I felt lightheaded.
My body wriggled and flopped as I felt my neck burn, the pressure around my throat making it hard to stay awake. I felt my eyes give up, and then...silence.
I thought about these last moments. I will be dead soon. The brain can only operate for so long before it completely collapses unto itself. I thought about Sophia, and almost felt guilty for thinking about her before anyone else. My parents, my brother, my friends. Why not them first? Why her? Oh well, I guess it didn't matter.
I opened my eyes, and saw...my room. In the middle, hung by a noose, was myself. I looked around, an odd darkness spread across the room like a tint in an image filter. I thought back a bit, "wait, I opened my eyes?" Yeah, you did. I looked besides me to see...myself.
Obviously, I have questions. "I?" I smirked, yeah, I. I don't understand. You know I can hear you, right? Your thoughts. "Then why are we talking?" I twisted my face for a moment, seemingly pensive. Honestly, I've never asked that question before, I was more surprised I could hear my thoughts. I twisted my own face this time. "This is kind of confusing." We laughed: me, nervously; him, maybe not so much.
So, I finally did it. I walked toward the noose, outlining the rope around my neck, analyzing it, maybe. "I didn't really see a reason why not." Really now? I stopped feeling the twine, and looked me in the eyes. Because last I checked, you were deathly afraid of...I chuckled, well, death. I looked at myself, lifeless and swaying back and forth: almost peacefully, maybe. "Fear never was a good reason to keep me from what I wanted."
I looked at myself. What you wanted? This is what you wanted? I turned to look at myself, "obvious-" I was no longer in my room. The tint was gone, a more foggy shade covered the space. In front of me was a parade of black-clad figures, a light drizzle permeating their black with translucent beads. I looked beyond the standing congregation to a preacher raised over a casket. My casket.
"I'm pretty sure I said I didn't want this." I laughed. Yeah, you did. But, our parents didn't listen to us. They were afraid. I looked at myself. "Afraid? Afraid of what?" I began walking toward my coffin, me following in my steps. Afraid of you being shunned by God. We reached the preacher, his hand held high as he waved it, his eyes closed as he spoke. "They knew I was an atheist."
I blinked. Yeah, and imagine how you would feel if your son died believing in something that would condemn him by a higher power? The preacher was now sat beside the podium, the visage of a beautiful girl stood in his place.
Her hair was a lighter color than usual, the black wrapped around her body evoked familiar feelings inside of me: love, lust, loss. Her eyes were red and seemed to struggled to stay open; the bags under her eyes were damp with lines cutting down toward her chin: the path her tears took; her voice ached and cracked as she spoke, but, I couldn't hear her.
"Sophia..." I could feel my voice quiver as I said her name, her pain so evident. You know, the worst part is that you thought she wouldn't care. Her face came crashing down on the podium, her arms shaking and her legs bent at the knees, unable to support her. Not that you did it, but that you did it to prove a point.
My family came to help her up and carry her away, her face buried into the arms of my brother. A point you would've never been able to prove anyways. She's devastated. You were her rock. No matter what happened in the world, or to her, or to you, she could always depend on you to hold her hand and guide her through it.
I blinked again, and it was my mom at the podium. The same tears, aches, and pains spread across her body. Her emotions visible to my eyes. Then it was my father, my brother, my friends, teachers, coworkers. Every blink was someone else until, there was no one left. I stood there beside myself, looking down at my grave. I read my tombstone, an odd chill coursed through my body.
ALWAYS REACHED FOR THE STARS
NEVER SETTLED FOR LESS.