WARNING: This story contains references to suicidal thoughts and other mental health struggles.
“No more of these high emotions, or all this stress and hard work. It’s time for you to take a rest.” She grabbed one of the pill bottles and handed it to me.
Her words and the inebriation almost lulled me to sleep. Lethargy and sloth drained me. I prepared to go to eternal rest. Only the power that these voices had over me held me back. I wanted to leave the world with full power over them. I grappled against the drag in my limbs and chucked the pill bottle aside.
“This is my time and my decision. You all are trying to take credit for my choices. But you have no control. This is my life and it is my choice to move on from it. You have no place here. This is my story and this is who I am!”
Their smug expressions persevered. During the long pause that ensued, I thought maybe they were backing down. But then the one in the black dress suit piped up.
“How do you think you became who you are?” she condescended. “We have been appearing to you for a long time now, and you would usually follow our instructions. Who you are now was never in your hands. It was in ours. You let us into your life and blocked out your precious God, and we built you from the ground up. You have never been in power and you never will be. It was always meant to end this way.”
Her words confused me. Who were they to decide my fate? No way they tried to lead me to this moment. They couldn’t have known I would do this. I lived my life by them so they would lead me into happiness or, at the very least, numbness. I turned the table on them, not the other way around. Why would they want this?
I looked across at all of them, all seven versions of myself, all with their alluring qualities. Confidence, wealth, desire, strength, beauty, fulfillment, and comfort. They couldn’t lead me astray. They were good for me.
Except their horrible smugness told otherwise. Evil trickled from them. They appeared as the embodiment of malice, the faces of sin.
The realization hit me at once. I looked across them once more and finally glimpsed the obvious truth. Pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, sloth. They were sins. They were my seven deadly sins. And I let them guide me to this. I never had any power. I had given it all to them. My glorious swan song was ruined.
I immediately opened my mind and tried to find the voice of God. All I heard were those voices, the ones that took me by the hand and guided me into darkness as I followed obliviously. They won. This was their triumph.
Pride smirked as she recognized my understanding and despair. “Give it up. You have nothing left and no one to save you.”
Every instinct crumbled into hopelessness with the exception of one, miniscule spark in my core. She spoke the truth, and yet some untapped part of me clung to the prospect of a future with an unyielding might. Surrounded by bottles full of an escape, my fingers never reached for them.
Wrath snorted in derision. “Oh, God, she’s scared! How pitiful.”
The ember ignited and I climbed up to confront my sins. “I don’t think it’s fear that I’m feeling. Not this time.”
“Then why the delay?” Envy scoffed.
I considered as the passionate inferno swirled within me. “Because you’re wrong. I have one thing left.”
Pride chuckled. “What would that be?”
I stood straight and tall, achieving a vigor I never had before. A new voice bloomed from the cinders, a magnificent voice that I had been without for so long. “Me. I still have me.”
The voice flourished until it drowned out the possibility of any other presence. The warped versions of myself dissolved into nothing and an exact replica of me manifested, her eyes shining with contentment and a genuine happiness lifting her lips. The calm and bliss seemed alien on that face since I had been lacking it for an eternity. I truly wanted to be this version. I longed to be her. I longed to be me.
I stretched my hand out toward her and she reached back in a reflective fashion. When I tilted my head curiously, she matched the movement as well. Soon my fingertips alighted on glass and I realized the manifestation took place within the mirror. This version of me was more than a wish. She was a reality. I could be her. I was her.
A tear slipped down both of our cheeks accompanied by a radiant grin. This was the most vulnerable this face ever looked, and yet it had never been stronger. This breathtaking woman hid inside me this whole time, buried beneath the noise of self hatred, yet once I let her out, she proved unstoppable.
I strode from the bathroom and instantly picked up the phone. The number of someone that could help me further rolled from my fingertips. The receiver rang before a kind, gentle voice greeted me on the other end. With my newfound strength, it was time for me to join the world.
© 2020 by Kelsey Garber