Doubt

A brief story about three people who are the same (not necessarily in parallel worlds) who are all connected by their doubt.

Doubt

 

I

 

The roar of the ocean brings me crashing back to the present. Intense sunlight floods my vision, momentarily blinding me. All I have is sound. The sound of waves lapping at the shore, the screams of seagulls, and the laughter of children. Soon, my eyes adjust and a whirl of shape and colour assaults them. The sky is a brilliant shade of pink as the sun is beginning to sink beneath the cerulean sea. I am standing at the edge of a long pier, staring out at the horizon. I can’t quite remember how or when I got here, but it feels like it’s been a long time. My legs are stiff from standing, and I shift my weight, trying to remember why I am here. A series of fragmented memories flash in my mind’s eye: A dilapidated room, an empty lecture hall, a coffee cup shattering as though it’s in slow motion. And then, I remember. I had been teaching a philosophy lecture, and the discussion was good. There were many bright students in the class; I could tell that many of them had the potential to do great things. I could see their lives flashing before my eyes, walking across the stage to receive their diploma, giving speeches as politicians, or raising families. And I knew it was meaningless. Everything, that is. And that day was the final push.

So I simply stopped talking, and walked away from campus. And that is why I am here, standing on this pier: My teaching meant nothing! My career, my life…was nothing. But why am I here? Surely there must be some sort of reason for this existence, something to give meaning to my teaching! I carelessly climb over the railing of the pier, and picture myself letting go, and descending into the ocean below. But my hands lock onto the railing. Why am I afraid? If all is nothing, why is my instinct to survive? Survive for what? I close my eyes, as the waves crash against the pier; the freezing spray of seawater hits my eyes, shocking my body. And, for the briefest moment, I see clearly behind my closed eyes the face of an elderly woman whom I’ve never met, yet I know her.

The End

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