Does your life flash before your eyes before you die? What if you see nothing? Does that mean that your life didn’t matter? What does it mean to “matter”?
A gleaming blade.
Who decides that? Fate? God? Is there even such an entity? Is your life worth based upon who remembers you? What if there is no one? What if instead of what you’re supposed to do—go to college, earn a career, find a mate to marry, have kids, get the house with the white picket fence and the lovable Labrador running around in the yard—what if you didn’t do any of that?
A translucent slice.
Do you then not count? Is your life worth less than someone who leaves behind a lineage? But what if you don’t leave behind a lineage? What if you don’t matter to anyone?
A drop forms.
Does that mean that all of your emotions and all of your experiences were all for naught? There must be some impact left from a single life, right? What if you impact life in a way that you don’t even realize?
A rounded bead.
What if you wake up late one morning and in the rush to get to work on time, you cut someone off who was going no place in particular at no particular hurry? What if that same motorist was someone who all their life has been bullied and harassed and belittled and when one car cuts them off, it is the last straw? What if they decide they have had enough and decide to stop and pick up an AK-47 for a special surprise at work the next morning for their bosses? What if he was successful and a police officer, 30 years on the job without ever firing his weapon, had to take the kill-shot?
A ruby necklace.
What if he wasn’t able to cope and turned to alcohol? What if instead of handling his anger and frustrations toward his wayward son in a healthy way, he used his fists instead? What if he drove his wife and son away to become alone and broken? What if because of his abuse, his son became really good with weapons?
A dropping curtain.
What if he thought he was okay to drive one night and wasn’t? What if the father of the children who were killed because of that accident was a man who was bullied and harassed and belittled his whole life and now that he has nothing to live for, decides that this was the last straw and goes out the next day in search of vengeance? Should you, who have started this vicious cycle, should you never have been born?
A stain widens.
Or is it because that man purposefully went around speeding until a cop pulled him over so that he could shoot that police officer, all done so that the son of that slain man would grow up to join the highest ranks of government and enact stricter regulations to prevent what happened to his father from happening again? Are you to then be applauded?
A trickle down.
What if that politician became popular? What if he starts to grow accustomed to the good life, the power, and the respect that came with his office? What if he wants more? What if he does a shady business deal, and then another, and then another because he doesn’t get caught? What if someone found out?
A dull drip.
What if they confront him because they believe that he will be good again and stop? What if he doesn’t? What if he hires a man who was good with guns because his father dealt with his youthful antics with fists instead of words?
A pool collects*.
What if I just wanted him to be what he first set out to be? What if I didn’t pay attention to the dark corner of my apartment when I came home one night from work? What if I didn’t hear the creeping footsteps coming towards me over the noise from the radio? What if I didn’t hear the whisper of death before looking up to see nothingness? What if I had left the house just 5 minutes earlier that fateful morning?
* ELLIS, F. R. (1966). The management of the cut—throat. Anaesthesia, 21: 253–260. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.1966.tb02609.x