Can we know the consequences of our actions before they take us onto an unforeseen path?
Thirty-three seconds left. Only three and thirty seconds before my life ended. A door opened, drawing me, dragging me down a hallway. They dragged me the first thirty feet. Then I convinced them to release me so I could walk on my own--like a man.
That was the longest corridor ever traversed during my short lifetime.
Well, that was a subject that hadn't escaped my attention for more than thirty seconds during the previous twenty-four hours. My life had been carefree for more than twenty-four years before that fateful afternoon.
It took a little over thirty seconds for the columns, supporting my joyful existence to collapse beneath me. Thirty-some-odd seconds and twenty-four years of toil crashed to the ground like a felled tree. Why did I do it?
I argued with myself for weeks before that night. Everything learned during years of a still-young life culminated inside a single rash moment, and after, in the shadows of my mistake, my face fell to my palms, and then tears trickled through my fingers.
As reality collided with scattered thoughts, my chest collapsed, and regret twitched between each constrained beat of my heart. I knew little about fear, but fear fell upon me like the talons of Medusa, crushing each breath in its attempt to renew life. Unabashed fear filled me, and no escape route opened from the guarded path under my feet.
Tomorrow disappeared behind a veil of black, foreboding clouds, which my thoughts were unable to pierce. The future I had fashioned faded, and all I saw before me was a solemn path, winding through desolate fields of doubt.
Suddenly, I heard my voice echoing, "I do." Mark passed me the ring, and my future unfolded into a brighter day.