by Zeina Bazarbachi
It all started with a light. A very bright light. Not so much blinding as much as illuminating. It was similar to a revelation. After manifesting its presence everything changed. The little girl saw the light and then everything was clear. Every question that you might ask yourself, she knew the answer to it, only she didn’t care about the answer to anything. Anything but one single question: what happened to me? She was about eight when it happened. It being the light, of course. You see, the light was what started the whole thing. Before that, the little girl was just well, a little girl. People called her Sofia, after her grandmother. The two used to be very close, but the grandmother had passed away shortly after the light. She used to play with her neighbors, hide and seek, rope jumping, finger painting, you name it. Not anymore. Not since.
The light left marks on the girl who was once called Sofia, as light often does. Why did people stop referring to her as Sofia? The answer is quite simple. She stopped being Sofia. The light changed her so deeply that she became an entirely different person. She used to be full of life, joy and excitement. However, ever since, she just sits around, drawing geometrical shapes, mostly circles, sometimes squares and rectangles, occasionally even triangles. When she’s not drawing the shapes, she just sits still, but not in a meditational way. Meditation is about grasping the moment and intensifying your senses. With her, it was only wandering off, starring into nothingness: the fly on the wall, the aunt with the piece of bread, the bird outside the window were all incredibly fascinating to her. In some sort of way, they were her only friends, and not in a snow white’s friends manner, because the friendship wasn’t mutual. You can tell that it didn’t always use to be like this, she used to have many friends, but Layla was always her favorite. The two were insuperable, just like your fingers after you use the superglue to fix the ikea furniture project you broke. Layla tried to keep in touch with her friend, but it was incredibly hard. Although Layla didn’t loose Sofia, she did loose her best friend. Sofia’s body was only decorated with scars, it was still Sofia’s body. Her soul wasn’t. Don’t worry, Sofia still had her soul, -no demons were involved in Sofia’s soul loss, so don’t get the salt just yet-, but it was as if it had stopped existing. She had memories of her old life, blurry ones, but real ones. They just lost all their meaning. And Layla lost her patience.
I beg you not to pity Sofia’s new self. She was very content with her life, mainly because it was a very empty life. She didn’t have a family to be worried about. (She did have family, she didn’t have worry), didn’t have a rent or bills to be payed (at least not to her knowledge), no job to be held (not that she could work, and if she did, no one would hire her).
Sofia’s new self did have dreams however, they were only a lot less thought of than yours. She didn’t want to be rich or famous, or even fall in love. She didn’t want success, she didn’t want a family or any of that. She wanted to die. Why? you may ask, if she was so happy, would she want to die? Sofia would agree to that, if she were here, but she isn’t. Sofia’s new self is. And she didn’t know better. She knew the answer to every question, you might object, however that power only applies to this realm. (The afterworld is a whole different area where only religion can provide some glimpses of answers.) She thought death was like Neverland, somewhere safe, happy, peaceful, and beautiful. She was 22, biologically speaking, but she didn’t exceed eight in her mental age.
Other times, she just wanted cake. If you asked her to choose between dying and cake, she’d choose cake. That was probably why she was still alive.
She would ask the nurse how she got those scars very often. Her memory was perfectly okay, besides to anything related to the light. Her brain just choose to forget what happened, and it would forget the explanations the nurse gave. The explanations were extremely vague anyway. The conversation usually went something like this:
‘Amelia, can I ask you something?’ Amelia was her nurse, if you couldn’t tell.
‘What is it sweetie?’
‘How did I get this nasty scar on my shoulder?’
‘You don’t remember sweetie?’
‘No, should I?’
‘I told you yesterday.’
‘Can you tell me again?’ Amelia would sigh and then she would say ‘You were eight. It happened very quickly and that’s how you got the big red scar on your shoulder, and the scar on your cheek.’
‘I have a scar on my cheek?’
Amelia would turn her face to the mirror and then would tell her, already anticipating her question, ‘It means the light. The light changed you. It turned you into who you are today.’
‘Why would the light choose me, Amelia?’
‘Probably because of those big brown eyes of yours. They make you very special.’
Are you special Amelia?’
‘I sure do hope so.’
‘How can someone be special if they aren’t chosen by the light?’
‘They get to meet a person who was.’
‘Whoa! So you’re special because you know me?’
‘That’s amazing! We are both special Amelia!’
‘I suppose we are.’ Amelia would smile softly. Her teeth were yellow from smoking, which is ironic, considering that she was a nurse. Although that was the case, Amelia’s smile was still very heartwarming.
‘One more thing, Amelia.’
‘What is it sweetie?’
‘Can I have more cake?’