Many times I wanted to give up, but to give up meant losing all hope. I would have to admit there was nothing more to life than rushing to a pointless job. I would remember Lelea's words in my book Tears: Always choose the path that brings hope.
That became my mantra, day after day. Ha, somewhere hidden inside me is an insane person full of wisdom, and she talks to me, telling me to keep going and never give up.
Here's the excerpt:
Closing my eyes, I pull the song closer and let it fill every cell in my being. I imagine it twirling and bouncing inside me. So loud, it drowns out everything else.
Then I draw on the device’s screen, using the attached pen.
“What is it?” he asks.
A man, a woman, two children. A dark-haired girl with freckles, a blond boy with sparkly blue eyes. I paint a picture of his future.
His fingers tap in time with the music in my head. Does he hear it too?
I stop when I see the red scar on the inside of his arm. “Your army tattoo. You burned it off. Did it feel like you tore your family out of your soul?”
Muscles in his jaw stand out. “Don’t remind me.”
“Once upon a time, a man and a woman bound themselves together for life, and they would raise their children together. Your heart remembers, and that is why you left the army.”
“What would you know about why I left the army? You had the easy life, the General’s daughter, spoiled.”
“Is that what you think?” I glance down at my own arm. I never got a tattoo, and he can’t see the thousands of cuts from surgery. My flawless skin doesn’t have a scar. He can’t see the pain inside me.
“You don’t know what it was like living in the dorms.” His shoulders slump. A dark cloud presses against him, pushing him down to the table.
“I see more than you think I do, and I know what the future holds. Please believe me.”
“Girl, you’re insane.”
“How many people believe you’re insane to leave the army and the protection of the General? You ran away. You burned your tattoo off. You decided to be free.”
He opens his mouth and then snaps it shut again.
“You chose to protect the weak,” I add.
“How did you—?”
“Maybe I’m not as insane as you think I am.” Or maybe I’m even crazier. I would like to be normal, but then I wouldn’t be here.
“So you say this is my future.”
“Yes, but Jaak, she needs your love. She holds our fates in her hands, and if she doesn’t know you will protect her and your children, she will decide to defend herself at whatever cost. I can’t help her find healing, but you can.” I grip his hand. Please. Please listen to what I tell you.
He studies the picture. The black weight on his shoulders quivers and lightens before it forms claws and digs them into his flesh. Before I can stop him, Jaak snatches the device and throws it across the room.
Red smears drip from where the black claws dig into his heart. Oh my dear friend, the abuse you endured warps your understanding.
I wrap my hands around the black blob and drag it off him. It snarls and hisses at me. Its taint snatches at my soul, but the Dragon’s fire fills my lungs. With her light, I push it back.
“He’s my friend. You can’t have him.” I squeeze it tight. With a pop, it bursts and then disappears. I shiver, suddenly cold; exhaustion makes my head spin.
Jaak staggers to the floor and passes out. Retrieving the picture, I place it in his hand.
“What happened?” He wakes and heaves himself up.
“The ship rocked. You fell over and hit your head.” Maybe I’m learning how to lie.
He glances down at the device. A smile spreads across his face. “Do you really think…?”
“It’s called hope.”
“What you feel. It’s hope.”
I nod. “Always choose the option that makes you feel like this.”
My advice to you is to always follow the path that leads to your own personal hope.