by Lianne Morgan
“So what will it be?” Death asked me, “will you choose your moments or will you choose to be forever alone in this empty space?”
“If I choose the moments can I change my mind?”
I lowered my eyes to the ground, already sure of the answer but asking anyway,
“No,” Death replied. I kept my gaze on the ground.
My most selfish moment versus my most selfless moment. I smiled as images flittered past my eyes and felt something coil around my throat as others came; life had been both good and bad to me and I had been both good and bad in it. I sighed, knowing what my own answer would be since I asked the question.
“Which moment would you like to re-live first?” Death inquired softly,
“Selfish...” I breathed,
“Save the best for last?” Death contemplated me sadly,
“That’s one way to put it...” I lifted my gaze to her chilling sapphire stare and felt sick to my stomach. I knew what was coming.
I think I’m drowning, asphyxiated, I wanna break this spell that you’ve created.
One moment. One selfish decision. And it was entirely selfish. My greatest moment of weakness was my most selfish; it made all the sense in the world. My eyes flashed to his, the silence surrounding us was deafening. My head and my heart were telling me to go, to run as far away as I possibly could and yet here I still stood.
You’re something beautiful, a contradiction, I wanna play the game, I want the friction.
I gazed across his face, his lean and taught features looking as lust-filled as mine. The air was electric, the space around us was practically static. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t tear myself away from this, from what it was about to become. How we’d ended up entirely alone and in this place was so inconsequential. His hard grey eyes stared back at me as he ran his tongue across his bottom lip. Such a small notion had such a dire effect.
You will be the death of me, you will be the death of me.
My breath stuck in my throat to the point of hurting, I found my teeth biting down on my lip trying to force myself back to a reality in which I left this room and never came back. A reality I seemingly did not end up in, otherwise I would not be watching myself do it all over again. The minutes passed like hours, the seconds were thunderous. My heart beat hastened, the blood rushing in my ears as he moved towards me. I couldn’t look away, I couldn’t move. All the time we’d spent together, the time leading up to this one god-awful moment, I used it to make my actions defensible. It gave me a reason to stay and not to go. I forced it to drown out the harsh and unrelenting sting coming from the ring on my left hand, a ring the man in front of me didn’t have.
Bury it. I won’t let you bury it. I won’t let you smother it. I won’t let you murder it.
Within an instant his mouth was on mine, his hands in my hair and mine in his. Our bodies pressed together, all sense of the world forgotten in something so primal it was normal. He skimmed his tongue across my lip and without thought I let him in, I wanted him. His hands trailed down my face, his fingers white hot against my skin and I made no move to deter him as they carried on down.
Our time is running out, our time is running out. You can’t push it underground. You can’t stop it screaming out.
Hands ventured everywhere, tracing every inch of each other. Lips locked together, unyielding and unable to break apart should reality descend and end it all. All touch and no talk, we moved together like tornado winds, beautiful yet devastating in the same instance. Our bodies pressing, pulling, grinding against one another, wanting and needing more.
I wanted freedom, bound and restricted, I tried to give you up, but I’m addicted.
And then there it was. That one last moment of clarity that made this my most selfish moment, that made this my greatest downfall and made me hate myself everyday for the rest of my life and beyond. Breaking apart, I felt his hot breath on my neck. My chest rose and fell in great heaves as I ran my fingers gently over my swollen lips. He pulled back slightly, his eyes lidded and lusty meeting mine. I felt the stark contrast of the cool air hitting my bare flesh in the half naked state I was in and suddenly, painfully realised that I didn’t care.
Now that you know I’m trapped sense of elation, you’d never dream of breaking this fixation. You will squeeze the life out of me.
I felt the nagging presence of my wedding ring; the sense of some kind of guilt that unbeknown to me would grow exponentially and effectively ruin me. I thought about my life, about the man who I’d vowed to stay faithful to and who hadn’t touched me in months, the house and my child and the money and the bills and the heavy weight of that world that seemed to rest so intensely on my shoulders. And then I looked back to those grey and fervent eyes and in that one decision I sealed my fate. The moment only lasted seconds, the fallout lasted a lifetime. I don’t know who moved first or if we met in the middle, I just know that it happened and I did nothing to stop it, because I didn’t want to.
Bury it. I won’t let you bury it. I won’t let you smother it. I won’t let you murder it. Our time is running out. Our time is running out. You can’t push it underground. You can’t stop it screaming out. How did it come to this?
“You cheated on your husband,” Death said easily,
“I wouldn’t say it was that simple,” I sighed,
“Are you trying to form some kind of defence?” Death frowned, “because you should know, I don’t judge you,”
“Then who does?” I stopped wondering along beside her, confused as to the point of this entire thing if no one was going to judge me.
“You do,” She said,
“Yes,” She nodded softly, “you re-live both moments, and in your heart you know where you belong,”
“Surely that would mean that I could choose to go to heaven? As long as I felt deserving of it, I could go to paradise?” I was finding it hard to follow that logic,
“In a sense, yes,” she said,
“Then what would stop an evil man entering heaven as long as he finds himself deserving of it?” I argued, offended that it felt like only the emotionally honest actually went to eternal damnation in which case, did they really deserve to?
“The heart you bring with you, the one that rests in your soul is not as simple as humanity makes out,” Death explained, “on earth a good heart is taught. A heart deserving of heaven is one that has learnt what it is to be good. It has been taught right from wrong and resides in an individual space. Once you die, the heart of your soul is reconnected to all things living and dead, to ages past and centuries still to come. What weighs on it is influenced by the force that connects us all, and what you judge yourself by is the response you have to that,”
“So, if my selfish moment greatly out ways my selfless moment and I feel no remorse...?” I queried,
“You would be destined for Hell, yes,” Death said,
“But if I was remorseful?” I asked,
“Your heart will tell you where you belong,” she sighed,
“So the most evil of us can get into heaven just by feeling bad?!” I glared,
“Those that are truly evil will see their most selfish moments and feel nothing,” she glared back, “they will never feel remorse because they don’t see evil as wrong...whether their hearts are connected to the whole or not,”
“But...” I went to argue again, but she stopped me,
“What about those people who have no choice? Those children who are raised to believe in their human hearts that what they are doing is just and right? And yet what they are essentially doing is slaughtering thousands? When their hearts in their souls connect to the whole, and they really feel the weight of what they’ve done but have no means to change it, when they weren’t given a choice to change it...should they really go to Hell? Be damned for all eternity?”
I stayed silent and still, looking at her carefully. I didn’t know how to answer, or even if I should. I was merely a small and very insignificant piece, both in the world I had left and in the one I now found myself in.
“Your heart will tell you were you belong,” Death repeated firmly.