Pressing her palms together, her intricate life lines forming a tangled web between the two hands, she raises her chin slightly, pondering a question deep, her fire red curls still, almost lifeless, as they remain draped unintentionally over her shoulders. What is life? She looks away, her gaze an emerald green, showing wisdom, yet curiosity, fulfillment, and yet again, sadness. She speaks slowly after a momentary pause, her words like limpid ice against her cold tongue, the tone of her voice dark, disheartened, and weak.

A life so long I have lived . . . a death so uninviting I have embraced. And now after all that was . . . survival. She closes her eyes for a delicate moment only to recapture memories, and journeys through time, perhaps to enlighten herself. Taking on the dark gift can be righteously compared to throwing oneself upon the palm of death itself. Why I chose this path instead of the one that was intended for me in the threshold of all beginnings . . . I contemplate nightly.

My last sunrise was undeservedly spent resting in the arms of my love. Not knowing it was to be my final taste of divine pleasure, I closed my eyes for too long . . . and fell back into trance, to dream my last dream. I awakened mid morning, the sun glistening high above the orchids, towering overhead the willow trees. Two beings carried inside of myself; I would give life to them that night and accept the eternal death after their arrival. I longed to be there for them forever . . . to give them what my parents could not bestow upon me: assurance. Both mother and father died when I was but an early age of 19.

I invited everlasting existence as if summoning an old friend over for a dinner party. With great expectations lingering upon my mind, my newborn babes beside me sleeping soundly, I called upon redemption with nothing short of splendid intentions.

MagentaAnd so I received exactly what I desired.

Our children grew as other children have and will for the years to come. In front of the television, caught in a Nickelodeon hypnosis, while mother and father hunted like monsters in the pretentious realms we know as "our society." The children were sent away to fine schools, where they would learn etiquette, important facts of history and science, and the ways of civilized people . . . knowledge that their parents thought important and necessary if they were to return to these harsh realms someday.

The divorce was a short but difficult process for the both of us . . . and when my only daughter returned with heartbreaking news of her dead twin, my son, I began to realize it wasn't eternal life I drew in, but death instead.

Not long was she exposed to our society before its severe mannerisms and chaotic madness consumed her. After being away from her for twelve years, then finally reunited, she was murdered after her 18th birthday and the birth of her daughter, Michaela. While I grieved my daughter's death, the only painful memory of her curled up sleeping against my black leather jacket, a sickly woman approached me. Pale in the face, almost lucent, she wore a locket around her neck with two small pictures trapped inside: one of my son, taken only months before his death of AIDS, and another picture of his son, my grandchilde, Andrew. It was a reassurance to know my son had loved, and was loved in return before he experienced his final sunrise. But the happiness this fact had brought me did not begin to cover up the vague remorse I felt inside.

defeat.gifI carried on for years convinced I was empty, but now I am certain my sorrow is the one thing I have that no one could possibly steal from me. This young sickly girl is wasting away more every day . . . and in a few moons from now, Andrew will be in my care. He is three present day . . . he shall be four in November . . . I am thankful that he is healthy and untainted by this mysterious disease that has claimed his parents. But what if a twist of fate snatches him from my reach . . . like my husband, my daughter, and my only son? And will Michaela grow up to see many sunrises . . . more than I ever did . . . more than I had the sense to live through?


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