There is a self – a good self – that every person imagines for themselves. There is a better person they wish they could be. Someone that they could have been, if only they had done things differently. Someone they still might have a chance of being, if they could turn all the bad things back. This is what Lewis believed. Now, as he stepped back into the corridor, away from the room, he watched his good self slip away. As the sight of the body on the bed faded, as the corridor gave way to the stairwell, as his legs carried him downward, his giddy mind caught sight of a random memory, the memory of Peggy – the ugliest girl in the street, the girl they all called piggy Peggy – the first girl he ever kissed, because his friends dared him to. As his head spiralled down the staircase, he tried to remember all the times he had been unkind or unthinking or unfair. As the stairwell opened out into the fire exit – the same one he had burst through the night before having taken a life with his bare hands – he wondered where piggy Peggy might be right now. How beautiful she must be now. How beautiful she was then, only he couldn’t see.
He wondered where his good self might be right now.
Wherever it was, he wanted to be there. He wanted to meet him. He wanted to take the hand of his good self and pull him close and never let him go.
The dull light of day broke through the doors of the alley exit as he pushed them open. And for the briefest moment, as a hint of sun hit his face, he seemed to recall they had met. He and his good self. Once on a lawn at his high school, long after piggy Peggy, on a day when the new girl in class ate her lunch alone – and Lewis took a chance and decided she needed company, and she introduced herself as Catherine. And perhaps even again they had met, he and his good self, in a corridor of a hospital, where he stood in the warm afternoon light, thinking about what to call his son. His newborn son. And thinking what a good name David was.
Things were perfect.
There but for the grace of God go I.
Matt Truiano (Other)
Stephanie Parent (Editor)
Sam Cross (Author)