This story is by Maria Carmelina Montesano and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Jasmine held her breath and jumped into the water. She struggled at first with a tinge of panic, but the opioid drugs began to take effect. A euphoric blissful feeling replaced the terror. “This is it”, she thought, “I’ve succeeded in committing suicide.” To ensure it would be faster, she swallowed the pills and jumped straight into the lake because she couldn’t swim.
Last week at her surprise 40th birthday party, she acted happily surprised as everyone cheered. At that moment, it was not where she wanted to be. She would have preferred to go home, take a warm bath and crawl into bed. Jasmine had a facade that she put on every day. The life plan she had for herself, flopped in her face. She was a fraud. Her entire life was fake, living through the motions but feeling like an empty zombie on the inside.
A history of three failed marriages and two miscarriages, she tried to pour her emotional pain into her work. She was a painter, but could no longer get one painting sold. Depression had dug her deeper into a dark abyss of life. She needed a life preserver just to keep afloat, her choice was alcohol. It numbed the pain at first, but it eventually lessened its effect. Doctors had put her on anti-anxiety medications, but at some point, they too ceased to work.
She dated Michael, Jack, Ray, and the names went on. She slept with everybody she could find. She hoped that maybe one would love her. As each encounter ended, it became a routine that men ghosted her. They just wanted a roll in the hay. It made her heart even emptier.
Then one day she met Brian. He was an older gentleman that she bumped into at the supermarket. There had been a line up at the checkout and Jasmine had only 2 items. “Pretty lady, you can go ahead of me. You don’t have many items.”
“Ah thank so much. You’re sure you don’t mind?”
“It’s my pleasure. I don’t mean to be bold, but are you single?”
She giggled, “Yes, I am.”
“Would you care to join me for a coffee after this?”
That was the beginning and after 2 years it blossomed into an intense relationship. Brian was the one true love of her life. That happiness that she felt was once again short-lived. Brian had come by her studio after his doctor’s appointment. The words he voiced on the eventful day were etched into her memory.
“They told me I have pancreatic cancer and I have maybe a month at the most.”
“It has to be a mistake. Doctors give wrong diagnoses all the time. No, it can’t be!”
“Sweetheart, it’s true. I want to use the time I have left with you. I can’t control the ending, but I do have today.”
The news hit her like a freight train. Unable to cope with the reality that her soul mate was about to die, she began drinking heavily. She stopped visiting him at the hospital because she was too drunk to let him see her like this. Brian had called her a few times, but she wouldn’t respond to his phone calls. She poured herself another glass of wine as her mobile phone rang, “Hello! Who the hell is this?!”
“Miss Jasmine Hyling?” It was the hospice nurse calling about Brian.
She changed the tone of her voice,” Yes, I apologize, it’s me.”
“I am calling to notify you that Brian has passed away…” She dropped the phone and fell to her knees as she sobbed loudly. Jasmine never did attend his funeral. Jasmine thought that she was a horrible human being and she was being punished in some way. She went back to her crutch, drugs and alcohol.
The night of the birthday party she decided to find a permanent solution to this exhausting existence, she would end her life. Under water, Jasmine thought to herself that it was taking a lot of time to die, but she didn’t feel any pain. The soul part of her floated around her lifeless body.
“I’m dead. Now what? I’m not scared. Why is everything so dark?”
A tiny rotating hole had opened up beside her. It grew bigger and light began to beam out of it. In the middle, she saw a tall white figure and it spoke to her. However, the entity did not use any words, it communicated telepathically.
“You have no idea what kind of a divine creation you are. Yet you treat yourself like an old newspaper that you toss away.”
“Who are you?”
“I am all. I am you and all of creation.”
“I am very much confused.”
“I am what you human beings consider to be, God.”
“So if you are God, you’ve come to condemn me for killing myself. I have committed a sin, but you’ve made my life difficult.”
“I have not judged you. You have judged yourself. I did not make your life difficult; I have given you the freedom to choose. You are the one that chose to make the bad choice of destroying yourself.”
“Well I suppose with the choice I have made you will sentence me to eternal damnation.”
“The only one that condemns you to eternal damnation is you. I am a loving creator, I do not judge. I have given all of mankind freewill. There are consequences to your choices yes, but you have the capability to redeem yourself through lessons learned.”
“My babies are dead, I didn’t choose that. My Brian is dead, I did not choose that. Everything I loved you have taken away from me. I blame you for all of it and the choices I have ever made. You did this to me!”
“I did not take anyone away from you. You could not have loved anyone else, because in order to love others, you need to love yourself.”
“What do you mean I need to love myself? I do love myself, I stopped the pain.”
“By killing yourself, you are not showing yourself love. The pain you feel was what you chose before you were born into this existence.”
“I chose this?”
“Yes, before we are born we all have life contracts. In this lifetime, you wanted to know what love is, but you made the wrong choices.”
“How did I make the wrong choices? I loved my husbands, but they wanted a divorce. People used me when I gave them everything. How is that my fault?”
“Because the first person you should have treated with all that respect and love was yourself. You failed to love yourself first. Don’t you realize you have blamed everyone else for your lack of self-love?”
The entity’s words were correct; she had come to an epiphany. Jasmine sought her worth and validation from outside forces. The only person responsible was herself.
“Yes, I never loved myself. I see the error of my ways, but how can I redeem myself? This is the worst choice anyone can make.”
“Remember I told you earlier, I am a loving God. You have the freedom to choose. If you want to go back you can.”
“I want to go back, but my mortal body is dead.”
“It’s your choice.”
Jasmine saw a tunnel and was being pulled outside of it. A force pulled her toward the light. A set of hands picked her up and a male voice spoke. They wrapped the baby inside the blanket and handed the infant to her mother.
“It’s a girl, Mrs. Martin.”