Bzzz. Bzzz. Her phone vibrated.
“I’m sorry. I tested positive…”
Her face scrunched up, eyebrows tensing to the center. Confusion hit her. Her mind went blank from the unexpected, overwhelming news. She had been thinking about how she was going to have lunch with her friends the upcoming afternoon. Now, she thought of nothing. One text carried enough weight to cause her brain to malfunction.
She locked her phone and set in on the table beside her, leaving the text unanswered.
Laying on her bed in the dark, she felt more alone than ever. She wanted to live much longer. Not a little bit longer, which the text had confessed to her.
She couldn’t help but conjure up all her fondest memories of happiness. Her mind flooded with smiling faces, particularly of those closest to her. Her mother. Father. Sister. Cousin. Niece. Friends. Everyone important in her life made an appearance. Only happy memories for now. Memories of regret would come later.
The happy memories promised tears: silence befriended soft whimpers; and soft whimpers were overtaken by muffled cries.
A cascade of tears for a cascade of happy memories.
She didn’t believe in God — or so she thought. But right then and there, she whispered to him.
“I know that my recent actions have been reckless and stupid. I know that every attempt at filling my empty void has been futile. Many mistakes have been made and not much success met. But please.” She tried to swallow the tears down. “Give me one more chance to live life without penalty. Without being mortally branded.” But they still came.
The happy memories turned to memories of regret and shame.
“There are those that I still need to pay back. They need not more weight. They’ve already been through so much and cannot handle anymore hardship.” She focused her mournful gaze at one spot of the ceiling, as if God was listening intently from there. “Please, I’m begging you. Just this once. Help me.”
Her eyes descended back to the plains of her bed. She laid like a baby, smooshing her face into her wet pillow, unable to face the world. Under it, her hands were held together for comfort.