So what do you do when you're 47, alone, and living with your parents? Where is life's promise then? How can there be hope on this sinking ship of a planet? Days of illusion's future passed had gone with the wind. The one thing she most fought against in her life had happened: she'd been exposed.
She had clung to her lies as long as possible. The price for that had meant losing everything dear to her. No more fancy house or social status or high praise for a life well spent. No, she had simply spent her treasure on fool's gold only to become the laughingstock of the world. Though it was little to no comfort, her last refuge was that the world itself is a laughingstock.
Allegedly, she was working on her soul. She threw herself into earthly duties of the church, hoping to add dignity to her despair. Some still thought there was hope for her marriage and she was forced to smile in false agreement. Like a soldier returning from a lost war, she came home with no allies, no one willing to listen to the truth. She was pretending while her life was ending. Secretly, she had known this day would come.
But having now arrived, what then? Who could possible want her? Her looks had faded, her soul was jaded, her life debated and her charms traded. Like every dishonest life, time had run out. It was like living off a trust fund, never bothering to get a job. Then one day the money runs out with no job skills to speak of and there you are, middle aged and living at home. It had been years since she had been able to look herself in the mirror.
Joy and beauty of youth forever lost
The old structure was gone. She had deeply prided herself on "being there" for her children. It was the Great Noble Excuse for ignoring her own life. The youngest a sophomore in college, she found herself a cause without a purpose. Stripped of this huge chunk of claimed morality crushed her with guilt. She was too crippled to be there for anyone now. If anything did happen she'd be labeled a selfish monster in her incapacitated state.
She needed a distraction, turning on the morning radio. Some men were giggling over a tragic news event of a man's self-destructive dog day afternoon. "Hahaha! Think he wants a do-over on that day? Hahaha!" She flipped it back off. She knew who they were laughing at.
Every morning was the same, drowning in waves of agony. Every life of crime is followed by a sentencing. Why did she wait until the last drop of her life was gone before leaving? Fool! Idiot! She knew self-chastisement wouldn't make things better. She did it anyway. She replayed once more the chances spurned to have taken a way out. Instead, she chose to stick by the "morality" of her marriage, insisting she walked the true path in life. What would those vanished voices say of her now?
She cringed. Her determined grasping for the things in life to make sure life didn't pass her by had, in fact, made life pass her by.
Like a blinded, hamstrung creature she crawled lost through the woods. She scoured the news looking for a misbegotten creature lower then herself so she could get on her hind legs and point, "That is not me!" In the end, that brought no comfort in a world unbeholden to her survival, disinterested in her problems and uninterested in her soul. One by one, fools like her were being picked off in a universe devoid of mercy or understanding.
The worst of the hounds from hell, the beast before which all heroes withered and no man could slay was the Money Monster. In humiliating desperation she played the lottery for the first time in her life. With money like that she could move out on her own, reclaiming a sense of self-respect, ending the intolerable exposure her current dependency caused. For this she could see no possible solution. The world she had left so many years ago had turned far more brutal in her absence. She could not help but be swallowed by the gaping mouth of hell opening before her.
The story of a soldier's suicide caught her eye. She stole away to read every last word, intrigued by his odyssey. He was both deceiver and deceived. He'd lost his right leg and that loss could never be replaced. She certainly knew the feeling! Like her, he could never hide his embarrassment over what he'd done to his life. He'd jogged with the President responsible for abusing him, embracing the lie, selling the idea he'd "overcome".
That's where she was too, in her "get thee to a nunnery" phase. She knew she was finished yet she couldn't resist doubling down to remake her failure into a success story as she was supposedly remaking her life. She understood completely the deepening isolation the soldier's lies caused. She could have honestly looked him in the eye and told him he did not have to lie to her. She already knew the goddam truth.
But no one had done that, leaving only a family to profess their confusion at suicide's tragedy when "things were going so well." A small smirk in the corner of her mouth formed as she read that. He'd been unable to break free of the cycle of deception - and his family didn't want to know any better. She knew he must have felt the same as she: no way out.
This, somehow, gave her a trace of comfort. Thank God this family shared their story, saving her from feeling so alone. Hers was not the only life so foolishly wasted. Part of her felt she could have saved that soldier's life. Just by letting him speak freely and honestly, the light would creep back in. She would tell him how she needed him as much he needed her. Could she find that connection in real life?
The house cat suddenly meowed at the inattentive staff member. She looked down from the computer chair in which she sat and the feline construed that as an invitation to jump into her lamp and start purring. "You don't want me to die, do you?" The cat narrowed her eyes in confirmation. "If so, you're the only being on this earth who does." That included herself.