustn’t hate yourself.
The woman was about Maria’s height, black hair, tan skin, brown eyes. Nothing was unusual. Well nothing appeared to be unusual, but there must be something…
“No, I get it. I am a miserable human being to have done this everyone. I understand that now and I am sorry. I would take it back if I could…”
The woman smiled gently and gave Maria a small hug.We know. You just needed to understand.
Maria shook her head. “No, I…I .. I don’t understand. Understand…”You were in pain. Do you remember? Your husband had passed on. You had no children. You felt alone.
“But that… that is nothing compared to … to…” Maria cried.It is everything. He was your partner for fifty five years. He was your world. Do not denounce your own pain. Just open your understanding to the pain you can cause others.
“I… I do understand and I would take it back if I could… Gwen still sits in a depression and… and Henry is so lost. I would… I would take it back… I…”We know. That was the point to make you stronger.
The woman’s lips did not move. That was strangeness…Maria, you have been charged with the duty of living out your natural life time. Can you do this? Do you accept this challenge?