The Choice

Sandra’s six-foot frame slumped as she kneeled silent in front of the grave, hands clasped in front of her hipbones, looking as if she were praying.  There was no chance of that.  It was the years of her life that weighed her down onto her knees, and she clasped her hands to keep them from shaking.  The tombstone read, BethAnne Molleski, beloved daughter.  Sandra stood and returned to her car, blinking away the useless tears that blurred her vision.  

“I chose.”  she said out loud and slammed the car door.  She did not start the car.  Instead, she reached under her seat and pulled out a small .22 caliber handgun.  It wasn’t really powerful enough, the gun merchant advised her, to stop a would-be attacker, but she knew it would be perfect for what she had in mind, which was to remove her own mind.  She chuckled at that.  Sandra reached over and opened the glovebox and pulled out a flask containing the alcoholic/drug combo she’d concocted earlier in the day, calling it assurance insurance. She’d been dancing on this ledge before and always pulled back.  Not this time, she thought, not this time.  She took a sip and then a long drink from the flask and undid the safety.  She turned the gun over in her hand, as if admiring the quality of the craftsmanship, and then set it on her lap.  She took another swig.

She tilted her head back, adjusting her seat position to more of an incline.  Nice, she thought as she felt the liquor and pills relax her.  In the passenger seat was a journal with an envelope sticking out from under the cover.  It was addressed to her other daughter.  It amounted to a last will and testament, what should be done with her body, all they typical bullshit that goes along with someone’s demise.  What it did not ask for was forgiveness.  There was no forgiveness available for what she’d done then and certainly not now.  

She closed her eyes.  The memories were fuzzy, and she liked that.  Soon, they’d disappear along with all the guilt.  That would be a good thing.  She didn’t know where she’d go after this life ended.  Her belief system was a jumble of nonsense at this point.  

Sandra was 16 when she first saw them.  She thought they were angels and that she was special because only she could see them.  That was before she got to know them and love them, that was before they told her about the  choice she had to make.  They would be waiting for her outside the high school each day. BethAnne was tall, like Sandra, dark blonde hair cut into a bob.  Her eyes were sky blue, unlike her own brown blah ones.  Angelina was not tall but not short either, just average you could say.  Yes, average height, weight, eye color, hair color…everything about her didn’t stick out but blended.  So why did she chose her?  That came later, the answer to that question.  She’d gotten to know them both, love them both, rely on them both.  They told her they’d come from a distant time.  They called it their timelines.  They made her choose one timeline, one path for her future self.  Only one, either BethAnne or Angelina would exist, she assumed.  At the time, being a kid herself, that didn’t sound bad, just crazy.  She couldn’t take it seriously, couldn’t comprehend the consequences, not at 16.  What she was unaware of, what they didn’t mention to her was that they both would exist in one reality but only one would have a future, the one she chose.  Sandra would exist either way.  She was shown one future that was full of hardship and pain, but it came with the love of a devoted daughter.  The other future was full of love, happiness and security but with a daughter whose love was impossible to hold onto.  She chose.  And when BethAnne was born and then Angelina, she was sure it was all a dream.  She even thought about changing their names, to rid herself of the lingering fears she had .  Then fate took its price, her little girl was no more. What Sandra didn’t realize until it was too late was that she screwed up.  She didn’t get the future she’d seen with Angelina.  She’d gotten the birth order wrong, named them wrong.  Everything went wrong.  She stuck the gun in her mouth and squeezed the trigger.